Beach + Island

Bizarre Beaches of the World

by Matthew Link

Private Islands, Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

In Zanzibar's harbor, just outside historic Stone Town, private beaches come and go, but not because other sunseekers show up to infringe on your alone time. At low tide, sugar-white sandbars pop out of the crystal-clear water. For a small fee, your hotel will arrange for a wooden skiff or dhow to sail you to your very own desert island–style paradise to picnic, swim, and beachcomb (moonstones, zircons, and garnets occasionally wash up on shore). Once the tide comes in, your sandy Shangri-la disappears.

Beyond the beach: Stone Town, once the capital of the Omani empire and a center of trade in spices, slaves, and ivory, is a dramatic UNESCO World Heritage site. The Emerson's & Green Hotel evokes the port's 19th-century golden age with lattice-enclosed verandas, large stone bathtubs, and netted Zanzibari beds.

Next: A man-remade coastline in England >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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