Mnemba Island Lodge: The Lowdown

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When you land on Mnemba Island, you’re often instructed to chuck your shoes and watch away, and ignore them for the rest of your visit. Who’d need them when Mnemba has such white sand and azure water that it almost looks like a cartoon of an island paradise?  And this island is, of course, entirely private, with just one simple, but effortlessly luxurious lodge: the ultimate barefoot escape.

What’s Mnemba Island Lodge like?

Mnemba’s long had a name as Tanzania’s most discreet and exclusive beach lodge, but it’s the opposite of a glitzy resort hotel. Mnemba is low key luxury at its finest. Guest sleep in one of ten bandas: simple thatched structures with large ensuite bathrooms and a verandah for snoozing on during lazy afternoons. There’s no hum of air-conditioning here: you’re more likely to hear the chirruping of cicadas or the cooing of the colony of doves which live on the island. As for keeping cool- well, that’s what you have the sea breeze for. Food is equally simple- whatever the fishermen have caught that day, seasonal tropical fruit and light lunchtime salads.

What can I do at Mnemba Island Lodge?

Mnemba Island often follows a safari in mainland Tanzania, and in many ways this is a natural extension of the safari experience, with a real focus on the island’s pristine natural surroundings.  There’s fabulous diving and snorkelling on the offshore reef, excellent deep-sea fishing, and kayaks with which to explore the implausibly blue water. Afterwards there’re massages to make sure you’re really, properly, relaxed, and gentle sundowner cruises on Mnemba’s lovely dhow.

Feel-good factor at Mnemba Island Lodge:

The ethos at Mnemba is very much about putting back into nature and the community: desalinated seawater is used on the island, local fishermen are sponsored to protect the offshore reefs, they help to support communities over on the main island of Zanzibar including offering local children conservation lessons, and there is an ongoing programme to protect the turtles that nest on the island.

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