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Full Moon Party: Zanzibar Style

Zanzibar's Full Moon Party

A Full Moon Party with a difference

You’ve all heard of the infamous Full Moon Parties inThailand. But did you know Zanzibar has its own Full Moon Party? It’s usually held on the Saturday after the full moon. The best thing about it is that it’s still relatively low key and requires very little forward planning. It’s accessible from everywhere on the island.

If eating great food, dancing all night on the beach, chatting to the local Masaai and catching some really cool performers sounds like your cup of tea then read on!

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When I realised I was going to be in Zanzibar for the full moon, I wasn’t sure about attending the Full Moon Party. I had heard so much about parties in Thailand where locals are left cleaning up tourist’s mess for weeks following the party. Fire ropes, drink buckets and waking up to a beach covered in debris from the night before didn’t fit with the relaxed island vibe I associate with Zanzibar.

As you will quickly realise, Zanzibar has its own way of doing things. For those wondering, it is entirely possible to have an all night party with hakuna matata vibes!

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Where to stay:

We had just come from no aircon in 34 degree heat so treated ourselves to a bungalow in Kendwa Rocks hotel, where the Full Moon Party is held. We stayed there for the night of the full moon and the nights before and after. This was a nice luxury. The room was cool and even had a fridge for those pre party drinks (or much needed water the next morning!)

Kendwa is only 10 minutes from slightly cheaper Nungwi so staying there is also an option. Taxis from Nungwi are around 10,000 Tanzanian Shillings (around €5) for locals so don’t pay much more than this. Definitely don’t pay the 25,000 we were quoted once!

Book your stay through by clicking here and get us both €15 back on your booking.

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Our cool bungalow with its own veranda and hammock! We took two next door to each other- Zambia and Malawi- perfect for a group of 6 people.

What to do before the party:

While staying in Kendwa Rocks a rep booked us a table for the BBQ buffet on the beach that night. It had a great selection of seafood, meat and vegetables.

If you’re staying outside of Kendwa there’s probably no need to be there this early. My advice is spend the day relaxing on the beach. The party goes on late!

If you’re looking for something more active, check out my five unmissable activities in Zanzibar.

On a side note: if you are going snorkeling get it out of the way before the party. Don’t be one of the optimists that books it for the day after the party. You will end up cancelling and you won’t get your money back!

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Traditional buffet with a very confusing queuing system!

When the party kicks off:

If you opt for the buffet dinner there will be some entertainment towards the end of the meal. For us it was traditional African dancing. Once a crowd starts to form, a dance show begins. Usually Six Unit , a dance crew from Stone Town perform. They are seriously impressive and more than happy to keep the crowd dancing even after their performance. At one point the dance floor looked like one huge flash mob!

After the dance show there is usually a main performer. Last time we were treated to a reggae performer from Jamaica and local Tanzanian artist A.Y. Once the DJ starts everyone dances inside and on the beach. It’s very easy to spend the night wandering the beach, chatting to friends you’ve made (even if you’re only there a few days you are guaranteed to make 100 new friends!)

Before you know it your friends will be saying it’s time to go home, you’ll look around at an empty beach, realise it’s 7am and wish you could start the night all over again!

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Not a fire skipping rope in sight…but they did have this cool sign!

Need to know:

  • The Full Moon Party is held in Kendwa on the north west of the island. It is usually held on the first Saturday after the full moon.
  • Entry is free if you stay at the Kendwa Rocks hotel. If not it is 20,000 Tsh on entry.
  • Cash is not accepted at the bar. You must get a resort card. When we visited it was a 2,000 Tsh deposit. We preloaded the card to do 4 of us for the night.
  • Drinks are a bit more expensive than other bars. Cocktails were 12,000 Tsh (about €6). Beer will be less.
  • Taxis to and from Nungwi are frequent. It’s a ten minute journey. We paid 10,000 Tsh thanks to our local friends but expect to bargain a little if the price is much more than that.
  • You can walk to and from Nungwi along the beach but check the tides. Sometimes the beach gets cut off by the sea.

Looking to continue your Zanzibar adventure? Check out my guide to the best beaches in Zanzibar.

Have you been to Zanzibar’s Full Moon Party? Know of any other interesting Full Moon Party locations? Comment below and let me know!

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Zanzibar's Full Moon Party

Photo credits to Carmel Brady and Catherine Sullivan as I left my phone in the room for the entire night and everyone else forgot to take photos. See? Zanzibar is just too much fun!

25 thoughts on “Full Moon Party: Zanzibar Style

  1. Maggie

    It’s entirely possible to have an all night party with hakuna matata vibes?! Count me in!! This sounds seriously amazing. Definitely an experience to remember!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      You would love it! It’s the perfect mix of party and chill. Get tired of dancing? Just lie in a hammock or paddle in the water! And the best part is no mess on the beach the next day so you can still enjoy the rest of the day ? Thanks for visiting the blog!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      I genuinely think anyone would love this. Even if only to watch the professionals from the comfort of a hammock ? Thanks for commenting!

  2. HappyPlaceHunters

    Sounds like a blast, and your photos and pics make it definitely sound like one of the more appealing full moon parties – not much of one for big raves and the like! Zanzibar sounds gorgeous.

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      It’s definitely not a rave and way more chilled out than even most European nightclubs. They play mostly African music which is always great for dancing to, with some European chart tunes thrown in. Zanzibar is my favourite place to travel. It really has something for everyone! Thanks for reading!

  3. Flo

    Wow I had no idea that there were full moon parties outside of Thailand (but of course there would be, right???)

    Sounds and looks like a seriously fun time, and great tip about not booking snorkeling for the morning after!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      You wouldn’t believe the amount of optimists that think they’ll party through the night and get straight on an hour long boat ride to the reef! So much so that the local companies charge a 50% deposit for the day after the party. It’s a really fun night to work into a Tanzania trip. Zanzibar is my favourite place to travel. There’s even some rooftop yoga overlooking the beach which might interest you! Thanks for reading ?

  4. Sonja

    I had no idea there was a Full Moon party in Zanzibar! I’ve been to the one in Thailand twice and I loved it! I know it’s not the best and lots of bad things happen but like most things I think it’s what you make it. This sounds like a really fun much smaller and safer atmosphere though!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      That’s so true Sonja. Every experience is what you make of it. I read a post before saying that Zanzibar’s Full Moon Party felt too exclusive since it’s on in a resort. Yet I went with my local friends who all save up for the month to go to it and spent most of my night with local people and found the opposite! I haven’t been to Thailand yet but definitely wouldn’t rule out the Full Moon Party there. I’m sure I would love it. It’s all about the right crowd and the right attitude!

  5. Allison

    Had never heard of full moon parties in Zanzibar! Looks like something I would definitely be into but I think it would be hard to convince The Hubs. Maybe one to bring my GF’s to!

  6. Julie

    say whaaat! I went to full moon party in thailand, but this looks AWESOME! adding it to my already gi-normous list 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Ive been twice and it’s always so much fun!! I hear ya on the ginormous list ? Thanks for reading!

  7. Evelina

    Wow. I’ve never heard about it before. Sounds like a great experience. I’d love to visit Zanzibar anyway but it’s a nice addition 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Hi Evelina,

      It’s definitely worth working it into your trip. Zanzibar is gorgeous anyway and there’s almost always a party to be found but this is what everyone on the island talks about for the week before. I love that everyone- tourists and locals always make it there business to get to the party. It’s a great experience!

      Thanks for reading.

  8. Ferna

    I didn’t joined any full moon party in Thailand when I was there, my reason, was too crowded.. it’s I think a beautiful experience to try, but I was too blown by the crowd.. hahaha.. I heard great stories and fun stories too from other travelers, yet, I Never heard of Zanzibar’s full moon party, after reading this, I prefer coming to Zanzibar for full moon party too.. authentic and different.. love it!

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Hi Ferna,
      I’m not a fan of crowds either to be honest. This is one of the reasons I was apprehensive about going to the Full Moon Party the first time. I needn’t have worried. There’s plenty of space for everyone both on the dancefloor and around the beach. I didn’t have to worry about losing my friends and felt perfectly safe to take a wander on my own while they queued for drinks. Id totally recommend it for an alternative Full Moon experience!

  9. Sonam

    This was a great article and really gave me some insight into the parties! I’m going to Zanzibar solo for 16 days in Sept and will be in Nungwi during the time of the full moon party. Parties aren’t usually my thing due to crowds and the fact that i don’t drink but from your description it seems like its an evening of events for everyone.
    The full moon party was a maybe on my list – it’s now a definite must do! (even if i have to go solo :P)

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      Oh you will love Nungwi! I went with friends who are Muslim so don’t drink and we all had an equally great time. You definitely won’t be solo for long. Zanzibari people are really friendly and it’s a nice relaxed vibe so I’m sure after 16 days you will feel like you know the whole island 😛 I hope you have a great time 🙂

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      And I’ve never been to the one in Thailand so maybe that will be mine! 🙂

  10. Kesi To and Fro

    I plan to go to the full moon party in March! What do you think the best value experience is? Staying at resort and doing the dinner? Or staying somewhere cheaper and taxi in. Sounds like the resort was worth it !

    1. Cliodhna Post author

      The cheapest way to experience the Full Moon Party is to stay in the dorm at Kendwa Rocks. For around $30 you get a dorm bed and free entry to the party. However, the dorm has 16 beds and is crowded! The resort was worth it for me because I was with 3 people so we got a good deal on a triple room. It also meant we could go back to the room to change when we got too hot and to use the bathroom when the queues were too big at the party. Now that I live in Dar es Salaam, I usually just stay in Nungwi and get a taxi to Kendwa for the party, but if it’s likely going to be a “once in a lifetime” thing then I’d recommend staying at the resort.