As I live in a country where there is no nightlife, sometimes I try to make up lost time during traveling, and I am looking for not only wild places but those where something happens. Not necessarily loud clubs with commercial music and drunken teenagers. I try to avoid them, but it could be nice to find a reggae bar somewhere on the beach, a hidden street with a spot where you can listen to alternative music or a vibrant place where locals and travelers can meet and enjoy a drink.
Let’s face it – Zanzibar is not Ibiza, Goa or Thailand, where thousands of people practicing party-tourism, but there are exciting places where you can have some fun. If you belong to people who like to relax but also to dance or listen to music in a vibrant bar somewhere on the beach, definitely select the northern part of the island – near Nungwi and Kendwa. Below there is a list of places that are worth checking:
The most bustling area in Zanzibar. Most of the attractions are on the beach.
Gerry’s Bar – definitely my favorite spot in Nungwi, run by a lovely expat couple. Good music, delicious drinks made by a friendly bartender with his head full of dreadlocks, the view on a paradise beach, and surprisingly good food, so you can come for dinner as well.
Guru Guru Bar – we popped in during the day for a drink accidentally, catching our attention to quite a large crowd having fun and dancing to local music. At the same time, there was a kind of “miss Zanznibar” show.
Cholo`s Disco Bar – run by Italians, one of the most popular places in Nungwi, worth checking out. They organize big events on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Coccobello – another place run by an Italian woman. It`s located between Nungwi and Kenwa village. They organize large events on weekends, admission approx. 2$.
Kendwa Rocks – the most famous place when it comes to parties in Zanzibar. Kendwa Rocks Hotel is located 10 min away by taxi from Nungwi – cost approx. 15,000 TZS (7$). They organize Saturday’s events at the beach bar and large Full Moon Parties, where you can see live performance of African culture and then dance till sunrise. Kendwa Rocks also organizes the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in Zanzibar. In 2016, about 6,000 people took part in it. Admission to the Full Moon Party 20,000 TZS (approx. $ 10), New Year’s Eve approx. $ 25. No need to book tickets in advance because the event takes place on the beach. Free for residents of Kendwa Rocks Hotel.
Last but not least, something for the fans of rasta – in Nungwi, near to the White Ocean Reastaurant and Bar there is a small bazaar. At the end of the street (going perpendicularly to the sea) there is a very small bar with a mix of happy tourists and locals with a nice reggae atmosphere. Worth a visit during the day. Beware of so-called Beach Boys hanging out in the area and proposing to sell drugs and tours through the village – I do not recommend to use their services.
Paje is the second after Nungwi village concentrating nightlife in Zanzibar. Especially from December to February, where the town is filled by a crowd of kitesurfers enjoying ideal conditions for surfing.
Paje by Night – the hotel bar with a pleasant atmosphere is a no. 1 place on the map of bars in Paje, not only for kitesurfers. Good food, a mix of Spanish, Italian, and local cuisine. The hotel is located on the second line from the shore, near the main entrance to the beach.
B4 – nice beach bar with cushions, lounge chairs, and even beds makes it an ideal place for an evening chill out. The owner is Spanish, so you can drink sangria and eat a good burger. Famous also for incredible milkshakes. Once a week, they organize a movie night. Events with good music (minimal, deep house).
Jambo Beach Bungalows – they organize Friday’s parties at the beach (admission $ 5).
Coco Blue Night Club – located in Jambiani village, 10 min by taxi from Paje. They organize events on Fridays with live music and Saturdays with DJ.
Red Monkey Lodge (Jambiani) – beach bar, have a look on Mondays when they organize Blues Evenings with live music.
Travellers Cafe – rather a restaurant than a bar, but you can enjoy a drink in the evening there. Pretty good place with food, with a sea view.
Forodhani Gardens – although it is not a bar or club, talking about the nightlife in Zanzibar Town, you can not miss this place. Forodhani Gardens is a small park located by the sea, which at night turns into the center of street food. I recommend trying the local pizza from Zanzibar while sipping a beer purchased from a shop nearby. Open approx from 8 PM to 12 PM.
Africa House Hotel– rooftop hotel bar, they play live music in the evenings.
Mercury’s Bar – situated near the port, a good place for Queen and Freddie Mercury’s fans.
The nightlife in Zanzibar is continuously changing. Every month, new clubs and places are opening, so I will be grateful if you share your experience in the comments!
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