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Thanda Island is the ultimate private island in every sense. Its exclusive, a luxurious retreat and a perfect destination for a small group of friends or a large family. It provides privacy, no one else can visit the island, it is a place to avoid the paparazzi!

Measuring 1.1km in circumference and approximately 350metres wide, there is lots of space to get lost, have your own ‘me’ time or be involved as you want with everyone in your group. 

Thanda island is also surrounded by reefs, so the initial land is shallow and so it is protected from stormy seas. Thanda lies within Tanzania's Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve and is unique in this part of the world as a beautifully designed private island.

The design is a mixture of New England design meets Sleek Africa. The Swedish owners Christin and Dan Olofsson based the design on the Kennedy’s house in Cape Cod and they used a Cape Town interior designer!


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The Explorations Company, where no two journeys have ever been the same

Where is Thanda Private Island located?

Lying off the coast of Tanzania and the Zanzibar archipelago lies Mafia Island and about 30kms west of Mafia lies Thanda Island. Thanda lies about 130kms off the coast of Tanzania and opposite Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve). 

Visitors can fly into Dar es Salaam with Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Qatar, Turkish and Emirates airlines and others. The quickest way to travel to Thanda Island is with a 45-minute helicopter flight from Dar es Salaam, or a 10-minute flight from Mafia Island.   Of course, one can also sail there, perhaps from Stone Town, Unguja Island (Zanzibar)

What sort of accommodation is available at Thanda Private Island?

Thanda can sleep up to 22 people, with extended accommodations across the island but ideally sleeps 10 people in the main villa. The romantic East African villa is designed with comfort and space in mind, furnished in coastal whites, greens and blues, all the time inviting the surroundings in - the space, air, breezes.  The house is very romantic and the living areas large enough for the whole family yet there are hidden and cosy places to relax and have some peace too.

Everything is thought of and included - an indoor aquarium, Steinway grand piano, wine collection, cigar humidor, and glass rim-flow swimming pool and when getting together you will not miss the view when dining – the wrap around dining area has a 180’ view of the ocean.   Dining is not confined to inside as there is an al fresco BBQ and pizza oven, picnics, and sundowners on the beach. Thanda is 100% self-sufficient with regards power and has Wi-Fi Internet access and mobile phone reception.

There is one main villa with its five suites for 10 adults and also nine additional children can be accommodated.  But there is also two double storied beach chalet bandas for 4 adults.  In the main villa two of the en suite rooms are interleading – so perfect for families with young children. The master bedroom has a dressing room, outdoor bath, indoor and outdoor shower, and of course panoramic windows all around.  Extra beds can be placed in the rooms for children, all rooms have in room safe, fans and air conditioner and four poster beds with the most amazing mattresses and mosquito nets.

In addition, Thanda Island has two charming 'Bandas' built in traditional Tanzanian style whilst these are best for two adults in a master king-sized bedroom on the upper floor there is also a double bedroom on the ground floor so also good for a small family. These bandas do not have fans or air conditioners – just the natural breeze floating through the windows, but fans can be requested.   There are mosquito nets and a shower in the bathroom (no bath).

What are the main areas in Thanda Island?

This is your private coral island, complete with villa and a team of staff and chefs to look after you.  It takes about 8 minutes to walk around the island and there is much to see and do.  Of course, the beach has powdery soft sand and seashells washed by the azure blue sea. Spend your days relaxing on loungers by the swimming pool or on the beach.  The executive chef Melissa and managers Antigone and Oscar and Ruben who looks after the water activities are there to assist you and plan your meals as you like them and keep you busy and entertained. 

The emphasis is on this is your private coral island retreat.  The food here is fresh with an international flavour mixed with the Swahili style such as fresh fruit, freshly baked muffins for breakfast, yoghurts pancakes and cereals for breakfast, light lunches with gorgeous salads and for dinners samosas with different fillings, Swahili curry’s and poached pears and ice cream for dessert. They can cater for all palates and dietary requirements. Many dishes include ocean fresh fish and seafood, beef, and tropical fruits.   Melissa and the team love to organise fun dinners on the beach and bonfires and picnics.

To work off the lovely food, there is a gym with weights and cardio equipment as well a tennis court and table tennis as well as a yoga sala.

Included in your stay are all meals, wine, snorkelling, wake boarding, jet skiing, stand-up-paddle boarding, fishing, island tours. Diving is extra. They can also bring in a yoga teacher at an extra cost.

What activities are available on Thanda Island?

As Thanda lies in a marine reserve, you can bathe in blue heaven with the gentlest giant of the ocean, the whale shark, and watch sea turtles nesting.  There are a host of water activities to explore the reef- snorkelling equipment is supplied, you may see turtles. Green hawksbill and loggerhead, leatherback, and olive turtles swim by. All are categorized as endangered. There are seven different sites for snorkelling. Whale sharks are also often seen- one of the most extraordinary experiences is to swim with these gentle giants. The best time to see them is between October to March.

Kayaks stand up paddle boards, water skis, beach volleyball and wakeboards are also available.  Enjoy yoga sessions on the beach with your personal instructor. One can also go deep sea fishing and jet skiing and scuba diving can be arranged with the dive partners from Chole Bay at an additional cost.  Some of these spectacular sites include Kinasi Pass, a 5-star rated dive site where the sheltered Chole Bay meets the open sea; the Milimani Coral Gardens with shoals of colourful fish; And Chafe Wall, known for its turtles, stingrays, and reef fish.

Fishing trips operate on a catch and release or you can bring home fish for dinner. The boat that will be used is a fully equipped 28-foot reef runner cat, deep-sea boat. There is a traditional Arabian fishing dhow for short trips. Guests can also explore further afield to Mbarakuni Island for the day for a relaxing sandbank picnic and explore the legendary spice island of Zanzibar.

Does Thanda Private Island cater for families with young children?

Yes, there is so much to do here for all the family.

When is the best time to visit Thanda Island?

Thanda Island can be visited all year round and has tropical warm year-round weather. There are two rainy seasons late April to May and short rains in November. The average temperature is between 27 to 31’.  One of the loveliest times to visit is between September to November with gentle winds, hot sunny days, and crystal-clear waters. between December to March with its light to strong Kaskazi trade winds. 

How does Thanda Island protect and nurture the local environment?

Thanda has teamed up with a leading NGO called Sea Sense and assists in research on marine conservation and educational programs in the area.  These included projects on sea turtles, dugongs and dolphins, coral reefs.

Thanda also is committed to the Tanzania people, and does outreach programs on Mafia Island. Some of these programs include fish harvesting, marine conservation and sports for children and adults.


Flying Safaris in Africa - By Private Helicopter

Epic helicopter journeys exploring corners of Africa that few have been to or even ever heard of. We specialise in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, the Congo and Namibia. Our tailor-made safaris cover wild and spectacular mountains, valleys, forests and deserts, with a focus on ‘remote and unknown, unexplored and unforgettable’.

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour and catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore – Dream – Discover - Mark Twain - You can view clips of some of our own favourite discoveries here.

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- Utterly designed and tailored around you and your requirements

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- Established over 30 years ago we have been around longer than most

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- Unparalleled knowledge provides you with the best possible experience

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Making a difference

- Philanthropy is our philosophy

- Our founding principle is to always ‘put something back’

- An amount from each holiday is donated to our selected conservation and humanitarian charities

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Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...

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Your holiday is fully protected by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018

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