Given its British colonial influences and Muslim culture, most of Zanzibar’s nightlife centers on the sundowner tradition. Nonetheless, though relatively quiet after dark, there is still a terrific scene for dancing and drinks.
Stone Town, the island’s urban center, offers the most opportunity for a night on the town. Nungwi, at the northern tip, and Jambiani and Paje, on the eastern coast, also have popular bars and beach clubs. Here are some of the constant favorites among tourists and locals alike:
6 Degrees South
This café on Shanghai Street gets high marks for its happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weeknights, and Friday nights with live Afro Jazz and themed disco.
Located near the State University of Zanzibar, the Dharma Lounge is a natural for students and the younger international crowd who are looking for a modern club where they can boogie into the wee hours of the morning on a large dance floor.
Get ready for some dancing at this eclectic (and air-conditioned!) disco with house, hip-hop, reggae, and Afro-European pop; the club rocks until sun-up on weekend nights, making it the most popular disco in Stone Town. Look for the black and white zebra striped walls across the street from the Starehe Club.
On those Saturdays that fall during, or near, the full moon, Kendwa Rocks Beach Hotel hosts its famous Full Moon Party, right on the white-sand beach, for music and dancing under the stars. The rest of the month, partiers can dance the night away Monday through Saturday at the hotel’s lounge bar, The Rocks.
This chill nightclub is very popular with the Zanzibaris, making it a great place for visitors who want to meet and chat with locals. Quiet ambiance and a great location on the balcony overlooking the bay make the Starehe club the place for a tranquil evening on the town.
Plenty of seating, a pool table, good food, and a well stocked bar make this restaurant and lounge a popular evening hangout for visitors and locals alike. The Sweet Easy reportedly has the best beer selection in town, with a wide range of choices from around the world.
If you’re looking for fun after dark, but want to avoid the usual clubs and pubs, try heading down to Forodhani Gardens. The street market comes alive at night with performers, food stalls, and vendors. Don’t forget to bring a picnic blanket and come early to find a great spot on the grass. A lively scene for people watching, this seafront park is the place to be for visitors and locals alike. When you spend an evening at Fordhani Gardens, you really get a feel for the local community.
On the beach, Gerry’s gets high marks for its friendly staff and laidback atmosphere. Though a bit further down the beach than other Nungwi beach bars, visitors say it’s well worth the hike. Called an “excellent place to chill” by one TripAdvisor fan, Gerry’s enjoys a perfect spot right on the water in Nungwi Beach. Be sure to arrive early to catch the sunset.
Cholo’s Disco Bar
Right on the sand, Cholo’s is party-central on Nungwi Beach, attracting a more adult crowd of 30-somethings for drinking and dancing. For great food, a fun atmosphere, good drinks, music, and crashing waves in the background, head for Cholo’s; past visitors say you’re in for a very fun evening.
Paje by Night
The beach bar at the Paje by Night hotel is a fun place for tourists to hang out, and it holds regular theme parties for the bold, such as its Glow in the Dark and Bubble Bath Jacuzzi parties. Offering plenty of dancing and cold beer, this is a “come as you are” kind of bar, perfect for after a day on the beach or kite surfing.
Red Monkey Lodge
Usually a quiet bar on the beach at Jambiani, the Red Monkey Lodge hosts a weekly Monday Blues that is a huge hit for locals and visitors alike.
From casual beach parties to discos, and performing arts to people watching, Zanzibar has an abundance of evening entertainment options for everyone.
Now that your evening plans are sorted, why not look into planning a Zanzibar spice island sailing adventure to explore the islands during the day, go parasailing, join a guided jet ski tour or go all out and book a Zanzibar all day excursion tour.