Kiwengwa, Tanzania
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Kiwengwa Hotels

On the north-eastern shore of the idyllic archipelago of Zanzibar is Kiwengwa, a palm-treed paradise comprising broad sandy beaches and sky blue seas fringed by dense forest. Holidaymakers bask along the sun-kissed sands and swim off it, or snorkel and scuba-dive among the unspoilt coral reefs. Behind the beach and the blissful, colonial-style gardens of the resorts is a protected forest reserve offering the privilege of seeing endangered species of monkey, antelope, and birdlife in their natural environments. At night, in lantern-lit beachside restaurants, over the sound of corks popping and glasses clinking, the waves of the Indian Ocean can be heard breaking lazily in the dark.

Things to see

Take a stroll along the beach, feeling its fine white sand between your toes, and pause to take in the breathtaking view. Local herdsmen drive their cattle along under the shade of the palms. Traditional fishing canoes bob in the turquoise shallows. Should you wish to take the weight off your feet, Maisha Mazuri Horse Riding Club offers horseback treks through rice fields and mangrove forest into the Kiwengwa-Pongwe Forest Reserve, where red colobus monkeys and beautiful exotic birds busy in the branches overhead. Most magical of all, if you are lucky enough, is a rare glimpse of the Aders’ duiker, a critically endangered species of forest antelope, perhaps crossing a sun-dappled clearing to drink from a stream. Dismount and explore the dramatic stalactite caverns of Kiwenga Caves, a holy site for the islanders. Then recover from your exertions with a refreshing length of the hotel pool, or a cool drink on your beachside veranda watching the sun set over the ocean.

Hotels in Kiwengwa

Luxury resorts discreetly dot Kiwengwa’s beach as well as that of the next-door village, Pwani Mchangani, slightly further north. Some Kiwengwa hotels boast elegant Persian or Arab styles, others a traditional African ambience with impressive vaulted straw and timber roofs. You can expect indulgent spa and sauna experiences, health clubs, swimming pools, beachside bars and restaurants, and guestrooms with balconies overlooking or leading directly onto the beach. Activities such as scuba diving, sailing, and canoeing are readily available. Mid-range hotels can be found on Uroa beach, just south of Kiwengwa. All hotels have air-con, satellite TV, and free WiFi as standard.

Where to stay

For a pampered stay not far off the beaten track, luxury hotels in and around the villages of Kiwengwa and Pwani Mchangani offer indulgent relaxation within a short walk of the lively village of Kiwengwa and its wide sandy beach. For a more secluded and intimate stay, the mid-range hotels of Uroa look out onto a blissfully calm beach where little more will be in evidence than a solitary herdsman driving his cattle or a dhow fishing boat just offshore, trawling the sparkling ocean for the day’s catch.

How to get to Kiwengwa

Kiwengwa is approximately a 45 minute drive from Zanzibar Town’s Abeid Amani Karume International Airport. The airport is served by flights from Dar es Salaam and other East African or Middle Eastern cities. Seasonally, it receives direct flights from some European cities. A ferry service also runs between Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Town. Many Kiwengwa hotels provide a pick-up service on request. Taxis and hire cars are available. For the more adventurous, the island’s distinctive minibus share taxis offer an alternative way of getting around.

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