village in Kaskazini A, Tanzania

Kendwa is a village in the north of Zanzibar, about 3 km south from Nungwi.

Understand edit

Kendwa is famous for its beach with fine white sand or ground shells. The water is turquoise blue, the sunsets spectacular and the local boat activity picturesque. The village exists mainly for tourism purposes, the beach bungalow hotels face the sea and there's a connecting back road, with a few local houses.

Get in edit

Kendwa is about 1½ km west off the main road to Nungwi. The connecting unpaved road from the main route was re-graded in 2007 but is already in bad condition again.

By bus edit

From the main bus station in Stone Town you can get on a daladala headed to Nungwi for about TSh2,000 per person. Ask the driver to let you get off at the Kendwa junction, from there it's another 1½ km west. There’s not much shade and this can be a tough hike in summer. You can also continue with the bus till Nungwi and catch a taxi from there to Kendwa for about TSh10,000.

By taxi edit

A taxi or private car from Stone Town will set you back at least TSh70,000 (this is doing well though - $40+ is more common) and the trip takes about 1½ hours. Expect to pay more than this if coming from another beach.

By shuttle edit

This collects you from your accommodation and drops you wherever you like in Kendwa. From Stone Town the journey takes 1½ hours and costs US$10 p/p and from the South East coast it takes around 2 hours and costs US$12 p/p. You need to book tickets online from here: The Zanzibus

By boat edit

You can also take a private boat to/from Nungwi (from TSh20,000, 10 minutes).

By foot edit

Coming from Nungwi, it’s an easy walk (about 3 km, 30 minutes) along the beach during low tide. Due to a rocky coast the route becomes impassible with higher tides. The only option at high tide is using the back roads, which are unpleasant to walk due to heat and traffic.

There is only a few meters difference here between high and low tides so swimming is possible any time of day. There may be some cloud and wind and quick rainshowers in June/July but the sun is usually out and the weather very pleasant.

One could perhaps walk to Nungwi at low tide and take the sunset cruise from there and ask to be dropped off at Kendwa or take a bus back to the Kendwa junction (TSh300 per person) and walk from there.

Get around edit

See edit

Do edit

  • Snorkeling trip. You can get them at any hotel, but it's worth shopping around a bit to either get a cheaper tour or a private one according to your preferences. The local Coral Gardens (2-3 hr boat trip from TSh60,000 per boat or TSh15,000 per person in a group) are relatively small, heavily damaged from fishing and tourism and the fish populations are very low, so it may pay off to take a full day trip round the northern tip of Zanzibar to Mnemba Island on the east coast (US$17-20). These trips are on the steady wooden dhows that are built in Nungwi with even the beams and benches hewn from trees. Although motorised, sails are hoisted to utilise the wind.
  • Full Moon Party. The Kendwa Rocks hotel hosts Full Moon Parties on Saturdays before and after a full moon. The music and the crowd is always great.
  • Walk along the beach. If you walk left when reaching the beach (south), you'll hit some gorgeous empty beaches with no buildings and no infrastructure. The perfect place to get away from the touts and have your own paradise. Beware though, that it's not always safe to walk in remote and lonely areas.
  • 1 Zanzibar Watersports, +255 779 073 078. 9AM-6PM. Offers various watersport activities; you can take a flight on a microlight boat, parasail, scuba dive, jetski, flyboard, ringo, banana boat or SUP.

Buy edit

Eat edit

Meals are US$5-12 at the various restaurants on the beach. Although some of the restaurants have smaller portions, the food is delicious and mostly cooked well. Seafood dishes are recommended over beef or chicken.

  • At the Taj Mahal restaurant of the Amaan Kendwa hotel a whole fish per person (red snapper) is grilled to perfection.
  • The restaurant at Kendwa Breezes has excellent Prawns Pili Pili and Lobster Thermidor.
  • Mama Mzungu (on the back road, next to the fruit shop). This local eating place is only for the shoestring traveller or people who enjoy the ubiquitous rice, pilaw or French Fries dishes. Sometimes there’s also Samousa or a selection of fried fish (TSh300-1,500). There’s a lot of flies swarming around. TSh1,500.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Kendwa has limited accommodation and prices are still on the rise. During high season (July & August, December & January) reservations are recommended. Particularly around New Years Eve, the Kendwa hotels can be fully booked as far in advance as the preceding July. If you don't find a place here, consider staying in Nungwi which is not too far away.

Budget edit

  • Amaan Kendwa, +255 777 492 552. Pleasant clean bungalows in attractive garden. Bathroom en suite with hot shower, hair dryer. Also kettle, mosquito nets, fan, air conditioning, fridge, smallish wardrobe, veranda, beach towels.
  • Kendwa Rocks, +255 777 415 475. The bar and restaurant well known for their Full Moon Party. They offer a variety of accommodation, from simple bungalows (bandas) with outside bathrooms to nice beach houses. They also have simple & cheap rooms (twin US$30), but avoid these (esp. when raining), since the roof leaks, there’s visible fungi mould and the floor is completely wet after a rain. While the beach is beautiful and perfect for family vacations, parents with small children might want to avoid this place during the full moon, as the place then typically attracts a younger and louder crowd. (non-negotiable) beach banda: US$50-70, beach house: US$150.
  • There’s also a guesthouse off the beach at the backroad, which might be worth trying.

Mid-range edit

  • Sunset Bungalows (up the beach from Kendwa Rocks), +255 777 415 475. It offers a bar and restaurant, and many rooms at a variety of prices. They have been expanding and upgrading continuously. Some rooms have air conditioning, all are self-contained. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. double US$85.

Splurge edit

Uncategorized edit

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