Kiwengwa is a section of the north-east coast of Zanzibar Island off the coast of Tanzania.
This part of the island features an absolutely stunning coral lagoon, with mile upon mile of broad white-sand palm-backed beaches. Amongst the palm trees at the back of the beach lie traditional fishing villages, where the interesting local culture can still be observed.
Unfortunately, the area suffers from relatively heavy tourist development, with around a dozen vast resorts largely aimed at the Italian packaged holiday market. In places, the development is now literally wall-to-wall. Furthermore, the whole area is also backed by a relatively unattractive stretch of coastal highway across an open scrubby hinterland dotted with unsightly telecoms towers.
In terms of activities, the area is very strong for kite-surfing, sailing and reef-walking, but diving and snorkelling are not as strong as in the Matemwe immediately to the north. It is a little too distant for day-trips to Stonetown or Jozani Forest. There is virtually no night-life here other than that laid on by some of the larger resorts.
When it comes to deciding when to visit, the best times down on the coast are generally considered to be Jul/Oct and Dec/Mar, when there is usually slightly less rain and wind.
How we like to include this area in trips …
Kiwengwa is probably one of our least favourite sections of the Zanzibar coastline, the high levels of development here and the tonality of the visitor traffic we find quite a turn-off. There are some lodges which are not aimed at the low-end Italian market, but all of them, unfortunately, find themselves downgraded due to the polluting effect that these large resorts have on the area. It might be better to skip directly onto the much higher rated Matemwe area.
The main airport on Zanzibar Island can be easily accessed from locations throughout Tanzania and further afield. The journey by car across the island to Kiwengwa takes about an hour along sealed roads the whole way.
Shooting Star Lodge … is the best of the smaller lodges, one of the oldest on the island, run by lovely people and in a relatively quiet rural location.
Garden Palms … is a simple but reasonably pleasant small lodge in the large village of Pwani Michangani.
Blue Bay Beach Resort … is a large facility but reasonably high quality and catering to an international clientele.
Sultan Sands … is the sister facility, lies right next door and shares some of the same facilities.
The majority of our guests stay here in this Kiwengwa area for 3 to 7 nights, often in combination with other parts of the island such as Bwejuu and Stonetown or the islands of Pemba, Mafia or Fanjove.
These beach areas are commonly combined with safari areas such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Ruaha and Selous, as well as treks on Mount Kilimanjaro, usually in trips of 10 to 21 nights.
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