Staying at Mnemba Island, Zanzibar: A Private Island Paradise in Africa
Hot off the press from Zanzibar, Tanzania
Just you and the ocean. Uninterrupted. This is the ultimate beauty of Mnemba Island – a tiny, private island paradise off the coast of Zanzibar.
Mnemba Island is a luxurious, yet unpretentious lodge governed by sugar white sand and the prettiest azure waters. Situated off the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar, Mnemba forms part of an atoll which lies within a marine conservation area. Its rustic exclusivity and barefoot island charm are unparalleled on the East African coastline. Go ahead and kick off your shoes. Let the magic (and romance) of Mnemba delight and surprise you!
Check out my InstaShow videos of Mnemba Island
Paradise found: Arriving at Mnemba Island
Mnemba Island was the first stop on my 12-day Tanzania itinerary curated by Roar Africa. The adventure begins at Zanzibar International Airport where a staff member awaits for your arrival. After a 90 minute drive through the lush, tropical scenery and a 15 minute boat ride, guests arrive at Mnemba to cheerful staff members waving their hands and a refreshing welcome drink. In my opinion, the journey to get there adds to the allure of staying on a remote African island.
The most blissful beach bandas
There are 12 bungalows or beach bandas nestled into the forest with a direct path to the beach. Completely open to the elements, guests can sleep and rise to the sound of the crashing waves. While the island is small and takes less than 15 minutes to circle, all of the rooms are spread out to ensure maximum privacy. Rustic, yet elegant in style, they feature a high thatched ceiling, a 4-poster bed draped with mosquito netting, a covered walkway leading to an ensuite bathroom and a spacious verandah.
Additionally, each banda has a private beach sala and two sun loungers ideal for slow days in the sun. This was my favorite spot to enjoy lunch in the shade and sip on cocktails at sundown. Should you wish to dine in for other meals, your dedicated butler is never too far away. In fact, there is a walkie talkie system in the rooms to order anything you’d like!
Simple island living the way it should be
The simple, open-plan living is continued throughout the main areas of the lodge. The dining area, also made of thatch, offers a cool breeze and stunning views of the beach. Right next door is the spacious bar and sitting area where guests can mingle and drink bottomless cocktails. This area turns into a fairy tale after dark with the most enchanting lighting.
Dreamy candlelit dinners are served in multiple different spots on the island. Each night brings a new dining location under the stars by glowing lantern light. Mouthwatering seafood is often on the menu, but the chef does an exceptional job of catering to all dietary requirements. The ginger ice cream for dessert is out of this world.
Island activities to fill your days
Surrounded by an atoll of breathtaking coral reefs, Mnemba boasts some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in Africa. Hundreds of species of fish can be seen and three species of dolphins live in the waters. Active travelers can choose from twice daily diving and snorkeling outings, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming and dhow cruises. However, doing absolutely nothing at all is just fine too.
What’s included in your stay at Mnemba Island?
Adding to the magic of Mnemba is the all-inclusive lodge experience. Room rates start from $1,760 USD per person per night and includes:
- All meals and drinks (excluding premium brands)
- Laundry and WiFi
- Two dives per day for PADI certificate holders
- Snorkeling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, sundowner dhow cruise and flyfishing
- Emergency evacuation insurance
- Return transfers between Zanzibar and Mnemba
The Mnemba Island experience in summary
The natural beauty and style of Mnemba Island is truly unique to any other beach destination in the world. The privacy of the bandas, coupled with the beaches that halo the island are as close to perfect as it gets. For those looking for the ultimate bush and beach combo, Mnemba would make the perfect start or end to a Tanzania safari circuit. I would also recommend this property for an utterly romantic and off-the-grid honeymoon.
My 12-day Tanzania itinerary was set up by Roar Africa; my go-to African travel specialist. Planning a trip to Africa can be an overwhelming task, which is why I recommend going through an agent. I can’t begin to express how wonderful and well-organized my trip was thanks to their team.