Chumbe Island Lodge is located on Chumbe Island itself, 13 km to the south west of Stone Town. Stone town is a 20 minute flight from Dar es Salaam. Being so close to Stone Town, however, does affect the whole remote feel of the lodge.
The main lodge is built in an abstract design, with an enormous makuti roof structure that hangs down on all four sides for sides of the cross shaped roof. Chumbe prides itself on being beyond eco-friendly, sometimes referred to as Chumbe eco-resort, although it bears no resemblance to a resort at all.
Chumbe has one smaller bungalow and six double storey bungalows. The ground floor is the bathroom and living area and the top floor is the bedrooms. The bathroom is extremely eco with long drop toilets, not for those looking for luxury. The water is all solar heated and is rain water which gets passed through a local filtering system and pumped up.
Snorkelling is what makes Chumbe stand out from the rest. Although the majority of the island doesn’t have good beaches, Chumbe is blessed with a good stretch of lovely white sand. There is no diving or fishing here, but you can arrange all dolphin trips and other activities from the lodge.
Accommodation at Chumbe Island Coral Park The seven bungalows, or eco-bandas, are set a reasonable distance apart from each other and only a few paces down a sandy path to the ocean.
Casuarina poles have been lashed together with coconut rope forming secure walls, and the roof has been constructed with palm fronds layered into sheets. There is an upstairs bedroom with a cupboard and a mattress on the floor underneath a flowing mosquito net. You have magnificent sea views as one side of the room is open, with a blind to pull down if required. Downstairs is a lounge area, which is decorated with African art, an extremely comfortable hammock and some chairs. The lounge is also open, allowing the gentle ocean breezes in. Leading off the lounge is a small bathroom with a hot-water shower, toilet and basin.
The bandas lack all the mod cons of a resort (televisions, telephones, air-conditioners, mini-bars), but use some of the best eco-friendly technology in the world. The eco-bandas were designed to have minimal impact on the environment. Since there is no fresh water on Chumbe, rainwater is funnelled down the roof into large cisterns under each banda. The water is filtered and then pumped to the bathrooms through a solar-powered heating system. Once used, this water passes through a series of filters in special plant beds encased in clay, which are located on either side of the banda. These plants are specially selected for their ability to take up phosphates and nitrates from the soil.
The toilets are the most groundbreaking. To economise on water and waste, a compost toilet handles sewage. It looks like your standard toilet, but instead of flushing it you scoop compost into the long funnel. The waste decomposes naturally in a closed chamber so that no sewage leaks into the ground or sea. There are no smells, thanks to a wind-powered extraction system. Sounds strange, but the system works wonderfully.
Lights and hot water all run off solar power as there is no electricity on the island. To aid ventilation in hot weather the banda roofs have been shaped to act as wind funnels, ensuring you stay cool and comfortable while indoors on a hot day.
Dining at Chumbe Island Coral Park The cuisine at Chumbe Island Coral Park is renowned for delicious local Zanzibari dishes, which combines influences of Arabic, Indian and African recipes using fresh fish, octopus and seafood, beef and chicken, tropical vegetables, fruits and spices from organic farming. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are also available on request. With there being no power on the island, all cooking and baking is done on coal fires and stoves. Meals are prepared and presented with great care, using the finest local ingredients.
Breakfast service includes an early morning tea or coffee waiting for you when you wake up under the palm-thatched roof of your open air eco bungalow. Dinner is taken with candlelight in the unique atmosphere of the historic ruin of the former lighthouse keeper's house, situated on a dramatic cliff just above the water level overlooking the crystal clear sea.
For honeymooners, private meals are also served in secluded small beach huts. In calm full-moon nights candlelight dinner is sometimes also served on the beach. On Chumbe, the settings are as memorable as the cuisine, another reason why this is such a special place.
Activities on Chumbe Island There are numerous activities waiting for you on and around Chumbe Island.
The whole of Chumbe Island is a nature reserve and you may explore its beauties either under the competent guidance of our park rangers or at your leisure.
Snorkel through the beautiful shallow water Reef Sanctuary or explore the Forest Reserve and historical monuments. Take an excursion out, SCUBA dive in the nearby reefs, or perhaps just allow yourself a lazy day watching dhows and outrigger boats go by.
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