At 31 degrees centigrade and with a hotch potch of people who frequent it, Matemwe Beach is a melting-pot in every sense of the word.
Between sunrise and sunset the beach, situated on the northeast coastline of Zanzibar, becomes a hive of activity with scores of Zanzibari women wearing bright coloured kangas wading into shallow water to collect seaweed, young children wearing next to nothing running around using the beach as their playground, backpackers in wetsuits in search of the ultimate diving experience, fishermen waiting for the tide to go out so they can fish in their traditional wooden dhows, Masai men in red-checked shukas selling jewellery, groups of local young men playing football and wealthy tourists heading to the nearby private $1,500-a-night Mnemba island to ‘get away from it all’.
With its palm tree fringed beaches, dazzling white sand, turquoise sea and vast expanse of sapphire blue sky, you can understand why Matemwe attracts so much attention.
My family and I spent a few days here, on Zanizibar’s longest beach, just before Christmas, soaking up the atmosphere, gazing out across the coral reef Indian Ocean and eating amazing sea-food, courtesy of the cooks at our accommodation, Mohammads’ Bugalows. We even went snorkelling with shoals of angelfish, zebrafish, trumpetfish and black snappers, in the clearest water I have ever seen.
Call me a romantic fool, or a more accurately a new-romantic fool, but while I was sitting on the beach I couldn’t get the lyrics of Martha and the Muffins’s Echo Beach out of my mind… Matemwe Beach is indeed far away in time.
Here are a few of my photographs from this beautiful place.