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Zanzibar is an idyllic beach holiday island with wonderful charisma, coconut palms and powder-soft coral sands washed by shimmering clear sea.

Zanzibar beaches are among the best in the world and have a very special charm; views from the palm-fringed sands reveal the hand-sewn sails of traditional wooden fishing dhows, and ocean explorers discover the glorious depths of thriving coral reefs all around.

The best beaches on Zanzibar Island are to the North and East, where the sun shines on luminescent clear waters in a range of striking turquoise blues, and the sand is clean and bright and fine.

The Zanzibar archipelago is surrounded by rich coral reef, which protects the shoreline and also results in wide flat shallows that are invariably subject to tidal extremes.

The northern peninsula of Zanzibar is truly stunning, and for anyone with a passion for beaches it has all the elements of paradise. It is hard to imagine any traveller arriving on a fine day without a gasp of admiration for the startling translucent waters washing over fine coral sands and wide views across the Indian Ocean.

Here, on the northernmost tip of Zanzibar Island, the air feels fresh from its wide sea crossing and so susceptible to the slightest nuance and reflection as the sun rises and sets. The sand shores up against the land in unfeasibly fine, sinkable pale drifts, and the beach makes its changing way around the headland, depending on the tide.

The East Coast has apparently endless swathes of sand sweeping as far as the eye can see. The sand piles soft and sinkable, and the sea is generally fairly shallow and gently shelving.

When the tide is out, the way is opened to walk the long distances exposed and bathe in shallow pools left warming in the sand. Crabs scuttle among the odd flotsam of shells and shapely coral, and colourful women sing and chatter together as they gather around their wide fishing nets, fully clothed and knee-deep in pale turquoise waters to survey their days catch.

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