Michamvi Peninsula: in detail
Michamvi Peninsula beach holidays: the full story
In the southeast corner of Zanzibar, the Michamvi Peninsula and south-east Zanzibar is very similar in character to the east coast which stretches north of Chwaka Bay – and is covered on the Expert Africa website under East Coast Zanzibar. It has the same stunning, powder-white beaches, barrier reef and palm trees – and the tide goes out for hundreds of metres.
In fact, the area south of the peninsula, around Paje, Bwejuu and Jambiani, used to be the busiest part of Zanzibar's beach scene – especially for backpackers. But in recent years, low-budget travellers have moved more to northern Zanzibar, around Nungwi and Kendwa, leaving this south-east stretch as a relatively low-key, low-impact beach area.
Along the 10km-long Michamvi Peninsula there is a growing number of high-quality beach retreats, some of which are among the most luxurious on the island. The number of hotels in this area has more than doubled over the last decade, and each has an individual style and design. Currently you can still come here for the pristine, palm-fringed beaches, good diving opportunities and plenty of space – but this is likely to change if development does not stall.
The eastern side of the peninsula is close to a barrier reef which runs most of the length of the island, and there are several excellent dive schools in the area. The Michamvi Peninsula tends to receive less dive traffic than the north-east coast, and you are likely to see far fewer divers and boats around the numerous dive sites. Half way down the peninsula lies the shallow Oba-Oba lagoon, which is home to a diverse range of corals and marine life. It’s a great spot for snorkelling and also makes a good training site if you are new to diving.
Other activities here include water sports such as kite surfing and sailing. In recent years kite surfing in Zanzibar has really taken off, and this is particularly evident around the villages of Paje and Jambiani. Calm waters and a steady wind of 13-25 knots for eight months of the year have contributed to its success. The one-to-three-metre waves found beyond the barrier reef draw in experienced surfers seeking a thrill, while the calm waters closer to the beach are well suited for beginners.
As with many of the settlements on the north-east coast, the villages here are quite traditional. Life revolves around the sea and many locals make a living through fishing, seaweed farming and production of coir ropes as well as beach tourism.
Where to stay in Michamvi Peninsula
Our suggestions for beach lodges in Michamvi Peninsula