Most kiteboarders have heard stories about a paradise in Zanzibar, so when Laci Kobulsky and Paula Novotna got the chance to hop on a plane and go and explore the island, they didn’t hesitate for a minute! Hosted by Dim, the pioneer of kiteboarding in the area, they were stoked to make the trip over to meet the Kite Centre Zanzibar crew and explore the area. Check out this latest feature as Laci Kobulsky and Paula Novotna share their incredible experience with us at IKSURFMAG.
The main spot for kiteboarding on Zanzibar is beach called Paje. Dim was enchanted by this place when he got here about 10 years ago and not much has changed since. There are many spots around the island good for kiteboarding, but Paje offers a huge and beautiful beach with constant winds and it’s easily the best place for kiteboarding as on the island, in my opinion.
Prior to our arrival, we had heard rumors of the dramatic tides that affect Zanzibar, where most of the beach disappear and while it is true, we saw it not as an annoyance but as benefit really! Thanks to the tides, the spots are changing and offer many different conditions to ride it. In high tide, its great for foiling or waves behind the reef and during low tide the water gets shallow and perfectly flat for freestyle, 5-minute hike on the beach to reach it was no problem at all!
We stayed around for a month and during our travels, we came up with the list of activities and places that should not be missed during your trip to Paje, check it out!
(Following words by Paula)
Best Spots around Paje
This was my first time in Paje, I loved it, and I will definitely come back again! The spot in Paje is different every day, as the tides are constantly changing. Paje Beach is 4 km long and you can kite pretty much everywhere. There are several schools located on the beach but we were staying at the Kite Centre, which is a Duotone Kiteboarding School.
Paje is the perfect spot for kiteboarders as it offers everything for each style. From just cruising, foiling, wave riding or freestyle, it just depends on the tide! At low tide, the lagoon is almost empty, and then you have perfect flat water for freestyle. So the best time for freestyle is around low tide and you have current against you. You can still go for a freestyle session when the tide goes with you but it is a bit harder. There is a secret spot in the Mangroves, which is amazing but is only good for 2 hours in a specific time with the tide. When you get the timing right, it is unforgettable!
For wave riding, you are able to get almost all the time but not during low tide, as the coral reef is quite shallow and tends to stick out and then, becomes a hazard. I would strongly recommend you wait about an hour and a half before and after low tide before you get on the waves. The waves in summer are between to 2m – 2.5m high but on other days, they are on average 1.5m.
I’m pretty sure there are no sharks, I didn’t spot any, but you never know!
For Foiling, I was always going when it was high tide or from mid tide to high tide, as you need the deep water, which of course, changes daily.
There are a few other spots around, what we haven’t been to; maybe we’ll discover next time, or you will!
My favorite things to do around Zanzibar…
Zanzibar offers great nightlife and you’ll find a party happening every day of the week! I loved traveling around the island, especially visiting the capital, Stone Town. You don’t want miss out on Josani Forest, over there you’ll see wild monkeys that only live in Zanzibar, and they are really cool. I found a few places offering Yoga and some workouts in the morning and evenings, so that was fun to join. For meals, there are a few nice restaurants around that offer delicious food.
What did I expect vs what surprised me in Zanzibar?
I was expecting white sand, crystal blue water, a lot of sunshine and very light wind going by the rumors I’d heard from people! But to my surprise, we had great wind for 2 weeks, there was 1 day with no wind but the rest I was stoked, so I was very surprised by that.
The summer months are a little bit rainy but windy, so I was on the water literally every single day.
How to get there and where to stay?
We flew in with Turkish Airlines; they fly there from all over Europe via Istanbul. The prices were affordable and it was cheap to take board bag.
There are no vaccinations needed for traveling to Zanzibar from Europe but they do require yellow fever vaccination if you are coming from an endemic area.
Visa’s can be bought at the airport or online 50 US dollars.
If you want maximum comfort during your stay, Kite Centre Zanzibar offers 4 luxury rooms directly at the beach with really an incredible view. If you are looking for something a little different, behind the Kite Centre is the Waterfront Hotel and they offer apartments for rent. There are several other options around Paje if you are on a budget including beach huts, Air BnB and more.
What to pack for maximum fun and safety?
Kite, board, mosquito spray and a lot of smiles!
Who would you recommend Zanzibar?
I would recommend it for couples, families, friends, anyone really, It is a magic place! You can have a quiet holiday with your loved one or with your family, but you can also have a lot of fun with your friends; on and off the water!
Paje is also one of the best places I’ve seen to learn to kitesurf.
How did you enjoy your time, how was the shooting and what about the people you met?
I honestly had a blast! We were filming a lot but on the other hand, I was having a bit of holiday. I was out foiling, wave riding and practicing freestyle all the time. I was so tired from all the kiting, that I didn’t even make it to most of the parties!
I invited my mom to join us on this trip, and she had an amazing time. I was also stoked to share this entire trip with photographer/videographer, Laci Kobulsky who initially came up with the idea to visit Africa and he was behind me with a camera almost all the time. Laci is a fun guy, always good company and making sure everybody is comfortable and having a good time. I met many people in Zanzibar who are living there some part of the year and they are chilled and easy going.
I would like to thank everybody who welcomed me so nicely with open arms, I look forward to coming back as a local!
After this trip, we continued to Kenya for another adventure!
Text: Laci Kobulsky and Paula Novotna
Photos by: Laci Kobulsky
Sat 8th Sep, 2018 @ 9:00 am
By Jen TylerItalian/Egyptian Jen Tyler grew up on the sandy beaches of the Red Sea and has been on the IKSURFMAG & Tonic Mag team since 2017.