The world knows that Zanzibar is a magical place. It is no coincidence that it is a very popular and always current holiday destination. The beauty of this island, which combines African and Asian nature, lies in its landscapes, but also in its seabed. And in the sympathy of the people, who welcome tourists with excellent dishes. There is also a lot of history on the island of Zanzibar. And then … there are the tides. And the tides here are no small matter. They are a phenomenon that increasingly attracts the curiosity of tourists. If you happen to be in Zanzibar you cannot miss the daily appointment with this show.

The phenomenon of the tides

Tides are phenomena related to the movement of the seas which cause the waters to rise and fall. The water is influenced by the lunar gravity and for this reason it shrinks or expands, even if it does not happen everywhere in the same way. Some beaches undergo strong changes due to the tides, with the sea rising even ten metres! Other coasts are barely aware of the change. There are tides that appear as real waves, sometimes even violent, causing damage and victims. The tides alternate every six hours, every twenty-four hours or on a weekly basis. In Zanzibar this phenomenon happens twice a day!

zanzibar tidesThe tides and the coasts of Zanzibar

Zanzibar experiences tides between two and four times a day, with two high tide peaks and two low tide peaks. The tides affect the entire island, but in some areas – due to the shallower seabed – they have more spectacular visual effects.

Those who do not like to deprive themselves of the sea and swimming should book their holiday in the north or west, where the tide is light and barely perceived. The east coast, up to part of the south coast, on the other hand, can suffer high tides of up to five meters! When the sea recedes, you can literally walk on its dry seabed and fish for grubs, minnows and algae just below the surface! When the tide comes back, it can swallow an entire beach.

During low tide, the population goes in search of mussles and algae which are very important for the traditional diet. So low tide becomes a party for whole families, who can also involve the tourist.

Where to see the tides and how to predict them

The localities of Zanzibar famous for the tides are almost all on the east coast: Nungwi, Matemwe, Pwani Mchangani and Kiwengwa are the most famous and popular precisely for this phenomenon. On these beaches, during low tide, you can admire sea urchins, shells, starfish and even beautiful corals.

The tides can be predicted, and therefore prevented if it does not excite you. But if you’re curious and passionate, you can use those forecasts to find yourself exactly where the phenomenon begins. To do this, just periodically consult the appropriate sites – such as Tide Forecast or Mobilegeographics – which also provide precise timetables and margins of time to move around.
If you are a fan of the tides, equip yourself to enjoy the phenomenon in a safe way: wear comfortable shoes, rubber shoes if possible, not only to avoid inconvenience with the exposed mud but also to avoid painful “encounters” with sea urchins and corals.