Kizimkazi, located in the southern region of Zanzibar, is unspoiled by tourism. If you’re looking to escape the tourist crowds or relax in nature, then consider a trip in Kizimkazi. After having spent 5 days there, I’m happy to share with you my recommendations on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do in Kizimkazi.
I spent two weeks on Zanzibar and Kizimkazi was, to me, the most secluded and tranquil region of Zanzibar. The number of hotels in Kizimkazi is significantly less than any other region. The hotels that do exist are few and far between, with nothing but nature, sea, and a village separating them.
Currency: Tanzanian Shillings
Currency conversion: Check xe.com for the latest conversion rates
Official language: Swahili. Spoken languages include English, German, and French
Climate: Tropical. Year round high temperatures normally hover around 30°C or 86°F. Zanzibar has 2 rainy seasons: March – May, and November.
Where to stay in Kizimkazi
1. Promised Land Lodge
I cannot recommend Promised Land Lodge enough! I spent all 5 days at the Promised Land Lodge, and I was really sad to leave.
The lodge is owned and run by a local Zanzibarian. This is rare because just about all of the hotels in Kizimkazi are owned by foreigners, mainly Europeans.
Everything about Promised Land reflects their hakuna matata mantra. The lodge is decorated with the colors of the Rastafarians, who also share the “no problem”, carefree mindset.
To help you relax, the Promised Land Lodge offers its guests an endless number of hammocks, swinging beds, cushioned benches, and sunbeds. No matter where you relax in the lodge, you have a sense of privacy and seclusion. Though Promised Land Lodge fits the budget of a backpacker, it offers an environment fit for a secluded getaway.
Promised Land Lodge offers bungalows and traditional rooms for accommodations. They also have a private pool reserved for guests, a beach bar, and an on-site restaurant open for lunch and dinner. A bit of fair warning… the restaurant is only reserved for guests and, as a guest, the only way you will eat there is if you pre-order your meal with the staff one hour before the restaurant opens.
The restaurant set up is the only negative feedback I have about Promised Land Lodge. Fortunately, there are a few other restaurants nearby worth trying. Keep reading to see my recommendations for best places to eat in Kizimkazi.
2. Aya Beach Bungalows
When I was booking my stay in Kizimkazi, I spent some time debating on staying in the Promised Land Lodge or Aya Beach Bungalows. Though I settled on Promised Land Lodge, which I do not regret one bit, Aya Beach Bungalows was very attractive!
Unlike the majority of hotels in Kizimkazi, the beach in front of Aya Beach Bungalows is some of the best you’ll find on this part of the island. The sand is powdery soft, the sea is unbelievably clear, and the beach is accessible at both low and high tides.
The hotel grounds are kept in immaculate shape, very clean and welcoming. Aya Beach Bungalows has their own pool reserved for guests, and numerous sunbeds and furniture. Their on-site restaurant serves a variety of dishes (see below for more info). The restaurant also offers poolside service.
Ultimately, my decision to go with staying at the Promised Land Lodge was based on the difference in price, their endless positive reviews, and the beach bar & furniture they offer.
Where to eat in Kizimkazi
I mentioned earlier that Kizimkazi is a destination in Zanzibar untouched by tourism. As a result, there are just a few restaurants which would be suitable for a tourist’s stomach. Fortunately, the few restaurants which exist are very good!
1. Mnana Lodge
By far, the restaurant at Mnana Lodge was my favorite in Kizimkazi when considering price, quality, and portion. Their cuisine is a fusion of Zanzibar and Italy. This is because the owner of the lodge is Italian.
On the menu, you can expect to find several pasta dishes such as gnocchi, spaghetti, and penne served with ragu, arrabbiata, pescatora, seafood, or oil, garlic and pepper.
With Zanzibar being an island, you won’t fall short of finding seafood to eat. Mnana Lodge offers a variety of seafood including prawns, lobster, and fish. You could choose to have them grilled, fried, or served in a curry.
In addition to pasta and seafood dishes, Mnana Lodge serves meat such as beef and chicken, vegetarian dishes, and homemade guacamole.
I found the dishes to be affordably priced. At the time of this article’s publication, 1 USD = 2300 TZS.
The prices for pasta range from 13,000 TZS ($5-6) to 19,000 TZS ($8-9). The prices for seafood range from 30,000 to 65,000 TZS ($13-28).
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
2. Karamba Zanzibar
When it comes to food quality and taste, Karamba is (by far) my favorite restaurant in Kizimkazi. Due to its high price, however, I’ve ranked it second in this article.
Between my partner and I, we had several dishes: ceviche, calamari, and steak chapati (flatbread). It was literally a food-gasm with each bite!
Karamba Zanzibar was beautifully constructed and decorated to complement the Indian Ocean. While the restaurant provides dining tables and chairs, Karamba Zanzibar also offers outdoor lounge sofas with sea view to enjoy your drinks or food.
The staff at Karamba were very kind, and it’s a beautiful place to be, even if for just a few hours. Go and enjoy the view, the food, and the relaxation.
If you’re staying in another hotel in Kizimkazi, then you’re likely a bit far from Karamba Zanzibar. I recommend getting to Karamba by cycling or walking, albeit a long walk. You could also take a taxi, but why not enjoy a bit of activity?
3. Aya Beach
In addition to being one of the nicest hotels in Kizimkazi, Aya Beach has a diverse and delicious menu. They offer traditional Zanzibar dishes such as curry, chapati, and grilled or fried seafood. Aya Beach also offers some traditional cuisine, most notably pasta.
If you go to the restaurant at Aya Beach for dinner, you’ll be treated to a spectacular sunset like the photo at the top of this article!
Things to do in Kizimkazi
1. Dig your feet in the powdery soft sand at Aya Beach
The landscape in Kizimkazi is quite different from the other areas in Zanzibar. The land is drier, and sandy beaches are few and far between. Instead, sandy shores are replaced by dramatic rocks and cliffs.
One place you can find a sandy beach is Aya Beach.
At both high and low tides, the sandy beach in front of Aya Beach is always accessible. The sand might not be as white as the sand found on Nungwi Beach, but it sure is some of the softest sand I’ve ever felt!
2. Go on a blue safari
Safaris are not just limited to mainland Tanzania. Zanzibar offers you the opportunity to go on a water safari, specifically the Safari Blue! On your Safari Blue experience, you will explore Menai Bay, Zanzibar’s largest marine protected area, go snorkeling, and dolphin watching.
3. Go snorkeling right outside your hotel
The beaches in Kizimkazi experience one of the most drastic tide changes in Zanzibar.
At low tide, you have stretches of shallow waters and sand patches before you reach the ocean for swimming and snorkeling. During this walk, you will have clear visibility of reefs, crabs, fishes, and sea urchins.
At high tide, the water levels rise drastically so that you have the pleasure of stepping out of your hotel room directly into the sea to begin your snorkeling or swimming experience.
Getting to Kizimkazi
If you’re not already on the island, you will first need to travel to Zanzibar.
The three most common ways of getting to Zanzibar are:
- fly into Dar es Salaam and take a ferry to Zanzibar,
- fly into Dar es Salaam and take a 15 minute flight to Zanzibar City, or
- fly directly to Zanzibar.
Once on Zanzibar island, or directly from the airport, take a taxi to your hotel in Kizimkazi. If you book a taxi yourself, keep in mind that you will need to negotiate the price of your taxi before getting into the taxi van. If you’re booking a taxi through your hotel in Zanzibar, chances are that you won’t have much room to negotiate.
Traveling to Kizimkazi on Zanzibar island is pretty straightforward. There is just one major road leading to Kizimkazi from Zanzibar City. The drive lasts for about one hour. The main road is paved, but as you enter the town limits of Kizimkazi, the paved road turns into a bumpy dirt road.
Getting around Kizimkazi
The best ways to get around Kizimkazi are by walking, riding a bicycle, renting a scooter, or taxi.
When walking through Kizimkazi, it’s best to follow the main road. Be sure to walk along the side in case of oncoming cars. There aren’t many paved roads and side streets since Kizimkazi is surrounded by the sea, so it’s quite difficult to get lost.
If you plan to be out in the evening, be sure you have a flashlight or a full cell phone battery with a built-in flashlight. Because there are no street lights or light pollution, it gets very dark in Kizimkazi. This also makes it the perfect environment to go star gazing!
Some of the hotels in Kizimkazi offer bicycles for rent to their guests. Before booking your stay in Kizimkazi, check with the hotel to see if they offer bike rentals. If they do, be sure to also check if it’s offered for free or if there is a fee.
Rent a scooter
Visitors to Zanzibar can rent a scooter for getting around.
In Kizimkazi, scooters are available with Kapengaro Scooter Rent. They have a rental space near Karamba Resort in Kizimkazi, but what’s even better is that they offer scooter delivery. This means you can rent a scooter and they will deliver it to wherever you are in Zanzibar!
Taking a taxi in Kizimkazi is the most expensive transportation option on this list, but it is not unreasonable.
Kizimkazi is not a bustling town and so while taxis do exist, you will not be able to hail them down or find one easily on the road. I recommend to order a taxi through your hotel. They would have the contact information for several taxis.
Be sure to confirm with the hotel if there is a set price or if you will need to negotiate with the driver.
I hope this article has been useful for planning your trip to Kizimkazi, Zanzibar!
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