Sshh… The Most Beautiful Beach I’ve Set Foot on Is Zanzibar’s Best Kept Secret.

I take off my slippers, feel gently the white sand beneath my feet

Is Pwani Mchangani a beach? Seems more like where heaven and earth meet.


A thousand shades of blue shimmer in my eyes

When other waters I described as magical blue, it feels like I lied.


Men with sun-darkened faces and hats pedal by

“Hakuna Matata” is their mantra and the way they say hi!


My East Africa trip didn’t go as I had hoped

To go on safari in Kenya or Tanzania, I was too broke.


But the surprises began when I saw Mt Kilimanjaro from my flight

And on Pwani Mchangani, I met the famous Masai tribe.


They speak English, carry cell phones, even go by an Italian name

It wasn’t the culture I imagined, but it is real life all the same.


We all move and search for an easier means to live

And for these Masai folk, tourism on Zanzibar’s beaches gives.


At low tide, we wade into the waters so clear

Spotting sea urchins, sword fish and starfish so near.


By day, as kitesurfers catch the wind to surf the waves

I lie in the shade in a poetic daze.


Pwani Mchangani itself is like poetry, soulful and timeless

The longer you spend on it, the more sorrows you forget.


On other beaches of Zanzibar, five star resorts dot the shore

But Pwani Mchangani maybe like the days of yore,


When Zanzibar was on the route of the spice trade

Life wasn’t easy but its magic didn’t fade.


On long bicycle rides and runs

There’s a thought in my mind that constantly comes:


“When you’ve seen, touched and felt beauty so pure

For your wanderlust, there shall be no cure.”


Zanzibar: Travel Tips

Zanzibar’s most beautiful beach? On the east coast of Zanzibar, Pwani Mchangani is one of Zanzibar’s longest white sand beaches, and pretty much devoid of the tourist paraphernalia that lines the shore of most other beaches on the island. During low tide, the water recedes, revealing miles of soft, shimmering white sands, and up to the horizon, gorgeous shades of blue. I’ve never seen anything like it, not even in Seychelles, Mauritius or the Caribbean!

How to reach Pwani Mchangani: I flew in to Zanzibar on Ethiopian Airlines, from Addis Ababa via Djibouti and Kenya. Choose a seat on the right side for a spectacular view over Mount Kilimanjaro (see my photo above)! From Zanzibar airport, Pwani Mchangani is about a 1 hour drive and costs US$ 50 for a private taxi.

Visa for Zanzibar: Tanzania offers Indian passport holders visa on arrival for 90 days; US$ 50 for a single-entry visa. We easily got ours at Zanzibar airport; the immigration officer asked where we’ll be staying. (Read: How I Manage Visas on My Indian Passport as I Travel Around the Globe)

Currency & Conversion: The local currency in Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling; the exchange rate is roughly 1 US$ = 2200 shillings, or 1 INR = 32 shillings. Most places accept US$, but it works out a bit cheaper if you convert money and pay in shillings.

Where to stay in Pwani Mchangani, Zanzibar: I loved staying at Moonshine Villa, a beautiful B&B run by a friendly Italian guy who has lived in Zanzibar for a long time. It is aesthetically built, offers bicycle rentals, an airy lounge area and is a 2 minute walk to the Pwani Mchangani beach. At INR 6,600 (US$ 100), it is way more affordable and homely than a fancy beach resort.

Food in Zanzibar: Considering Zanzibar was once called ‘spice island’, the food on the island was a bit disappointing. For starters, Italian food is more readily available than local Zanzibari cuisine – the best meals I had were pastas (including a vegan pesto pasta) at Moonshine Villa. The local food we tried – at Pwani Mchangani as well as in Stonetown – wasn’t as flavorful as I had expected.

Language and useful phrases in Zanzibar: The local language in Zanzibar is Swahili, but most people associated with tourism speak a bit of English. Locals tend to greet outsiders with Hakuna Matata (Swahili for no problem), but it’s more of a Lion King thing! Two good words to know are Asante (Swahili for thank you) and Poa (the more local word for hakuna matata). Swahili sure seems like a fun language to learn!

What’s the most beautiful beach you’ve set foot on?

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  1. Lucky you yaar.. I’m really jealous of you girl. So many places, so much life in every breath 24/7 .. Wohooo !! I can’t spell the name of this place but that blue sky and beach.. Pretty destined #someday

  2. Amazing.. now it is in dream list.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post.

  3. The photos are mesmerizing, especially Mount Kilimanjaro! It’s breath taking. And to add to that, your beautiful descriptions 🙂 thanks for sharing your experience and giving a visual treat 😇

  4. Great photos! I love the empty spaces, it gave it a more dramatic feel to the overall photo. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing!! I really like that photo where the clouds were so dark, but the sea is still so blue, what a contrast

  6. Hi dii, The post was siper awesome. I loved the different shades of blue, the angles while clicking, and off course the poem that flowed with the pictures. Thanks for amazing info regarding the place and how to visit it. All the best for other travels.

  7. Mind-blowing pics !!!

    1. I’ve only been to a few beaches in the Philippines (not really the untouched ones) – but gorgeous though they were, they don’t compare!

  8. Thanks for your comments, Shivya!
    A wonderful account of such a lesser-known destination.
    Look forward to reading more of your exploits.
    Can we get a link to your blog on our website?

  9. This is so great! I’ve never wanted to go to Tanzania more than right now!

  10. A poetic post. Photos are beautiful. Shades of blue seen everywhere is so soothing. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Beautiful pictures!!! Your narrative about the place in contrast with the photos is awesome. Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience.

  12. Rohit Palde says:

    Beautiful pictures

  13. Zanzibar is a dream.I’m even so close to it here is South Africa. After reading this post i feel more motivated to go even before the end of this year. Even if its just for a quick visit.Ill just do everything you did here.. lol. I’m new to your blog and loving it so far 🙂 Have you ever visited South Africa?

  14. Barbados…my country…clearly the best beaches in the world…nice Island living to compliment it…

  15. Absolutely stunning! The beaches of Africa seem so alluring because the focus is just not on them!

  16. lydia@lifeuntraveledl says:

    Beautiful pictures accompanied by beautiful text! I’m disappointed to know about the food and I’m surprised to learn about such a prominent Italian presence. I’m Italian and enjoy Italian food but I much prefer to eat local when I travel though it seems Italian cuisine IS the local specialty. :

  17. narayanaswamy naik says:

    Cangrats to u I love your job

  18. Wow! Zanzibar looks so much like the Carribean in your photos!

  19. you are creating your own world, to reach your goal, best of luck, happy journey,

  20. Photos are indeed beautiful and I love the way you described your experience. Solo traveling is kind of big deal on it’s own. Looking forward to your next travel story 😊👍

  21. beautiful photos and nice poem to go along with them. I’m in Turkey now, headed to Tanzania for a photo safari tomorrow. I’ve been thinking of going to Zanzibar after, but not sure where to go or how. Did you visit Stone Town? Any other suggestions for things to do in Zanzibar? I’d like to find a place I can snorkel right from the beach and also do some SCUBA diving.

  22. i love the photos,so breath taking have to visit this neighbouring country,i just went to arusha once and it was full of culture..just beautiful

    1. Unsubscribe me from this comment thread please. I cantt find the link to unsubscribe myself in these email. thank you.

  23. Wow Shivya. This place looks gorgeous! The best beaches I’ve seen so far have been the pristine beaches in Phi Phi Islands. But this place looks very inviting. Hope to visit it soon 🙂

  24. Great post, like it! Greetings from Romania 😀

  25. I’ve fallen in love with a place courtesy your words. ❤️❤️❤️❤️A must experience

  26. Khanyi Gqubs says:

    oh my goodness. This is my dream destination and what I picture heaven to be like. I also have a few photographs up on my blog too of kids and several places in Tanzania and I’d love if you could check it out x

  27. Parita Bhansali says:

    I Loved the poem!

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