Kitesurf spots: ZANZIBAR
Zanzibar is an island in Tanzania easily accessible by plane. In recent years the flow of tourists is growing a lot thanks to its paradisiacal beaches, perfect to relax for a week or to practice kitesurfing. In fact, much of the east coast is exposed to monsoons and that’s why Zanzibar is becoming one of the best kite spot in the Indian Ocean.
Zanzibar has been my first kite destination and it’s where, thanks to a friend of mine, I get closer to this sport.
PRO AND CONS
You don’t need wetsuite
Perfect freestyle conditions at low tide
Various excursions possible on windless days
Wind it’s not always reliable
Visa to get into the country
Masai can be annoying
There are two differents wind that blows in Zanzibar and they determine the two best kite period :
The “Kuzi”, S-SE monsoon who blows parallel to the east island coast. It blows between July and mid Septemberat 11 to 22 knots.
The “Kazkazi”, NE wind, which is lighter. Normally it blows around 10 to 18 knots. It blows consistently during January and February.
The average temperature are always between 20° – 30° and the sun it’s often shining. Only in Avril and May the clouds can eclipse the sun.
The water temperature is around 25° – 29°.
You can kite in swimsuit 😀
During the “kuzi” period the kite more useful can be between 9m and 12m, but it can be always helpful to have bigger size.
During the “kazaki” period in better to have bigger kite, so you need to have at least a 12m. Just in few occasions you can need a smaller kite.
There is a “long rainy” season between March to May. April and May are the rainest period and it can be a real flood.
The “short rainy” season is between mid October to December, when the Kazaki is approching to the island.
In general Zanzibar is a sunny island but is located on the tropical area so you can have some rainfall during all the year-round.
SPOTS WHERE I’VE BEEN
Here you will find a lagoon to discover to the rhythm of the tides. At low sea freestyle is a real pleasure, while at high tide you will want to devote yourself to freeriding, even in hydrofoil, sailing downwind and upwind to the lagoon. If you wanna catch some waves you need to wait the high tide and go close to the reef. The wind it’s mostly light so if you don’t unhook you can practise some old school tricks rather than big jump.
On – Side on
The lagoog is huge and it’s easy to find your own space. The conditions are perfect to do a first kite course or the first waterstart. For who want to progress it’s one of the best spot. I do advice you this spot to all level riders. The only sore point is when the wind blows completely on shore and the tide is high because it becomes more difficult for beginners.
The water is mostly flat but when the tide is high it can become a bit more choppy, which is perfect for freestyle or freeride. Then you can do some waveriding close to the reef even if it’s not the main reason why people come to kite in Zanzibar.
This spot offer a lot of opportunities.
Facilities : on the spot there is a kite school, Jungle Kite School, which offer also a food service. Then you can find more resorts or other restaurants on the same beach.
Danger :the greatest danger are represented by some “dhows”, typical Zanzibar boat, in the middle of the spot and by some wood sticks which are not visible at high tide. Then you have to be careful about some sea urchins when you get closer to the reef.
Warning :the tides. Each 6 hours you have one low tide and one high tide. During the days of the full moon or new moon at low tide the lagoon is completely empty. It’s very fascinating to see it but be careful cause the lagoon it’s gonna be full soon and if you are close to the reef it can be tricky. The “jungle kite school” can give you the exact time of the tides.
Perfect spot for freestyle and freeride lovers.
Paje is the most popular spot on the island, located on the south east coast. At low tide it is a real paradise for freestyle. While there are fewer sea urchins and boats, during the windiest months the lagoon fills up with kites, sometimes you can count more than 300 kites in the air with many beginners taking up much of the space.
It certainly remains a spot to see.
To discover this spot you will have to go to Kiwengwa and turn to the “Jungle Kite School” that will make you discover a unique spot. Where is it? I can’t tell you this, otherwise it wouldn’t be more secret, but entrust yourself to the school and you won’t be disappointed.
HOW TO GET THERE, TRANSPORTS AND ACCOMMODATION
HOW TO GET THERE AND TRANSPORTS
There are differents airlines that flies to Zanzibar. You have mainly two options, either fly to Dar es Salaam or to Stone Town. Dar es Salaam is perhaps the easiest and cheaper to get but the you have to take another internal flight ot a boat to reach Zanzibar. The second one is the island’s main city and it’s the option I advice you.
You can make you visa directly at the airport and it’s gonna cost you 50$ or 50€ (I advice you to check if the rules are changed before to go). I do advice you to carry some dollars with you.
Once you get the islan you can take either a taxi or a Dalla Dalla to get you hotel. The second option is much slower, economical and adventurous but I don’t know if it worth with the kite lugguages.
I had personally slept in a house that my kite school rent for us. Otherwise you have few possible options as some big resorts located directly at the beach, or some guesthouse that you can look for directly on the spot, especially in Paje.
If you chose to sleep in a resort you are not gonna be worried about what you are going to eat cause you will have an all inclusive service. If you have a home, you can cook, or go out to eat. In the latter case a good option would be to rent a car, otherwise you would have to make a deal with a taxi.
OTHER USEFUL INFOS
Cost of living
Life in Zanzibar is not so cheap.
If you prefer to be completely relax you can go in some all inclusive resort and you can find some really interesting offers.
If you prefer the holiday “do-it-yourself” it can be a bit more adventurous but you are gonna have much more fun. For sure you are gonna find a place where to eat or sleep for cheap price. For instance you can eat some “street food” by paying few euros per meal.
Credit card and ATM
The ATM in Zanzibar are a real problem because they are just in Stone Town. The city is not really close to the spot so you can easily lose almost a day to get there to withdraw some cash. Personally, therefore, I advice you to have enough cash for your holiday cause the credit ard are not always accepted.
Vaccine and Prophylaxis
It’s adviced to have the yellow fever vaccine to get into the island. Normally it’s a must just for people who came from yellow fever endemic areas.
I do not adivce you to take any pill against the malaria cause it’s a torture for your body and it’s highly probable that you are gonna suffer by some side effects taht could ruin your holiday. But it’s up to you. The only thing you have to do is to carry a mosquitos spray and wear long dress during the night time.
Visa and Exit fee
You can ask your visa at the embassy of your own country or you can do it directley at you arrival in Ston Town airport. I advice you the second option because it’s faster and cheaper. It costs you 50$. It’s better to have dollars cause otherwise they are not going to give you any change back if you pay with 50€.
You have to pay an exit fee as well. Sometimes it can be included in your flight ticket, so check it out with your airlines.
One of the only place in Kiwengwa if you like to party is the Waikiki. Each friday they organise a dance floor close to the beach. But for sure if you want to hang out the night I advice you to go to Paje.
Otherwise, if you happen to be at the right time, you can go to the full moon party, obviously one Saturday a month.
- Snorkeling. One of the best spot is Mnemba Island
- Scuba diving. You can ask to Team Aqua Zanzibar to have better informations
- Swim with wild dolphins in Kizimkazi
- Sail on a “Dhow”, typical Zanzibar boat
- Go to visit the less known Pemba and Mafia islands
- Go fishing at dawn
- Going surfing or SUP close to the reef at high tide.
Recommended for ?
Zanzibar is a destination that suits everybody, it doesn’t matter your level. Then if you are in couple or with your family you can enjoy the extra activities, and if you go with your friends you can enjoy the night life close to the beach.