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Zanzibar - Surfing Guide

If Zanzibar is not the top surfing destination in the world, those who have attempted the sport will attest to how much fun its waves are compared to other surf spots in East Africa.

And yes! The Zanzibar coastlines are some of the best-surfing destinations where you’re likely to encounter reef breaks spanning the southeast and northeast of the island. In these spots, you’re unlikely to meet other surfers in the water and will be left alone to soar the massive waves uninterrupted.

Be warned of the risks

Most surf spots are on the reef and if you have no experience of surfing, you should avoid it or you should speak to the surf guides for best advice. Most hotels with a seafront that extends to the Indian Ocean offer surfing opportunities and have their staff to guide surfers. A complete trip would require transport from the hotel for at least three people, a boat to and from the reef, boards for surfing, food and drinks and a guide.

For a great surfing experience, the best reefs are far away offshore. From Nungwi to the northeast all the way to Mnemba. It is best to charter a boat or hop into one of the snorkelling or diving boats from Nungwi or Kendwa tourist areas. Here are the best surf spots in Zanzibar:

1. Keep Lefties at Dongwe

The reef at Dongwe is an ideal place to surf. Their waves are suitable for beginners, but experienced surfers can take longer on the waves. Although slightly hard to reach because of windy conditions, as the boats are forced to detour outside the reef.

2. Tamarins

Tamarins are the best surf spot for beginners. It features mostly sand and flat rocks and seagrass below. The wave is beautiful with perfect breaks to achieve your initial open face wave as you ride under the belt.

3. Jams

On the eastern shores, you can find the Jams wave, which is formed in the inside of a bigger surf called Doughnuts. It is ideal for both beginners and intermediate surfers. They can be a bit rockier but with a strong current. One of the best spots for surf lessons.

4. Doughnuts

The outer section of Jams and Tamarins, Doughnuts races and walls up against the reef and offers more power and great technical surfing than other spots.

5. J-Box

One of the most extended waves discovered in Zanzibar and located at Jambiani, J-Box can handle a more significant swell and only works on the lower tides.

Tricky waves

The island is quite tricky with waves, so it is essential to know where to surf. Wind and swell direction are necessary to get any form of the good wave for surfing together with tides and moon faze. Different conditions determine the reef break, and some offer fantastic surfing sessions.

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