Teenagers can be the least rewarding of travel companions, requiring electronic access at all times and emitting a seen-it-all-before vibe. Yet there are no restricting age limits to adventures, they can journey any distance, and they have more of an appreciation for local culture. With its world-class watersports, fascinating history and beautiful beaches, Zanzibar makes for a terrific trip with teens. We’ve chosen 5 of the best hideaways…
If your family includes kids of varying ages, this friendly barefoot beach hideaway, an hour from Stone Town, is a great option. It welcomes children over 4 and has a kids’ club during school holidays for those up to 10. There are also 2-bedroom family bungalows, and the WiFi signal reaches the infinity-pool area where there are loungers and bean bags. Meals (featuring much local seafood) are taken in a Bedouin tent in the lush gardens, and there are bikes to rent.
For those on more of a budget, this unpretentious and sociable guesthouse is a winner. There’s a super beach with a fringing reef on your doorstep, plus a large circular pool. You get unlimited WiFi for a one-off payment, and families stay in 2-storey suites with beach or bush views. The food is excellent, with buffet dinners twice weekly.
Paje is a world-class kitesurfing destination, with sections for experts and 2 safe lagoons for beginners – ideal for the teen who thinks they’ve done it all. Try this well-priced and immaculate retreat, spread around 3 sparkling swimming pools, with its own private patch of sugary beach and free WiFi throughout.
Scuba diving and snorkelling
Boat trips to spot dolphins
Visit Jozani Forest to see the endemic Red Colobus monkey
This is the place to come to celebrate exam results or enjoy the last proper family holiday before teenagers fly the coop: it’s a truly special and secluded spot. Arrive by ferry then speedboat (or a twice-daily propeller plane) to find irresistibly simple tented rooms, thatched roofs, a long palm-fringed beach and no children under 12. By day splash in the hilltop infinity pool overlooking the ocean; by night, marvel at the canopy of stars overhead.
Superlative diving (some consider it the best in Zanzibar)
Sailing and fishing
Misali Island marine sanctuary – sea caves and nesting turtles
If you want to fly and flop after a gruelling exam schedule, head to this one-stop-shop beach resort. All rooms have sofabeds that are ideal for those travelling with one teen, otherwise book 2 adjacent bedrooms; some have balconies. There are no fewer than 4 restaurants to satisfy even the most gigantic of appetites, plus there’s a dive centre on site. And the internet room will enable bragging about the trip to friends back home…
On-site dive centre
Hire bikes and cycle to local villages or to the headland