The Best Hostels in Zanzibar for Backpackers

Zanzibar. Somewhere most people have heard about but then somewhere that not a lot of people know much about. The same goes for hostels in Zanzibar, nobody seems to know about them. Although hostels in Zanzibar are few and far between, this is mostly down to the lack of demand.

In other words, Zanzibar was never really a favourite for backpackers and more of a luxury getaway for one or two week vacations. However, things change and as young pups become more interested in backpacking Africa, the demand for hostels goes up.

The Best Hostels in Zanzibar for Backpackers

Anyway, this has meant that there are now more options on the island to choose between. Needless to say, some are located better than others and honestly, some are just a lot nicer. Without any further noise, here are the best hostels on Zanzibar:

Quick Answer: You Don’t Have the Time!

  • Overall Best Hostel in Zanzibar – Drifters Backpackers, Paje 
  • Best Hostel in Stone Town – Lost & Found Premier Hostel
  • Best Cheap Hostel in Stone Town – zLife Hostel
  • Best Hostel for Couples in Zanzibar – Teddy’s Place, Paje
  • Best Hostel for Digital Nomads – Ten to Ten Stone Town
  • Best Hostel in Nungwi – Kipepeo Backpackers

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Hostels in Zanzibar

I have a few pet annoyances when it comes to staying in hostels. Actually I have a lot. But there are some things which every backpacker will appreciate and I think the following are pretty universal things to consider.

  1. Location – Stone Town is an absolute maze. Due to the one way system and pedestrianized streets, public transport won’t help you either. Therefore, you want to be near the waterfront in Stone Town. As for the rest of the island, if you want a hostel surrounded by variety, atmosphere and fun – choose either Nungwi or Kendwa Beach.
  2. Price – Africa is not cheap so the best hostels in Zanzibar won’t be either. That being said, they are a lot cheaper than the hotels.
  3. Amenities – Free breakfast is a bonus and free Wi-Fi is mandatory.
  4. Check Out Time – I refuse to check in to a hostel that has a check out time any earlier than 10am.
  5. Cleanliness – Unfortunately, guesthouses in Africa are not the cleanest and I found this to be the case with hostels in Nairobi too.

Choosing the best hostel in Stone Town is not really that difficult given the lack of options. However, choosing the best hostel on Zanzibar is not as straightforward. After all, every hostel on the following list is clean, reasonably priced and well equipped. Also, I genuinely enjoyed staying at each of these hostels and would happily do so again!

Overall Best Hostel in Zanzibar – Drifters Backpackers, Paje 

Drifters Hostel Zanzibar

Drifters is the most impressive location that I have ever stayed in for a hostel. Located right on the beach, this hostel in Paje is a real backpackers favourite and the kind of place that people end up staying a lot longer than expected. There is a local chef who cooks dinner every day, a beautiful swimming pool and a fully stocked bar. The dorms are clean and spacious while the huts are fitted with proper floors rather than mud or sand or straw! You can opt for a private room at Drifters too, but with just six people to each dorm, the place never feels crowded. Lastly, the friendly staff are super helpful and there are nightly parties on the beach for anyone who wants to join in!

Check Price of Drifters Backpackers

Best Hostel in Stone Town

Lost and Found

Lost & Found Premier Hostel

Lost & Found is the absolute perfectly spot for a couple of nights in Stone Town. Situated right next to the main shopping alley, Gizenga Street, this not only takes my pick for the best hostel in Stone Town but also the most clean and centrally located in town. You will find almost every other attraction right on the doorstep too, from the night market and Africa House Hotel to the local dive centre and an endless line of places to eat. As mentioned, the rooms are immaculately clean and this is so important for me. They are fully air conditioned and the free Wi-Fi is pretty decent. What more could you want? To sleep next to the building where Freddie Mercury grew up? It’s true!

Check Best Price for Lost & Found

Best Cheap Hostel in Stone Town

zLife Hostel

zLife has several outdoor and indoor areas which make this a great hostel for finding your own space. At the same time, the hostel is extremely clean and located right at the centre of Stone Town.

While it may not be a while lot cheaper than elsewhere, zLife is indeed the best cheap hotel in Stone Town that I know about. You will also find friendly staff on hand at all times and the common area has a pretty cool fussball table which is free to use.

In the dorms, the style is pretty minimalist but this is a style that works well in Africa. After all, simplistic and clean is often all you need for a comfortable stay in this part of the wold. With free Wi-Fi and air conditioning throughout, this is a reasonably safe choice for backpackers in Stone Town. Also, the kitchen mean that guests on a budget can make their own food and tea/coffee or whatever!

Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Zanzibar

Ten to Ten Hostel Stone Town

Ten to Ten, Stone Town

Ten to Ten Stone Town is in a fantastic location and at the very centre of Stone Town. With this in  mind, this is an ideal hostel for digital nomads looking to combine some business with leisure. Just around the corner, you will find many great cafe’s and places to eat while the hostel itself is a nice place to hang out in the evening. The rooms are clean and spacious with safety deposit boxes which is always a great bonus for backpackers.

There is also a dart board and ping pong table and motorbikes can be rented in the reception. Overall, the central location and great Wi-Fi make this my pick for the best hostel for Digital Nomads in Stone Town.

Check Best Price for Ten to Ten

Best Couples Hostel in Zanzibar – NEW Teddy’s Place

Hostel in Zanzibar

I reckon most hostels in Zanzibar are ideal for couples. However, given the supreme location and standard of New Teddy’s Place, this is an obvious winner.

You will also find this costs slightly more than the other backpackers but it certainly makes up for it with value. Located in Paje, the hostel is surrounded with things to do including snorkeling, surfing, and fishing. At the same time, it’s located right on the beach which makes this a good shout for the best couples hoste in Zanzibar.

There is Wi-Fi and free breakfast but overall, this is just a super nice and comfortable hostel to wind down and escape after a few days in busy Stone Town.

Check Best Price for Lost & Found

Best Hostel in Nungwi – Kipepeo Backpackers

Hostel in Nungwi

If you want to escape the busy spots around the island, Kipepeo is an excellent backpackers choice. NunGWU is vibrant and rather busy of course, but this is still a rather quiet hostel in Zanzibar.

On the other hand, I would not go up here expecting a palace. Kipepeo is a basic yet charming place to stay with good Wi-Fi and great showers. You will also find some of the best beaches in Zanzibar here along with a huge selection of restaurants and bars for a sundowner.

Check Best Price for Lost & Found

Have an Awesome Trip and Don’t Forget Your…..

And there you have it – the best hostels in Zanzibar! Did you find what you needed?

If you find it difficult to choose between the above, I recommend hat you stay at Lost & Found in Stone Town followed by a few days at Drifters Backpackers, Paje!

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Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen
Derek Cullen is an experienced overland tour leader in Africa. He is best known for cycling across Africa and writing about travel in Africa for many online media publications. If you would like advice or information for your trip to Africa, you can speak with him directly through the LiveChat box!

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The Author - Derek Cullen

I worked as an overland tour leader in Africa for many years. I now want to help you book the trip of a lifetime and find out everything you need to know about taking an overland tour in Africa.

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