South west coast of Zanzibar
Perhaps Unguja is best summed up by one of our previous clients … “Wow! What can we say? There aren’t words enough to praise this place. It was in a beautiful setting and we were treated extremely well; the warmth and friendliness were amazing. We have left a piece of our hearts here. Must return!” We agree.
Overlooking the waters of Menai Bay, Unguja is a small lodge made up of cosy thatched villas discreetly positioned in pretty gardens where monkeys play among the trees. Relax by the pool, go snorkelling, diving or opt for a leisurely cruise, and dine on delicious freshly-prepared seafood. Unguja is many people’s idea of a luxury barefoot escape, though the luxury lies in the privilege of being in this beautiful bush and beach environment rather than in the perfection and modernity of the rooms.
The lodge is on the south-western tip of Zanzibar, in a relatively undeveloped part of the island, suitable for those looking for a peaceful holiday. That said, from Unguja you can take guided tours to different parts of the island, and plenty of water-based options including snorkelling and diving among the coral gardens of Menai Bay Conservation Area and sunset cruises. A visit to Kizimkazi, the local village, is also highly recommended.
The lodge is constructed along traditional lines. Your home is a self-contained villa with a thatched roof and whitewashed walls. The interior is simple and spacious, with locally-made furniture, a cosy sitting area and bathroom, and to the front your veranda has views of either the ocean or gardens.
Unguja’s facilities include a high-ceilinged, open-sided restaurant with lots of cosy alcoves where you dine on freshly prepared dishes including fish and seafood, a bar, sunny outdoor sitting areas and a swimming pool. In the gardens, much prized by the staff, you can often spot monkeys among the mango and baobab trees.
At low tide you can go down a few wooden steps to relax on a lounger on the beach (though please don’t expect a perfect white Caribbean-type of beach). At high tide the beach disappears, but there are good opportunities for sea swimming.
This is definitely one of our favourite small lodges on the island, and we recommend it highly unless a good beach is your top priority.
Times to Go
If you’re seeking sun, June to October are warm and dry, and December to February rather hotter. The long rains occur from mid-March to late May, and shorter, less intense rains tend to come in November. The best months for diving off the south coast are November to March.
Unguja Lodge highlights
- Large thatched beach villas
- On-site PADI dive centre
- Quiet area of Zanzibar
- Lovely home-made food
- Resident troop of monkeys
- Tidal beach
Unguja Lodge location
- 10 villas & 2 family units
- Open late May till mid-April
- Children of all ages welcome
- Swimming pool
- PADI dive centre
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Restaurant and Bar
- Massage service
- Snorkelling (optional)
- Diving (optional)
- Dolphin watching trips (optional)
- Boat trips to islands (optional)
- Sunset cruises (optional)
- Guided Kizimkazi village tour
Unguja Lodge rooms
There are 10 villas in total, and 2 family houses. All rooms are supplied with a tide table to help you plan your days.
Each villa has a double bed fitted with a mosquito net, safe, ceiling fan, a lounge, shower room, separate toilet, upper floor with an extra bed and a private terrace. The 7 sea view villas face the beach and the 3 baobab villas are arranged around a huge tree in the garden. These last do not have a view of the ocean but do have a plunge pool and air-conditioning in the bedroom, and are more secluded than the sea view villas.
Each of the 2 family houses has 2 storeys of accommodation with a double bedroom, bathroom and sitting room on the ground floor and 2-bedroom and a bathroom upstairs. There’s a balcony and a terrace, both facing the sea. One of the family houses has air conditioning in the bedrooms. Each can sleep up to 6 people.
Twiga the giraffe likes this because…
“Most of the staff are drawn from the Kizimkazi Mkunguni, the local village, and the lodge supports educational, sport and health programmes here too. Unguja has been built with minimal impact on the environment, retaining the original vegetation which supports an array of wildlife – black tail and colobus monkeys love it here!”
And don’t forget … for every booking we get, Tanzania Specialists plants trees in deforested areas of Africa through The Travel Forest, and we back The Tribes Foundation’s conservation and social projects.
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Call: 01473 890499
Self confessed Africa-lover, but keen on all new travel experiences, Amanda is passionate about getting to know different cultures.
Tracy was been born and spent her youth in South Africa, the draw of the animals, the people and wilds of Africa have always run through her veins.
Sinead caught the travel bug following a year out after university. She has worked in the travel industry ever since, and visited many countries including South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Namibia.
The African dust is firmly planted in Chris’s heart. Born in Tanzania she spent much of her childhood in and around Ruaha. Travel and safari was part of life and through into adulthood fun and travel has never left her.