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International > The best beaches of the Indian Ocean

The beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean.

A previous article featured some of the best beaches in the world. Among them, the beaches of the Indian Ocean, especially those of Seychelles and Mauritius, had got a prominent place. The article hereunder deals with some other beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean: the beaches in Zanzibar and Sri Lanka.


Zanzibar was formerly a major hub in the trade of slaves, ivory and spices. It is now a tourist destination that provides vacationers with beautiful beaches under a favorable climate, especially from December to February and from June to September.

Most of the coasts of Zanzibar are protected by coral reefs. The beaches of the island are very long and often wide to the point that they never can be crowded even in high season. They are beautiful white sand beaches, mostly with a gentle slope. This makes Zanzibar a dream destination for beach holidays, diving and kite surfing.

Zanzibar beach (Nungwi)
Nungwi beach on the northwest coast of Zanzibar.

Nungwi is one of the top seaside resorts in Zanzibar. It is also the resort, the development of which is the newest in Zanzibar. It is located on the northern tip of the island and extends along the northwest coast of the island. The touristic area then continues with Kendwa beach resort. Nungwi developed on both sides of a lively fishing village that is also specialized in the construction of dhows.

The resort has an abundant and varied hotel infrastructure.

Zanzibar beach (Kiwengwa)
Kiwengwa beach on the east coast of Zanzibar.

The east coast of Zanzibar has several seaside resorts. The largest of them is Kiwengwa. Several major hotels are spread over ten kilometers from Kiwengwa to Pwani Mchangani. Further to the north, you find the quiet village of Matemwe with some small or medium sized hotels, some villas rentals and the nearby private island of Mnemba.

To the south of Kiwengwa, there are the beach resorts of Pongwe, Uroa, and, after the Chwaka Bay, those of Bwejuu, Paje, and Jambiani.

Besides diving and other water activities, Zanzibar offers visitors several interesting sightseeing opportunities such as visits to the historic Stone Town, Jozani National Park and its red colobuses, or to a spice garden. The island retains also several sites of the slave trade that made the island wealthy in the nineteenth century.

Learn more about Zanzibar (many more pictures).


Sri Lanka

After a 26 year civil war and the dreadful 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, has had a much better time since 2009. 

This island country is fast becoming one of the most appealing tourist destinations in the world. It offers an uneven mix of luxuriant vegetation, a rich and long cultural background, and diverse seaside leisure opportunities. 

Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years and a rich Buddhist heritage. Six historical sites have been inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list.

They include 3 capital cities of dynasties that ruled larger parts of the island, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy, as well as the ancient city of Sigiriya, the golden temple of Dambulla, and the old town of Galle and its Fort that has been founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese.

The best beach in Sri lanka: Tangalle

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the island was largely under the control of the powerful Dutch East India Company which managed most of the Asia trade. During the Napoleonic Wars, Great Britain occupied the coastal areas of the island. From 1817 till 1948, the entire nation was under British colonial rule.

Sri Lanka is home to 22 national parks, 6 nature reserves, and a large amount of sanctuaries. It is the best place to see Asian elephants, the endemic leopard and 33 endemic species of birds in their habitats. There are about 3000 elephants in the protected areas. Sri Lanka has three well maintained botanical gardens, including the renowned botanical garden in Peradeniya near Kandy. The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve have been listed as natural world heritage by UNESCO. Many great waterfalls may be found  in Sri Lanka.

The country is the world's fourth largest producer of tea. Sri Lankan tea is one of the most famous teas in the world.

Uncrowded beach in Sri Lanka

Tropical beach in Sri Lanka

City beach in Galle

Great beach in Sri Lanka

Known as "the Pearl of the Indian Ocean", Sri Lanka offers incomparable beach holidays. The most popular beaches are located on the western and southern coasts of the island, between Negombo and Tangalle. They include the trendy small beach of Unawatuna, the nice golden beach of Koggala, the long family beach of Weligama, the uncrowded beach of Mirissa; the pristine beach of Tangalle, and many more. Nice beaches are found on the eastern and northern coasts too. Several beaches (Beruwala, Polhena, Hikkaduwa, Tangalle,...) in Sri Lanka are fringed by coral reefs that make swimming safe.

Sri Lanka is located in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of India, a 1:30 hour flight from Chennai (India). 
The Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) located 35 km (22 mi) north of Colombo is the main airport of the country. It is served by Sri Lankan Airlines, the low cost Mihin Lanka and many airlines (such as British Airways, Emirates, and Jet Airways) from various parts of the world. The Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport which is located on the southern coast of the island is used mainly for charter flights and some flights of national carriers. Visitors get around Sri Lanka by car, bus or train.

See more pictures from Sri Lanka: click here.

Read also our articles about related topics:
-- The best beaches in the world.
-- The best beaches in Southeast Asia.
-- The best beaches of Thailand.
-- The best beaches of Australia.
-- The best beaches of the French Riviera.


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See also

International > The Best beaches in the world
International > The best beaches of Thailand

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Zanzibar is a tourist destination that provides vacationers with beautiful beaches under a favorable climate, especially from December to February and from June to September.