Sunshine Marine Lodge has magnificent views of Mnemba Island.
Sunshine Marine Lodge: Our full report
Recently opened in 2013, the aptly named Sunshine Marine Lodge is a new beach lodge in Matemwe, on Zanzibar’s east coast. It is situated further north than the other properties in Matemwe meaning it is slightly more secluded. Sunshine Marine Lodge is built on top of a cliff with stunning views across to Mnemba Island. The Lodge has a lively bright atmosphere making it popular with younger travellers, honeymooners and anyone who has an interest in diving.
Sunshine Marine Lodge is identical in style to its older, slightly smaller, sister Sunshine Hotel. There are 23 en-suite rooms all built under a high makuti thatch roofs. These are designed to make the most of the cool sea breeze that is blown across the Indian ocean; so there is no air conditioning - although there are two fans in each room. All of the rooms contain: a queen-sized bed complete with a mosquito net, a safe, a en-suite bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet and either a veranda or a balcony. All of the rooms benefit from the bright pastel colours, which are used throughout the lodge; expect light blues, oranges and sunny yellows which creates a relaxed and bright atmosphere.
There are four categories of rooms at Sunshine Marine Lodge:
- There are 15 Sunshine Suites which spread down the hill; ranging from the main reception area at the back of the property down to the main restaurant and pool area at the front. All of the suites are connected by a path that runs through the rock garden – this has been left to look as wild and natural (without looking unkempt!) as possible. There are four rooms in each banda – two on the first floor, and two on the ground floor - all are completely separated for privacy. All of the suites have a view of the ocean, although some views are better than others - the best views tend to be on the first floor.
- There are 4 Blue Wave Suites, which are identical in size and decor as the Sunshine Suites but they are located on the sea front and have better views as a result.
- The 2 Blue Breeze Suites are also located on the ocean front. These rooms are more spacious than the aforementioned suites, the bathrooms are also larger – all of the amenities are the same.
- Finally there are the 2 Panoramic Suites; these are the most spacious rooms at Sunshine Marine Lodge. They are right on the cliff edge and have breathtaking views across to the Mnemba Atol, great for newly weds
The main area has a plunge pool and a larger infinity pool; they are surrounded by sun loungers, hammocks and comfortable cushions that keep with the colour scheme of the lodge. Behind the infinity pool is the vibrant bar and restaurant which is designed to resemble a dhow. There is also an upstairs room that looks out over the pool and across the Indian ocean – this is a great place to escape the mid day heat!
Because Sunshine Marine Lodge is slightly raised on a cliff, it does not have the same access to the beach as many other properties. To make up for this they have built a pier that extends into the Indian Ocean so that guests can swim during high tide. Muyuni beach is a 15 minute walk from the lodge; this has beautiful white sand and the few people that go there can swim in the sea at any time of the day – this is unique on the east coast of Zanzibar.
Sunshine marine lodge offers many of the same activities as other lodges in Zanzibar: snorkeling, reef walks, sailing, fishing, island excursions and trips such as spice tours but what sets it apart from most is the state of the art dive centre.
Sunshine Marine Lodge has its very own dive centre located at the back of the property; called ‘Dive Point.’ Dive Point opened in 2013 and is stocked with brand new equipment. There is a classroom with a flat screen TV and a specially designed swimming pool - perfect for refresher dives and PADI training. Being the most northern dive centre on the East Coast and directly opposite the Mnemba Atol (where the best dive sites are) means that Dive Point has arguably the best location on Zanzibar for diving.
Our viewTrue to its name, Sunshine Marine Lodge is a friendly, vibrant hotel. It’s great value and will suit travellers who want a relaxed but lively beach experience. Its best features are its location and state of the art dive centre; they have access to some of the best diving in Zanzibar and magnificent views of Mnemba island.
Ideal length of stay: We would recommend a stay of at least three nights.
Directions: It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, then it’s a further hour and a half by car to sunshine Marine Lodge.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: B&B
Food quality: Breakfast is served between 7.30 and 10.00. There is a choice of bread, fruit, jams and spreads, as well as the option to have a cooked breakfast, with tea, coffee and a selection of juices.
Lunch, is very relaxed and usually served sometime between 12.30 and 3.00 ordered from the poolside bar. There is a snack menu and a specials board, which is not to be missed – this usually depends on what the local fisherman have caught that morning. On our last visit we enjoyed barracuda cooked in garlic butter and chips, followed by a passion fruit mouse – it was delicious.
Dinner, is served from 6.30 until 9.00, it is a set menu that changes daily (although this can be flexible) there is a choice of main course which is usually between a seafood dish and a chicken dish as well as the chef’s specials of the day. The lodge prides itself on having a very good pastry chef and so dessert is something to look forward to!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Not included: Beers are around $3.50 and a glass of wine is roughly $4.00
Family holidays: With a lively vibe and very relaxed atmosphere, Sunshine Marine Lodge is great fun during family beach holidays in Zanzibar with older children. Teenagers can for example go mountain biking or participate in activities organised by the lodge’s state-of-the-art dive centre.See more ideas for Family holidays in Zanzibar
Honeymoons: Sunshine offers a good-value Zanzibar honeymoon with a great location. The spacious Panoramic Suites are perfect for newly-weds, on the cliff edge and with breathtaking views. It’s a vibrant lodge in a lively location; Sunshine offers a perfect balance of relaxation and fun!See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar
Diving & snorkelling: Sunshine Marine Lodge is in a great location to explore the Mnemba Atol. Whether it’s your first time diving or you’re very experienced; the brand new dive center with their state of the art equipment will be able to accommodate you.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Zanzibar
Attitude towards children: Sunshine Marine Lodge welcomes children aged 12 years and older.
Property’s age restrictions: Minimum age 12 years.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Sunshine Marine Lodge is a great place for family holidays with older children. Its excellent diving centre and vibrant atmosphere are really fun to most teenagers.
Notes: We always advise to keep children under constant supervision.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: There is also a back-up generator.
Communications: WiFi is sporadically available throughout the lodge and is free of charge.
TV & radio: There are no TVs or radio here.
Water supply notes: Bottled water is provided in the rooms.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Three members of staff who have first aid training will be at the lodge at all times. The hotel also has affiliations with a local doctor and there is a recompression chamber 8 KM away.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Sunshine Marine Lodge is gated and has two guards. There are also two 24-hour guards on the beach.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are available in the main areas. The hotel also has a pump that takes water from the swimming pool that can be used in an emergency.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is available for an extra charge.
Money: The hotel accepts Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, GB pounds and euros, and will offer an exchange service if they have enough cash.
Accepted payment on location: MasterCard and Visa are both accepted here but a 5% commission will be added.