Steeped in culture and history, Zanzibar enticed adventurers, seafarers, and traders from far and wide. Known as the spice islands, from the centuries old trade of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, today the Zanzibar Archipelago is still bathed in the heady scents of spices and traditional dhows still drift across the horizon.
Mnemba Private Island is a tiny atoll off the east coast of Zanzibar which offers the ultimate in barefoot luxury. Its rustic exclusivity is unparalleled on the East African coast, it has just 12 secluded bandas hidden in the shady palms beside pristine beach.
One of the most glamorous coastal retreats in southern Africa. Interiors, created with wood, rattan, reed, and rough glass, are simple and modern. Muslin-curtained four-poster beds alongside sculptural rattan-woven chairs. Every item in the camp is carefully considered, from the polished clamshells at each doorway, filled with fresh water to wash your feet, to elegant crockery, Kitengela glasses and Torn Boontje-style light-fittings.
Mnemba Island Lodge lies 4.5 km (3 miles) off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar Island, Tanzania. The Island is 1.5 km in circumference and is surrounded by a tropical Indian Ocean coral reef. What sort of accommodation is available at Mnemba Island?
The lodge collects guests at Zanzibar International Airport or Stone Town.
As there are no jetties, departures and landings are directly to and from the beach and involve a little wading. Please note that boat transfers are weather dependent.
Each of the 12-private beach Bandas on Mnemba Island has a spacious veranda and is hidden in the shade of a tropical beach forest, fringed by the pristine beaches that surround the Island. A palm-covered walkway leads to an en-suite bathroom with shower and basin.
Zanzibar is famous for its intricate, detailed woodcarvings and the scrolled headboards adorning the beds are created by some of the Island’s most skilled artisans. Sheer unpretentious paradise, the architecture of Mnemba Lodge offers a rustic exclusivity and privacy unparalleled on the African coastline. Thatched dining and sitting/bar areas have beautiful open views of the beach and spectacular coral reefs beyond.
The resort features a sumptuous bar and lounge area, with incredibly comfortable sofas just made to recline into and low tables on which to rest your favourite drinks and snacks. The décor very much reflects the rustic, but luxurious feel of the island, and local fabrics are a nod to the East African location.
Dining on Mnemba Island is a lavish affair, where one is spoilt with fresh seafood, caught that day by the chefs and landed in front of your eyes. The local spices and flavours are often reflected in the cuisine, and the offerings are simply delicious.
The warm waters of the Indian Ocean are perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Beautiful swimming beaches are readily accessible, and guests can cavort in the waves regardless of high or low tide. An astounding array of reef fish and other underwater marvels occur on the reefs surrounding the island, and a number of magnificent dive sites are easily reached from Mnemba.
Mnemba boasts some of the world’s most beautiful dive sites. The clear blue seas provide unsurpassed visibility for both snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts – you will be provided with all scuba and snorkelling equipment that you need. Just a short boat trip from the Island, coral reefs drop into the deep open sea.
Two dives daily, led by experienced dive instructors, are included in your stay at Mnemba Island. (Please note that a valid diving certificate is required.) For those wanting to take it easy, snorkelling around the island offers guests a memorable experience, with boats and snorkelling guides available to take guests to more remote reefs.
Both snorkelling and scuba diving equipment are provided at no extra cost. More than 430 species of reef fish have been recorded on the house reef, a mere two-minute swim from the beach.
Something remarkably special to experience is being able to observe green turtles laying their eggs on this idyllic private island. Green turtle laying season is year-round with a seasonal peak in February and March – and is something truly wonderful to witness. The ocean depths around Mnemba are a fisherman’s paradise, with game fishing species such as barracuda, tuna, mackerel, kingfish, sailfish, and marlin frequently encountered. Fly-fishing enthusiasts can fish directly off the island’s beaches, while deep sea fishing can be arranged at an extra cost. Mnemba follows a policy of catch and release.
Excellent birdwatching, beautiful walks around the Island or simply sun-tanning on the pristine beach may also be enjoyed. For those wanting a little more exercise, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are also available for guests. Optional extras include diving courses, deep-sea fishing, a tour of the ancient ‘Spice Island’ of Zanzibar, and a range of relaxing massages and therapeutic treatments.
Mnemba Island is a place where time slows down, it offers the luxury of a leisurely pace, ideal to reconnect and renew relationships among families, as well as grow friendships between the children and land, animals and people of Africa.
Children of all ages are welcomed at Mnemba Island. The resort has one family banda, consisting of two 1-bedroom bandas connected by an interleading walkway. The family banda is situated close to the communal areas of the kitchen and dining area. Mnemba Island can accommodate a maximum of 2 children under 12 years of age on the island at any given time in this family banda. Childminding is available and can be arranged at an extra cost.
The WILD Child programme is available at Mnemba Island and is a collection of adventures and activities designed especially for children. These fun, interactive activities are designed to expose the children to the local people and wildlife, as well as the food and culture of the area. As the kids go to bed in the evening after a fun-filled day, they will find details of tomorrow’s assignment on their pillows, ensuring they are eagerly anticipating their next adventure.
The best months to visit are from June to March, when average daytime temperatures are approximately 26˚C / 79˚F from June to October, and 28˚C / 82˚F from December to February. The average water temperatures is from 25˚C / 77˚ to 29˚C / 84˚F. Due to the rainy season, Mnemba Island is closed seasonally from early April to late May, the exact dates varying from year to year. There is a short rainy season in November, however the lodge remains open and the weather is still very pleasant, and the sea is delightfully warm. The weather can be humid at any time of the year, although sea breezes bring cooler air and relief from heat and humidity. The turtle season peaks between April and August.
For further information, please do feel free to contact Nicola directly or at The Explorations Company for further inspiration and unforgettable safaris and holidays to Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
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