Reviews of Chumbe Island Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A magical finale to a fabulous trip
So many superlatives have been used in reviews about Chumbe that it is hard not to be repetitive, but this really is a very special place. Approaching the island on the boat provides an entrancing introduction to the island - one that does not disappoint. Travelling across at low tide, we had to wade to and from the boat but this just helped to create the sense of 'otherness' which is such a feature of a stay on Chumbe - and we were fully and ably supported by the staff who guided us and carried our bags.
The island is absolutely beautiful. At every turn, and at every tide, there are fresh views which take your breath away. With only 7 'rooms' and a few day visitors (2-5), the tranqulity was perfect for us. All around the island are places to sit (or lie!) to read, watch, sleep or just 'be' as the surf rolls around and the breeze blows. The idal range is marked, providing interesting contrasts between open, golden beaches and water lapping at your feet, and the guided inter-tidal walk provided an opportunity to walk right around the island and experience a unique 360 view. Another fantastic 360 view was from the top of the lighthouse - so don't be put off by the high number of steps to the top; there are palces to rest on the way!
The huts/houses/rooms (what to call them?) are wonderful creations where environmental innovations are stunning in their efficacy, efficiency and intricate beauty. With no doors or windows, just walls and open spaces, a surprisingly intimate space is created, thanks in part to the careful placing of the huts to provide privacy. The mezzanine bedrooms with their mospquito net tents and views straight out to sea with the clever window shutter down, provided comfortable repose as the wind and waves rocked us to sleep.
The food was very plentiful and absolutely delicious. The seafood is a particular feature and was particularly tasty and innovative. Some of the recipes are contained in the Chumbe Island Recipe Book which is a very special memento of our trip!
Staff were open, helpful and very well informed. Chumbe's role as a nature reserve and marine ecological park is a key part of their lives and it was a privilege to be part of this. The snorkelling was, as advertised, marvellous and the staff were helpful but not intrusive, allowing swimmers to explore freely. As well as snorkelling supervised from the boats, there are opportunities to simply go out from the shore at any point. In addition to this, at higher tides, the sheltered cove to the east of the main area provides a beautiful natural swimming pool.
We were privileged to spend our nights in Tanzania on Chumbe and this was truly a wonderful conclusion to a fabulous trip. You could get an impression of the island from a day trip - but it would leave you wanting more. We stayed three days and eve this wasn't long enough!
Unique eco island
We loved our stay on this brilliant little eco island and liked the fact that it was a marine protected area and the money spent there went to preserving the island and educating local communities.
Really friendly staff and homecooked style food. Accommodation was so well thought out and really made use of the surroundings. Snorkelling activities were great and the reef stunning - it was great that they had evening talks about the project and the reef etc.
Chumbe Island Lodge review
WOW!!! that's the only word for this place. It is truly amazing, beautiful and an experience you never forget. The coral and the snorkeling.... just incredible.
We had a candlelit dinner on the sand!! the food was awesome. The people so very nice and the accommodations.... just breathtaking.
My mom found it hot, so if heat is an issue that might be a problem and if you're not a snorkeler maybe you would find it quiet but it was incredible.
Back to Robinson Crusoe
A unique experience. Like your very own coral island staying in a banda that Crusoe and Man Friday could have made. Only reservation was the closeness of the long drop toilet to the wash basin and shower. Delicious food. Happy,friendly staff who seemed to enjoy making our stay special.
The snorkelling was the best I have ever experienced.
Chumbe Island Lodge review
Unique difficult to grade rooms as they are not 'standard'!.
Chumbe was something else - beautiful, has a conscience, uber relaxing, unique. 3 nights perfect. You could get away with 2 but may miss the lovely tidal walks as the tidal flow is quite extreme. I would say this is a lovely contrast to Beho Beho.
Took my husband a little time to get used to a composting toilet but they do somehow make this quite quaint.
You don't need a hairdryer - there is no electricity supply in the huts.
They also supply a shower & hair organic cleaner and lemongrass antibug balm so again you don't need to pack loads of this stuff. We didn't get any mossie bites there usually quite breezy which helps. The food was incredible. Hassan the chef does an amazing job with a wide variety of extremely delicious food. Not a hamburger, pizza or chip in sight!
The snorkelling was a really good compromise to diving. The coral gardens are just astonishing with a large variety of marine life so a good interest if you like splashing around.
We did suggest looking at a collaboration with Mwembi to look at luggage deposit so you can just take the essentials whist at chumbe and leave the rest at mwembi. The local ladies make all sorts of recycled and fabric goods so maybe they could make some transfer bags to keep unnecessary weight down? Vera the ops manager in Chumbe was keen to look at this as an option and as Dolf is new in Mwembi feel sure he would be open to looking at mutually beneficial collaborations.
We feel really privelliged to have stayed at Chumbe Island - it's indeed a magical and very special place. Once we stepped off the boat, we couldn't contain our excitement.
The bungalows are amazing and we loved sleeping under the stars with the front open! We are so impressed with the design of the bungalows and how eco-friendly the whole set-up is. The staff were incredibly friendly and service was excellent. Food was delicious and we loved eating out under the stars. In particular the snorkelling was superb - the best we have ever experienced.
Chumbe Island is the most unique place we have ever stayed and it is well worth the expense!!
Chumbe Island Lodge review
Amazing place for a few days.
Would not stay too long as 'eco tourism' is not always tat confortable.
Chumbe Island review
This was a great experience, and a complete and relaxing change from the safaris. The staff were great (and it was really good to be somewhere that was Tanzanian-run) and the island and its facilities fantastic.
The accommodation is very good (though don't believe them when they say there are no mosquitoes - there are certainly biting insects) and the location wonderful. The food was also excellent and the guides - and indeed all the staff - very helpful.
The only concern was our departure, on a very windy day which had prevented one boat from reaching the island, with the result that nine passengers and all their luggage piled into one small boat on a very choppy sea, which didn't feel too safe. There probably need to be fall-back arrangements for such times. But overall a wonderful and memorable time.
CHUMBE IS AWESOME
Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful. Best snorkeling I have ever done. The eco-lodges are clean and comfortable, and ours (#7) had a great view of the ocean. Private and intimate setting.
The food was great, especially the lunches, with fresh seafood every meal. Dinner was outside, which was a little windy, but still excellent.
Great staff from the waitresses to the guides, and overall a must-visit for at least two nights.
Great huts & snorkelling
Very friendly staff, great location and fabulous Robinson Crusoe huts. It would have been nice to have had more activities, e.g. longer walks around the island, bird watching etc. The activities were also at set times so not all could be done as they sometimes overlapped.
I think you should warn people more clearly regarding the possibility of a wet crossing and definite wet landings. We were luckily wearing shorts but otherwise you would get very wet!