Mnemba Island is Africa’s most famous beach lodge. This paradise little island, with a small forest and bizarrely a number of small antelope at its heart, sits off Zanzibar’s North East tip. A car journey and a short boat ride (right onto the beach) take approximately 1.5 hours from Stone Town or Zanzibar airport.
Seemingly lost from the Maldives, Mnemba Island is surrounded by world class snorkelling and diving and unquestionably has Africa’s finest beach; it is as good as any you will ever see. With only ten rooms the island is very small in size, but is very well laid out. Taking approximately 30 minutes to walk around its circumference, the islands main communal area sits at the front of Mnemba with rooms scattered to either side. The lodges water sports and dive centre sits just back with the shop, reception and internet rooms. The result is that over half the island remains completely untouched – no rooms, no bar, just an impeccable beach and a truly turquoise ocean.
The rooms themselves are made from canvas, grass and reed. They are designed in a style which takes nothing away from the stunning location. Hidden out of view from the beach or sea, each of Mnemba’s eight rooms have a porch area with comfy sofas and foot baths. Up a couple of steps the bedrooms open up directly behind the porch with huge sumptuous beds overflowing with comfy cushions and rugs. Behind the bed a partition opens up to the wardrobes and storage areas before a small corridor takes you to the rooms stunning en-suite bathrooms.
Informal lounge with television
A small library
Watersports and dive centre
Palm-thatched en-suite bandas
Dress code: Strictly sarongs and barefeet.
Accommodation at Mnemba Island Resort The 10 beach bandas have been designed for you by thatching experts and tucked discretely in between the casuarina trees on either side of the lodge to ensure privacy. Natural materials such as wood and palm branches have been hand-woven to create the ultimate beach banda, the epitome of island elegance. The windows are open allowing the balmy breezes in. A palm-covered walkway leads from your banda to an en-suite bathroom, where an occasional ghost crab may make an appearance. The water for the shower comes from the island's well or rainwater and is heated by solar panels. There is a spacious outdoor veranda on which to mentally replay days spent diving among exotically coloured tropical fish on the magnificent Mnemba reefs.
The interiors are spacious and stylish. Huge beds have white cotton bedspreads and mosquito netting. The netting is apparently not necessary as the island has been declared malaria-free, but they're great for romantic ambiance. Besides this, the rooms are very simply furnished and don't have any of the facilities usually associated with top lodgings. This fits perfectly with the island theme. After all, would Robinson Crusoe have had air conditioning, mini-bars and televisions?
Dining at Mnemba Island Resort Basket loads of tropical fruit and freshly caught seafood arrive by ngalawa outriggers. These are whipped into mouthwatering platters and served buffet style for lunch. Elegant feasts are served for dinner either in the open-air dining room or at tables lit by flickering hurricane lamps on the beach under the stars. If you prefer, your meals can be taken in the privacy of your beach cottage. Needless to say, the service at this lodge is highly professional.
In keeping with the tradition of CC Africa lodges, Pan-African cuisine is served. You'll also notice a slight Mediterranean and Moroccan influence. A typical meal may include West African-style curried corn and coriander soup with Naan bread; spicy chicken with grilled bananas and ginger chutney, roasted beef with caramelised onions and chilli with cumin potatoes and followed by homemade vanilla ice cream with macadamia nut praline and slow-roasted rum-soaked pineapple. Oh yum.
Breakfast consists of a variety of hot and cold options. Special diets are catered for with prior notice.
Mnemba Island Resort Activities: The main lodge with dining room and lounge/bar is open plan, letting in those balmy island breezes. From here, you have good views of the beach and coral reefs beyond. You can watch television, play board games, read books from the library or watch a great selection of wildlife videos.
In the beach forest situated in the middle of the island, you'll find timid suni antelope and white forest vagrant butterflies. Amazingly, there are no snakes, mosquitoes, scorpions or snakes on the island. Birders can look out for the purple-branded sunbird, bar-tailed Godwit, Eurasian oystercatcher, crab plover and paradise flycatcher. Along the shores, you'll see curlew sandpipers, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and Mongolian sandplovers.
Other Activities: ? Diving and snorkeling at Mnemba Atoll
? Sailing, boating, windsurfing and kayaking
? Deep-sea fishing and birding
? Tours to Stone Town and the spice plantations can be arranged
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