Zanzibar Hotels

North East Unguja

All the hotels listed on our North East pages are located in and around the village of Matemwe and along the Matemwe beach. Close to Matemwe and easily accessible (for a price) from here is the Kiwengwa Pongwe Forest and the island that rises out of the Mnemba Atoll.


This is the northernmost beach on the east coast of Zanzibar and has remained reasonably intimate compared to more built up and westernized destinations to the south. The beach offers fine white sands and remains reasonably unspoiled (though here are still occasional beach-sellers and touts). As with all beaches on the northern coast (except Pongwe) swimming is impossible at low tide and the beach becomes a extensive desert of coral flats.

However, the reef is wonderful to explore and most hotels offer walking if not cycling tours, village tours as well as possible kayak hire and sailing trips (these can also often be arranged cheaper through local fishermen). Snorkeling and diving trips as well as excursions to various attractions on Zanzibar can be easily arranged through most hotels.

Seaweed is a seasonal pain for hoteliers and tourists alike along the northern coast. The beaches are not as rigorously combed as in the Caribbean so do not expect them to be weed free. Many locals farm the plant so it is best to keep an open mind about its annoyance.

How to get to Matemwe

Matemwe is approximately 50 km north east of Stone Town. The number 118 daladala runs there daily from the city’s Creek Road. This long and uncomfortable journey might no be for everyone however. The daladala will drop you at the junction before the village where the tarmac ends. Head north from the junction and spread out along the beach for 2 km are the various hotels of Matemwe.

A taxi from Stone Town should cost in the region of USD 50. Most hotels will arrange transfers for around this sum.

Accommodation in North East Unguja

Mnemba Atoll

Mnemba Atoll is renowned for the best SCUBA diving on Zanzibar and some of the best snorkeling also. This small heart-shaped island, approximately 2.5 km off the coast between Matemwe and Nungwi, is home to the every exclusive Mnemba Island Lodge and its privately owned beach (a contradiction to Zanzibari law).

How to get to Mnemba Atoll

Though one cannot land at the beach (unless one can afford to stay at the luxury resort) day trips including transport, snorkeling, a USD 5 conservation fee and lunch can be arranged from most of the tourist spots on the northeastern coast for around USD 40 per person.

If you have splashed out on a stay at the resort on Mnemba then the hotel will arrange transfers including boat to the island.

Accommodation on Mnemba Island

Kiwengwa Pongwe Forest

To the south of Matemwe is the recently opened Kiwengwa Pongwe Forest conservation area. Open daily 0730 - 1700 to visitors, the reserves offer the option of a 200m, 400m or 2 km nature trail through coral rag forest. Entry costs around USD 10.

Wildlife is varied and you might catch sight of the endangered red Colobus monkey, Sykes and blue monkeys and Aders duikers (a small and rare species of antelope) as well as some of over 40 species of indigenous bird. You can also explore coral caves - though watch out for bats!

How to get to Kiwenga Pongwe Forest

From Matemwe the forest is best reached by taxi or hire car. Talk to your hotel or consider contacting the project directly on +255 242 238 628 or

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