The tropical island of Zanzibar (Unguja) is just 90 miles long and located at the East African coast of Tanzania region in the Indian Ocean. It's known initially as a ‘spice island’ as a producer of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and black pepper. When the wind is lighter make sure you have time to visit the Spice plantation; Jozani forest - to see the famous Columbus monkeys and make some time to venture around Prison Island or catch a sunset drink in Stone Town. Paje is a small village located on the south side of the island providing a friendly local feel and offering a range of accommodations from the 5-star hotels to cosy guest houses, just right at the beach. There are some local restaurants, few supermarkets and local fruit and veg vendors at the main village road; but you can find many hotel restaurants located right at the beach providing a variety of quality food. Nightlife is quite active in this spot, nearly every night of the week there is a party happening in a chosen bar (ask fellow kitesurfers for the ‘schedule’). It is a common occasion that you will be approached by a local vendor or a Maasai offering all sorts of handmade souvenirs, trips to attractions or fresh fruit or coconut at the beach. Remember that this is a Muslim country; therefore, discretion is advised and covering your shoulders and knees while in town is recommended. The best way to get money in the island is to use ATM at the airport or in Stone Town to take out Tanzanian shillings; additionally, payments by USD or EU are accepted in most hotels and bars.
VISAS: Almost everyone needs a visa, which costs US$50 for most nationalities (US$100 for US citizens) for a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of three months. CURRENCY: Tanzanian Shilling (TZS) or USD and EUR. PRICES: Beer: 4,000 TZS (€1.30-2) Food: Lunch 8,000 - 35,000 TZS (€3-10) Accommodation: €20-100 pp Kite Lessons: 6H €300 Kite Gear rental: €70 per day LANGUAGE: Swahili INTERNET: Recommended to get Local SIM card. TRAVEL ADVICE: During Ramadan, you will be expected to dress appropriately especially when in town and respect their culture. Caution is advised when walking at the beach at night between main bars and accommodations located further at the beach, is recommended to take a taxi instead. TEMPERATURE: The average water temperature range from 25-30°C / 77-86°F throughout the year. Tropical African climate is hot and humid at the coast; the air temperature can reach 36°C / 97°F and more in the summer months. There is plenty of sunshine all year round, only summer clothes are necessary; neoprene wetsuits are not needed, but good protection from the sun is highly recommended.
NEAREST TOWN: Paje NEAREST CITY: Stone Town NEAREST AIRPORT: Stone Town [ZNZ] or Dar es Salaam [DAR] 20-30 min ferry to Stone Town. In the airport or Stone Town, you will need to take a taxi to Paje (1H away), ask your accommodation provider to organise a reputable transfer. Most accommodations are at the beachfront or walking distance to the beach. GETTING AROUND: Local taxis are very cheap and readily available for trips between the towns. For further exploring it would be easier to rent a scooter or a car (ask your hotel or accommodation provider for a recommendation).
Protected by the offshore reef, the lagoon in Paje provides perfect flat water conditions at the low tide, and as the water rises, small kickers close to the beach and fun waves out at the reef, ideal for the wave riders. This location offers perfect onshore - cross onshore winds all year round with only a few rainy months between the two windy seasons. AMENITIES: Kite School, Gear Rental, Beach Assistance, Gear Storage, Kite Shop, Kite/Gear Repair, Toilets, Shower, Cafe/Bar, Accommodation.
The windy season is split into two: mid-December to March wind blows from the North (commonly known as Kaskazi) at around 10-20 knots, most days between 12-18 knots. Mostly used kites 17m-10m. While Kuzi blows from the South to E-SE from May to October but can start in April, is the stronger of the two and blows most days between 12-25 knots but averages between 15-20 knots. Calmer in the morning and gets typically stronger after lunch, mostly used kites 14m-8m. WIND DIRECTIONS: N, NE, E, SE, S WINDIEST MONTHS: High Season: January, February, July, August. Mid Season: December, March, June, September.
There are no such rules, just a common sense - the beach area is relatively large, but very dependant of Tides. In the high tide, there is no beach to launch the kite as you get too close to the buildings; in the low tide the lagoon (very shallow water) may be quite busy with the lessons, so make sure you keep away from the students and watch out for any hazards. Also, there is no safety boat operating in this spot so make sure you don't go too far from the beach if you are not comfortable with swimming for a long distance. Hazards - fishing boats; shallow water at the low tide; small kite launch area at the high tide; seaweed farms with a base of sea urchin colonies. If you are still a beginner, wetsuit booties are recommended as the sea urchin colonies, and sharp shells are present at this location. *If you need kite related service like kite repairs, lessons or beach assistance it is recommended to choose resorts that provide these services. ** It is always recommended to seek additional knowledge about the spot from qualified instructors or local kitesurfers.
Great location to learn to kitesurf: warm and shallow water, good wind, great lifestyle/nightlife and is suitable for all travellers.
Paje is very tidal so you get a large range of water conditions depending on the tide state. On the low tide you cn kite in perfectly flat water in front of kite centre zanzibar and then in all areas as the tide starts to fill in... on the high tides you can hydrofoil and have the whole place to yourself :) The nightlife is good fun, especially Red Monkey which is in Jambiani. Monday nights have live music from local artists. Taxis are cheap so use them on evenings rather than walking the beaches alone.
I visited Paje in January a few years ago - a progressing beginner at the time. I was excited for the warm waters and promise of light wind sessions to finally get up and riding consistently. Sadly Paje DID NOT deliver much wind (2/3 days out of 14) and I spent most of the holiday basking in the heat without the ability for a refreshing dip (as the water was warm). Perhaps I was unlucky with the wind - who knows... The tide also goes out very far so there is a limited time to kite each day, unless you want to walk out to the reef (quite far - good 45mins!). The place is beautiful but I won't be re-visiting it to kite. When there is wind the masses take to the water and it becomes very overcrowded. If you do go stay in NDAME - best place and the best breakfasts! I stayed in 4 places whiles there so I know.
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