On the southeast coast of Zanzibar island Paje features virtually untouched crystal-clear, tropical waters, islands and bays with protected lagoons and great waves out on the reef – it's an endless playground. This is the closest you'll get to the white beaches and turquoise lagoons that you've seen in
25 miles from the Tanzanian coast in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar is just 60 miles long and 20 miles wide but boasts more than 25 fantastic beaches and lots of peaceful, remote, small islands that are just perfect for downwinders. Kiting conditions at the main spot of Paje change with the tides, although all states of tide offer something special. An offshore reef almost two kilometres out creates butter-flat conditions on the huge lagoons at low tide and, as the water speeds over the reef break it gets a little choppier on the main beach but at high tide the shore-break makes nice kickers. Neap tides provide gorgeous flat water all day. The sandy flat water lagoons are perfect for beginners or for freestyle, but clean waves from waist to over head high can be found on the reef.
Paje is the place to be though. Close your day out with a downwinder to a restaurant 20 kilometres along the coast with your friends, or a quick taxi and then downwind it back home to finish at the bar with a beer or cocktail. You'll also find kite centres south in Jambiani and in the north of the island.
Photo: Shayne Thomas - www.shaynethomas.com
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER
Sun, wind and waves are at their best January - February and June - July, but conditions are good from mid-December - March and June - September. Wind blows left to right for the first season's trade winds and switch for the second season. Expect cross-on 12 - 20 knot winds December - March and 14 - 25 knots cross-on from the north from June - September, but be prepared for days of 30 knots, too. Average air temps: 30°C / 86°F; water: 27°C / 80°F. For long days and downwinders a shorty is recommended. Bring something to cover your shoulders and lower legs out of respect if you go into town as this is an Islamic country.
Car hire isn't necessary as taxis are cheap and plentiful. A scooter is good for a day's sight seeing. The main town of Stone Town is an hour from Paje. Crime is low here, but use common sense.
Tanzania Shilling (TZS): £1 = 2,600TZS / €1 = 2,100TZS / $1 = 1,600TZS Lots of ATM's in Stone Town, but none in Paje. US dollars and Euros can be used for high value goods at many western shops, but for food, TZH gives best rate.
Paje is a small village with hotels ranging from three to five star and all accommodation is pretty much right on the spot. Matemwe / Kiwengwa is famous for big resorts and Nungwi is a popular village to the north with small guest houses and hotels built close to the water, but most kiters will stay in Paje.
CAPTION | A double room at Paje by Kite
For those looking to get away from it all, the KiteWorldWide Lodge Zanzibar in Jambiani offers a private beach with a huge flatwater area in front and a licensed kite center with new gear from BEST and Core. And if you like, you can still go out and party in infamous Pajé only 5 km away.
Click HERE for shops and schools in Zanzibar or click on the tab above
FOOD AND DRINK
Paje has a small supermarket within walking distance from the beach. Lovely restaurants in Paje, local ones with beach boys cooking your food over a beach fire. You can survive on as little as $15 a day if you eat and drink at local restaurants. Hotel restaurants are more expensive. For parties hit Paje by Night. It is customary for hotels to be paid in full on arrival and tipping isn't a customary requirement, although locals offering help will expect a 'thank you'. Check the times for Ramadan as there will be no parties.
Zanzibar is a spice island and rich in history and heritage. Take a cultural/historical tour and visit the colourful markets of Stone Town. Alternatively, swim with dolphins or go fishing, diving, SUPing, surfing or take boat safaris.
Zanzibar airport (ZNZ Kisuani) is an hour from Paje in Stone Town. Alternatively, fly to Dar es Salaam (DAR) on the mainland and get the ferry to Zanzibar. The ferry is just a few miles from the airport and takes 20 - 30 minutes.