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Flying kites in paradise
Zanzibar combines some of the most glorious clear waters in the world on its east coast with two strong seasonal winds, and this equation adds up to equal a perfect destination for kitesurfing.
The good news, if you're thinking 'hmmm, what is kitesurfing?' is that this sport, despite looking super-impressive when carried out by advanced practitioners, can actually be accessed really easily by beginners and can be enjoyed after only one or two lessons.
Dim Versluis, founder of Kitecentre Zanzibar, the original kitesurfing school on the island (there are now quite a few), explains: "Kitesurfing is easy to try, for men and women, boys and girls - it’s a technique sport and not a muscle sport. Zanzibar has the perfect conditions for beginners and advanced riders: flat water for tricks, and the reef for playing and trips with the ramps."
And what is so special about the sport? "It clears your head completely after a busy day - it's just you and the elements and every day is a new playground with your own rules."
The best times to come kitesurfing are from June to October (this is the cooler time of year in Zanzibar and coincides with the 'kusini' wind from south to north) or from mid-December to February (this time of year is hotter and kitesurfers can make use of the 'kaskazi' wind from north to south).
The main island of Unguja is recommended for kitesurfers, especially beginners. Dim says that you can kitesurf on Pemba or Mafia "but you have to know where, it’s more remote so you must know what you're doing, there is nobody to help you and there is no rescue service".
Another fun option is kite karting, which involves riding a kind of buggy attached to a kite along the beach. You can explore as far as 20km along the unbroken coastline on the east coast of the island (at the right tide).
Kitecentre Zanzibar in Paje, Matemwe and Nungwi
Airborne Kites in Paje (also offers instructor training)
Haraka Kite School in Paje
Kitezanzibar in Matemwe and Nungwi