The 6 Best Sunset Spots in Zanzibar

A stunning sunset overlooking a bamboo roof and a busy ocean

Sunset viewing is by far one of the more rewarding things to do in Zanzibar, and with the central tourist area of Stone Town sitting right on the coast, it makes the ideal spot to see this underrated natural phenomenon in all its glory. 

So, here’s a look at six of the best sunset spots in Zanzibar, which was a haven for celestial views to take in after summiting Kilimanjaro a week earlier before deciding to become a part-time beach bum on this gorgeous island.

1. Emerson Spice

The sun sets on our first night in Zanzibar, as viewed from the rooftop restaurant at the Emerson Spice Hotel.

Located right along the coast of Zanzibar’s Stone Town, Emerson Spice has gathered a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most hospitable hotels in the region. A lovingly restored merchant’s house, the hotel is a mix-match of tradition and modernity – a real personification of Zanzibar itself. 

Aside from being a top place to stay while finding things to do in Zanzibar, Emerson Spice is a fantastic place to enjoy a sunset meal in the old town. The complex is home to a staggering four restaurants, with two of them situated on the rooftop. This setting allows you to sit back and enjoy a lovely evening dinner while watching the sunset over the coastline.

With the huge sun dropping behind the Indian Ocean and the mystical call to prayer on the wind, you can dine on a five-course, seafood-based tasting menu, which changes daily.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Emerson Spice is located in the northeast of Stone Town, along Tharia Street.
  • Cost – US$40 for the five-course dining option.
  • Opening hours – From 6 pm for the sunset and dinner is served at 7 pm. If you enjoy yourself here then also check out Emerson on Hurumzi, which is a more Swahili and rustic style.
  • Time needed – Give yourself a good three hours to enjoy the surroundings and meal.
  • Getting there – Being in the centre of the town, it is more than possible to walk to the hotel restaurant. A taxi can also take you to its door for very little. 

2. Sunset Kendwa 

A beautiful beach with private huts
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Another of Stone Town’s famous hotels and restaurants, Sunset Kendwa, has the great advantage of being a stone’s throw away from the beach. The on-the-beach restaurant serves up a fantastic range of Swahili specialities and Western favourites, including options for non-meat and non-dairy eaters.

Once you have dined on these classic dishes, you will have one of the best spots on the island to watch the sun go down and even the opportunity to wade into the waves along Kendwa Beach.

The hotel always offers up a Mnazi Beach Bar and shisha lounge, complete with beach hammocks, ideal for relaxing and letting your meal go down. Surrounded by sand sea, sunset views and lush beach palm grove, you will definitely feel like you’re in your own little paradise at Sunset Kendwa.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Sunset Kendwa is located, as the name suggests, along Kendwa Beach, on the very north of the island.
  • Cost – If you are coming to the beach bar to watch the sunset, a few drinks will set you back at around US$15.
  • Opening hours –  The beach bar is open until the early morning hours. 
  • Time needed – Around 3 hours is more than enough to enjoy some drinks and watch the sunset over the beach. 
  • Getting there – You can either take a dala-dala bus or taxi, which is likely to cost you much less, around the US$20/ TZS 46,000 mark.

3. Africa House Hotel

Straddled along the western beaches of Zanzibar, the Africa House Hotel is one of the most famous establishments in Zanzibar. Formerly the English Club of Zanzibar, it was the oldest expatriate club in East Africa and played host to a number of officers of the Royal Navy and numerous English residents. 

Today, the well-built terrace that overlooks the shores is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Zanzibar.

Complete with a restaurant terrace balcony and bar, sunset drinks at the Africa Hotel perfectly combine a touch of history, iconic views and an element of refinement to your Zanzibar evening. Once you’ve watched the sunset, you can dine and drink well into the evening or take a stroll on the sand, only yards away from the hotel.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Africa House Hotel is located right along the beach in western Stone Town, on Shangani Street.
  • Cost – Drinks start from around USD$4.
  • Opening hours – The sunset bar is open all day and closes quite late.
  • Time needed –  Take a good couple of hours to watch the sunset and enjoy a few more drinks.
  • Getting there – Being so close to the centre of Stone Town’s beach, it’s more than possible to walk to the Africa House Hotel.

4. Dhow Cruise

A dhow boat at sunset in Zanzibar, East Africa
Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Dhow is a traditional sailing vessel, historically particular to the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean. It was these that first induced the trade success of Zanzibar and the wider region. So what better way to watch the sunset over this magical place than from the hull of this traditional boat?

A Sunset Dhow Cruise leaves the shores of Stone Town and sails through the straits that flow past the island and the Swahili Coast. This is a unique way to observe, not only the sunset over the ocean but the shores of Stone Town itself. 

Lasting around two hours, you can sit back and watch the picturesque sights pass you by as you enjoy local fruits and snacks in your own Dhow boat.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Sunset Dhow Cruises leave from a meeting point, usually the Old Fort main entrance on Mizingani Road.
  • Cost – USD$40 – $60, depending on who you book your tour with. Click here for Sunset Dhow Cruise options.
  • Opening hours – Cruises usually begin around 5 pm and end after sunset.
  • Time needed –  Around two to three hours will be enough to meet up and take your cruise.
  • Getting there – You must meet your guides in the centre of the town, often within walking distance of the main accommodation of Stone Town.

5. Livingstone Bar

Sprawled out along the sands of the beach, visiting Livingstone Bar and Restaurant is one of the most relaxing things to do in Zanzibar if you love laidback beach vibes. With an indoor restaurant and multiple seating out on the sand, an evening here is one well-spent. Aside from enjoying good food and drinks, the setting is ideal for watching the sun go down over the beach, basking in the sand and bar in an orange glow.

Once the sun goes down, the beach here becomes a hotspot for dancers, acrobatics and capoeira displays. All of this brings a fantastic evening vibe to the bar and beach, making it the place to be during the evening. 

A mix of party vibes, quintessential East African dancing and an influx of South American capoeira influences all add to Livingstone Bar’s appeal.

Know before you go:

  • Location – Livingstone Bar is located in northwest Stone Town, along the beach at House 48 Shanghani.
  • Cost – Drinks at the bar start from around USD$4-$5.
  • Opening hours – 10:30 am – 12 am.
  • Time needed – With so much going on, it’s ideal to spend around four hours here during the evening here.
  • Getting there – Either take a short walk down to the beach or organise a quick and cheap taxi to the beach road.

6. Tea House Restaurant

The most elevated restaurant in all of Zanzibar, the Tea House Restaurant on the highest floor of the Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel provides a perfect place to watch the town below and the sunset disappear over the horizon. Serving up a range of cocktails, you can sip away as you gaze upon the impending beauty from one of the best sunset spots in Zanzibar.

Aside from mouth-watering refreshing cocktails,  the Tea House Restaurant serves up a set three-course menu at $40 per person excluding drinks, using only the freshest local ingredients to serve up dishes that reflect the culture and style of the building with the distinct culinary heritage of the area.

With fine dining, awesome drinks, and an unbeatable 360 views of Stone Town and the breathtaking Zanzibar sunset, the Tea House Restaurant is, without doubt, one of the best things to do in Zanzibar if you wish to watch the sun go down in the evening.

Know before you go:

  • Location – The Tea House Restaurant is located at the top of the Emerson on Hurumzi Hotel in the centre of Stone Town.
  • Cost – Three-course menu at $40 per person excluding drinks.
  • Opening hours – Lunch is between 12 and 4 pm, and dinner is served at 7 pm.
  • Time needed – give yourself at least three hours to wine, dine and watch the sun go down.
  • Getting there – Being in the centre of Stone Town means it’s quite simple to walk to the Tea House Restaurant.

Whether you’re choosing to kick back with a Kilimanjaro beer, or an addictive spiced coffee – you are spoiled for choice for these best sunset spots in Zanzibar. Feel free to tell me if I missed any out!

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Anthony Middleton

A former loser who took a risk. I now live in Chiang Mai, Thailand after visiting over 100 countries. Stay tuned for the next challenge against that clock!
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In November of 2010, I took on a mammoth challenge against the clock in a quest to upgrade my miserable life. I went out of my comfort zone and turned it all around. Ten years later, I’m completely location independent…

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