The Eastern Jewel of Zanzibar, Kitesurfing in Paje
It used to be only people in the know went to Paje. The sleepy fishing village never had the luxury villas of Kizimkazi, the beach parties of Nungwi or the historical architecture of Stone Town. But, its five-kilometer stretch of tidal sand is one of the most stunning beaches in the Zanzibar archipelago, and among the warm water destinations worldwide for seasoned kitesurfers and learners alike.
Photos by N. Pallesen.
When to go
Kusi or Kaskazi
The two wind seasons in Tanzania are Kusi, a more consistent southeasterly wind from May’ish to October, and Kaskazi, a northeasterly wind from December to March. Kite Centre Zanzibar recommends particular months based on kiting proficiency. Seasons can change so check the conditions in advance before making the trip. Wind Guru and Windfinder tend to be the Zanzibar go-tos for all things wind- and tide-related. If booking off-season, keep in mind that many kite centers, hotels and restaurants will be closed.
Where to rent
In season there is no storage of schools or kites from which to choose. Kite Centre Zanzibar (the first on Paje), Airborne Kite Centre and Paje By Kite are among the popular IKO-certified centers along the beach. Packages with lessons, rentals and accommodation are possible, as are organized downwinders and other kiting trips around the Zanzibar archipelago. There are also a number of kite schools both north and south of Paje on Matemwe and Jambiani, respectively. Information about pricing and scheduling can be found online.
Where to stay
Accommodation is limited and tends to be basic on Paje (even when marketed otherwise). Arabian Nights, Paje by Night and Cristal Resort are among the frequented beachfront properties. Teddy’s Place caters towards the more budget conscious while Kisiwa on the Beach and Zanzibar White Sand Villas are newer, more luxurious additions.
Not into kitesurfing?
Not a problem. There is more to Paje’s turquoise lagoon than just colorful kites. The daily tidal changes uncover the local seaweed farms and allow for on foot access to the beaches north and south. (Just remember to head back before the tide rushes in.) Diving can be arranged through certified centers like Buccaneer Diving, and sunset dhow cruises, spice tours or other excursions are easily organized through accommodations or kite centers.