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Zanzibar: Everything You Need To Know About The Seasons And Tides

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    Consider an island its own little world. Islands float along in the ocean, bobbing in watery space. On the surface, they function as nearly autonomous from continents, and for this very reason, biologists and conservationists all drool over island biogeography to study them as finite microcosms for how we might be treating the rest of our home, our finite Earth.

    Ever dreamed of a Zanzibar Beach? Whether you’re coming in the dry season or the wettest month of the year, taking a beach holiday on a Zanzibar island will always be something out of a dream. The beautiful beaches are found in all parts of Zanzibar, giving you the opportunity to take a beach escape on your next Tanzania adventure. However, it would devastating to go all the way to your dream beach destination only to discover the tides are or weather are not accommodating your needs. So, let’s chat travel tips for when you’re on your way to a Zanzibar beach!

    When Is The Best Time Of The Year To Go To Zanzibar?

    The Seasons

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    Alright, first things first. No season claims totally off-limits on Zanzibar. Sure, there are rainier months and drier months, but, much like other tropical places, rainstorms arrive any time of year, downpour, then turn into a glorious warm sunny day. Again, we are on island time. Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of weather and crowd control:

    January – February (Dry Season)

    Dry months. A popular time to visit, especially for diving and snorkeling. Clear waters. This falls at the end of school holidays, and northern climates are cold.

    March – May (Wet Season, Wettest Months)

    Main Rains and crowd free. This is considered Zanzibar’s low season. You’ll find more rain and humidity during this time, but fewer crowds.

    June – August (Peak Season)

    Dry, cooler and the peak season. These months are Zanzibar’s high season. You’ve just come out of the rainy season and into the cooler, dry weather of spring.

    September – October

    Summer vacation visitors, with great weather all around Tanzania.

    November – December

    Short Rains. Zanzibar receives a more punctuated rainy season at the end of the year. Consider this a shoulder season with fewer travelers and better prices.

    Tides and Swimming

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    Beach time! Ever wondered how tides work? Us too. Before we delve into the tidal ebbs and flows of Zanzibar, take a view of this 10-second explanation of tides (or a longer explanation here to see the video Tides are integral to island life; they come with the territory. Within the Zanzibar archipelago, reefs protect these islands, while creating a rich, calm-watered buffer zone around the landmasses. And this is where you get turquoise waters, multicolored underwater creatures, and tidal variance.

    Why do we tell you this? Because high and low tide can affect various beaches differently. Some of Zanzibar’s coastlines aren’t as affected by low tide, while other low tides will turn your swimming beach into a sandy spit for a few hours. Here are a few things to note:

    North End = Less Tidal Change

    Travel far north on Zanzibar and you’ll reach Nungwi. People rave about the beaches here, for good reason. You can avoid most of low tide’s retreat by choosing accommodation here.

    East, South, and West = Low Tide

    Whenever it’s low tide during the day, this might be a good time for a nap or to go explore nearby spice plantations or nature reserves. For up to 1.5 km the water can recede and leave a sand flat. It’s nothing sore to look at, really, but little swimming will happen during this time.

    Now It’s Time For Beaches

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    We believe any time of year is perfect to experience a beautiful island in Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a once-in-a-lifetime destination, akin to visiting Marrakesh, Casablanca, or Havana. It’s beautiful white sand beaches will leave you dreaming about the soft shores and the cluster of neighboring islands makes you feel like you’re in a dream. With this individual profile comes distinct weather patterns and tides that can affect your stay, so the more you know, the more you can plan accordingly. We advise traveling during the drier, cooler months, and working with Easy Travel representatives closely to reserve accommodations on beaches that are slightly more forgiving at low tide.