Reviews of Chumbe Island Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Back to Mother Earth at Chumbe
Our overall experience on Chumbe Island was good with friendly staff and a homely feel. A very relaxing time. The accommodation was as expected with housekeeping doing an excellent job. We did, however, feel that the stairs would be a lot safer with a handrail, especially since one side is open to the ground level. Each accommodation has a lockable chest which was much appreciated as the huts of course are open.
The food on the whole was good. However, as there is no choice, we did have difficulty one lunchtime in particular. Neither of us can eat octopus or calamari. The salad course was seafood - octopus, calamari & tuna. The main course was octopus curry. The chef, however was able to provide us with chicken.
As one of us does not snorkel, we felt that 3 nights was a little long as there is little else to do. The tides were high during our time there otherwise our experience may have been different. When the tides are low you can make intertidal forays and I believe also walk around the island. We would have welcomed this. The beach area at Chumbe is well set out with areas where you can feel very private and cushioned shelters which are very welcome as a respite from the heat of the sun where you can snooze, read or perhaps just daydream.
For us, insect bites were a problem despite protection. We think, however, that most of the bites resulted from the forest walk which took part just before sundown and therfore before we had put on any protection. Perhaps it would be advisable if the guide could warn guests before the walk.
Chumbe also has an excellent library especially of reference books - sealife, birds etc which we browsed several times.
Chumbe Island review
My personal favourite place of the whole trip. Felt like Robinson Cruso in the huts, and the way the wall dropped down was so cool - we were lucky to be there at full moon too, walking back with our solar torces at night: with full bellies and mellowed with some wine & conservation - stopping to say hello to our hut number 4 crab at the bottom step: bliss.
Swimming with sea turtles - watching the local kids come for thier school day out - sunset at hte special sunset hut: where the staff come with beers if you want. Without doubht my favourite piece of the whole trip. Could wax lyrical about the food all day - so much so we even bought the receipe book to try recreate at home! could happily live at Chumbe!!
One of us in not a strong swimmer, but the guide ensured we both felt comfortable, and the inflatable ring on each snokling trip gave a welcome feeling of security. Even the most nervous can avail of all the reef has to offer.
My Castaway Island Chumbe
Everything about this island was wonderful.
I am not the best person in water particularly big expanse like the sea, so for me to snorkel is amazing, Juma my guide and diver was brilliant. He was so kind, patient and so encouraging that i felt really safe in the water with him. the coral reef is so beautiful and the fish!!
The whole team of staff are friendly, helpful and willing to do anything you ask. The eco-lodges are very comfortable and well designed, even though some people would think they are very basic being made out of wood etc. Having the flap down in the bedroom (natural air conditioning) and watching the sun rise is a moment not to be missed. To lie in bed and watch all the birds flying about so close and the morning chorus!! All now very special memories.
The food was very simple, very tasty and a lot more variety than I thought would be possible, (the chocolate cake is delicious).
The hermit crabs are very amusing, just all over the place, the coconut crabs are well Big!! Starfish colorful the list goes on and on.
We have got a couple of suggestions that they might want to consider. At night the stars are breathtaking, as there is no light pollution (not like at home) and are of course closer to the equator, under the milky way. This is a very different aspect of the sky most people from Europe would see and I am sure like me, they would like to know which is the great bear etc or any other information about the stars above Chumbe.
The other suggestion, is it possible to make another forest walk as we enjoyed the forest walk we did (but a little short for us) with our guide and also we walked around the island when the tide was out (This was great fun). We had noticed there use to be an old path through to the other side of the island and thought it could make another alternative activity.
We wish the whole team at Chumbe well and congratulate them on what they have achieved over the last ten years it is a beautiful and enjoyable place to stay.
This is an eco-tourism project that really seems to work. Protection of the coral reef, research and education are part of every day on Chumbe, and at the same time they are providing a wonderful holiday destination. Being able to snorkel with a turtle is a magical experience! We loved every minute of it.
The staff at the lodge were very friendly and helpful, and made sure everyone was looked after.
As far as the "rooms" were concerned, we especially appreciated having a solar torch, reading lamp and fan - these things can make the difference between being comfortable or not! Things got a bit interesting when we had a day of heavy rain, and it was a little difficult to stop our clothes from getting damp, but that was not a serious problem.
We would love to go back there one day.
A fantastic unique experience
Chunbe islands was one of the highlights of our trip. It was a real experience which started with wading out from the beach to the boat. The staff were all friendly and knowledgable and couldn't do enough for you. It was a real bonus having the same guide the whole time we were there. We enjoyed all the activities but the snorkelling was fabulous. One of our family is a poor swimmer and every effort was made to enable him to participate in and enjoy this activity.
It was an idyllic place with a beatiful beach which we shared with only 8 pther people. We found it interesting and satisfying to stay in an eco-friendly resort and the huts were really comfortable and fun and interesting to stay in. The central banda was a fabulous place with all sorts of places to relax outside and in and at night it was magically all lit with candles. The food was superb and meal times were a real treat.
An extraordinary unique experience.
Unique Chumbe Island
Chumbe Lodge is definitely somewhere to experience. We are very glad we had the opportunity to stay on the island for three nights (enough). Even the compost toilet was okay for the few nights we were there. We stayed in Banda 2 which was set very slightly inland and didn't get much of a breeze when sleeping. If we were to go back we would ask for 6 or 7 as they are right on the water's edge.
Apart from the eco concept, the most outstanding thing about Chumbe Lodge is the people who are running it. Everything was done with care and attention from the quality of the food to the information and activities. Everything was very clean although some of the beach bed cushions had seen better days and looked somewhat stained.
We really enjoyed the day time activities of the forest and intertidal walks and the snorkeling.
As with the safari lodges there was a set time for all meals with a limited choice of meat / fish or a vegetarian option. The quality of the food was very high although you have to get to your table on time. We were late one evening and found that they had run out of the main dish, unfortunately one group hadn't heard of portion control and managed to eat most of the food between them. It would have been nice if rather than having individual tables for two, the seating arrangements were more communal so that you could chat about the day and find out more about fellow guests, however can understand that not everyone would want this. After 5 nights at our previous resort we were in need of something more to do in the evening rather than just have dinner.
Overall a fantastic concept and a great holiday experience. We have lots of lovely memories including swimming with a turtle.
Chumbe Island review
An amazingly beatiful and peaceful island run by local people in a sustainable fashion. The food, service and accomodation were excellent. With only 6 guest houses it feels very exclusive but also very cosy.
I would recommend this to anyone. If it wasn't for the distance I would make it a regular visit.
Chumbe Island experience
Chumbe Island is different! Lovely setting, wonderful people, and overall a great pleasure. We learnt a great deal.
We discovered afterwards that we could have left baggage at the office Mbweni Ruins Beach Hotel. Had we known, we could easily have organised our bags to take enough for our stay, and this would have helped a great deal with transport to the island.
You mention the need to wade to the boat or shore. We hit a particularly low tide, so found ourselves very wet, thigh high in water, and walking for 300 yards or so through mud and coral. It can't be done in flimsy flip flops, or bare feet!
We truly enjoyed the visit.
Chumbe Island review
one of the best places we stayed at overall.
Facilities were better than we had been expecting (the compost toilet was fine), very friendly staff, brilliant excursions/activities (snorkelling, intertidal walk, forest walk) and educational. The bandas are cool and very easy to live in.
Food was fantastic and we were well catered for as vegtarians
Birthday cake and complimentary wine made us feel very special and we want to go back.
A experience with a difference. The accommodation was 'Robinson Crusoe' style - but perfectly suitable for the location.
Food was fabulous, and staff were extremely helpful, informative, and pleasant to deal with you. The views from the various vantage points, incl. the dining area, were fantastic.
The snorkling was great and the coral reef was spectacular in colour, vibrancy and fish life.
Three nights would be the maximum time to stay, because its a virgin forest island with very llimited walking access. In fact, the walking tours could be extended.