Where is Mnemba Island located?
Mnemba Island is an exclusive, miniscule island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. The resort sits atop Mnemba atoll, surrounded by an unspoiled coral reef and is perfect for snorkelling right off the beach. It lies approximately 3 km off the north east coast of Zanzibar and is accessible only to guests and the staff taking care of them. There are daily direct flights into Zanzibar International Airport from a variety of destinations including the Northern safari circuits of Tanzania, as well as international hubs such as Nairobi, and Johannesburg.
After guests are collected at Zanzibar International, one takes a road transfer of approximately 90 minutes, with the last 20 minutes or so being on unpaved, bumpy roads. This, however, is a stunning journey through fruit and spice plantations, providing a real insight into the life of Zanzibarians. Arriving at the water’s edge at the crossing point, clients will leave their vehicle and wade a little to board the open ski boat for the short 15-minute transfer to Mnemba Island where you will be met by the friendly team. There are no jetties on the mainland, or on Mnemba Island itself and so departures and landings are directly to and from the beach.
What sort of accommodation is available at Mnemba Island?
Built with the notion of creating an unpretentious paradise in mind, Mnemba Island is a tranquil retreat which exudes an air of romance and relaxation. The island features 12 beachside bandas set on the fringes of a tropical forest, overlooking the ocean and the white sands of the Mnemba atoll. Each banda is a private sanctuary offering beautiful views, luxury accommodation and utmost comfort. The bandas appear tucked away, in harmony with the environment.
The bandas feature energy-efficient thatched roofs, canvas, and sandstone walls with locally made wood carvings and headboards. Each of the villas is generously appointed with king-size bed draped in an exquisite mosquito net, twin vanity bathroom, roof thatched with palm fronds, secluded rainfall shower featuring an intricate glass bead curtain, oversized sunken bathtub, a fully stocked personal bar, ceiling fans, Wi-Fi internet, an outdoor shower.
Outside the bandas have their own expansive private decks, with comfortable armchairs from which to admire the endless views. You can enjoy meals or snacks al fresco on the deck, enjoy the sunset from your private vantage point. Private sun loungers are only a few meters away, equipped with a thatch shelter should you need to escape the heat of the sun.
- There are eleven one-bedroom beach bandas and one two-bedroom family banda with an interleading passage.
- The bandas are set directly on the wide sandy beach, peeping out from the delicate casuarina pine forest. Each banda affords stunning views of the ocean, and the utmost in privacy and luxury.
- The bandas are 89 square metres in size, and open plan allowing the sea breeze to fill the spacious rooms. Outside the deck has a table and chairs, as well as comfortable seating where you can find a cosy corner to relax.
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.
What activities are available at Mnemba Island?
Whether you want to relax in your banda, sunbathe on the white-sand beaches, immerse yourself in the local culture or get involved in the numerous water - based activities on offer, Mnemba Island offers a vast array of activities to suit all age categories and fitness levels.
- Snorkelling around the island. The house reef can be reached without a boat and is ideal for snorkelling right off the beach.
- Sundowner Dhow Cruise. Enjoy a peaceful cruise on one of these traditional trader boats, that simply drift across the ocean.
- Scuba diving: 2 dives per day (full PADI certification required)
- In room Yoga and Wellness treatments (at an additional charge)
- Sea kayaking
- Deep sea fishing charters can be booked in advance and at an additional charge.
- Swimming directly off the beach in the crystal-clear warm waters.
- Stand up Paddle boarding
- Bird watching and walking on the island, exploring the rich flora and fauna.
Does Mnemba Island cater for families with young children?
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.
Examples of children’s activities available on Mnemba Island are numerous, and include the treasure seeker day, for kids from 6 – 12 years old, which entails a scavenger hunt, pirate ship dhow trip, and snorkelling. Other possibilities include snorkelling, dolphin watching, sandcastle building, kayaking, Stand Up Paddling, fly fishing, frisbee, beach soccer, nature walks, shell collecting, baking turtle biscuits with the chefs, and playing a multitude of different games such as cards, backgammon, scrabble, chess, mbao, bocce, and jenga. Beach picnics with the parents are easily arranged as are bespoke birthday cakes for that very special occasion. The team on Mnemba Island have a real affinity with children, and one can rest assured your children will be well looked after and have the time of their lives.
When is the best time to visit Mnemba Island?
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.
How does Mnemba Island protect and nurture the local environment?
Their Oceans Without Borders initiative in partnership with the Africa Foundation to care for coastal communities, the marine wildlife, and the oceans. Believing it vital to minimise the marine footprint of their island properties, this has been a great success and has had to date several achievements across these areas.
- The secluded beach on Mnemba Island is one of only two protected nesting sites in Zanzibar for the endangered green sea turtle.
- The conservation teams observe and track turtle activity. The data recorded over the last 20 years on the island shows that more than 60, 000 green turtles have been born on the island.
- Because the journey to the sea is so perilous due to predators such as crabs, birds, and lizards many of the hatchlings don’t even make it to the ocean. However, on Mnemba the staff and guests now “escort” the lucky hatchlings ensuring they have a better chance of survival. Every effort will assist the species in its quest to avoid extinction.
- On Zanzibar Island, projects completed include having provided teachers accommodation at Mbuyutende School, having built ablution blocks at Matemwe School having awarded bursaries to students from around the island.
- School groups and local fishermen are regularly hosted on Mnemba Island for interactive ecological lessons, vital for the continued support of the community.