Tucked away behind an enormous baobab tree is the entrance to Fumba.
Fumba Beach Lodge: Our full report
Fumba Beach Lodge first opened its doors in 2005, and offers plenty of style, character and creativity - with bright colours and a real feeling of space throughout the lodge. It is the perfect place for those seeking a bit of privacy as there are endless places to sit and relax both around the pool and surrounding area and dotted along the beach. When we last visited in late 2009 there was a very quiet relaxed feel to the place, and although it was low season, we expect that it feels quite similar even during busier times.
That said, the main central area has a great “sunset" bar called the “FumBar" - which is made from an old African dhow - and is a popular place for people to gather together for a drink while watching the unobstructed view of the sunset before dinner. This can create quite a buzzing atmosphere.
The main bar and lounge area are in a large open sided thatched area with seats for lounging around the bar, and then an adjoining restaurant area with plenty of tables and chairs both inside and spilling out onto the large patio.
The kidney-shaped infinity pool is impressive, and has plenty of loungers and shady areas for relaxing and chilling.
There are three different categories of room at Fumba Beach Lodge - twenty Deluxe Rooms, four Luxury Suites, and two stunning Baobab Suites. The feel of each of the rooms is similar, however the suites have amazingly impressive bathrooms.
The massage centre, or Lemon Spa as it is known at Fumba, has an intriguing design built around a baobab tree and surrounded by wooden rafters. Honeymoon couples may especially appreciate a double massage followed by a candlelit sunset Jacuzzi, or a champagne breakfast Jacuzzi - raised six metres up into the trees!
There is also an excellent onsite diving centre, run by a young fun Columbian-American couple. They have been there for several years now, but are still very enthusiastic and eager, and took all safety aspects very seriously. You head out to the dive sites on a small dhow with an engine, which is a great traditional experience, and the sites they visit tend to be a lot quieter than those found on the east coast. When we last went diving with them we were the only divers at the dive site.
However, although we think Fumba Beach is an excellent lodge, it is important to be aware that it does not have the perfect white sand that can be found on the east coast. Fumba is situated on a yellow-sand beach that is dotted with exposed coral rock. That said, it still has beautiful clear turquoise waters and its location on the west side of Zanzibar means it gets a great view of the sunset.
Our viewFumba Beach Lodge is a stylish and well run place in a secluded part of Zanzibar. Though the beach here may not be quite as postcard-perfect as the white beaches found elsewhere on the island, it is still a lovely tropical paradise and very much worth considering.
Ideal length of stay: Spend at least three days here to really relax and enjoy it. Or you can consider combining Fumba Beach Lodge with Unguja Lodge, spending three or four days in each and transfer by dhow between the two.
Directions: It is about a 35-minute flight to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it is a further 45 minutes south along bumpy roads to Fumba. Note that Fumba Beach Lodge is on the right side of town for the airport; so it's a good lodge to end at if you're leaving on an early-morning flight from Zanzibar.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Fumba Beach Lodge is very relaxed about their meal timings and they will happily accommodate any dietary requirements. Breakfast is usually a variety of fruits and cereals as well as a full English breakfast.
Lunch can be chosen from an a la carte menu. On our last visit, choices ranged from gazpacho soup (one of 7 starters) to catch of the day (barracuda), calamari, and more familiar burgers and club sandwiches.
Afternoon tea is provided at 4pm with cakes and biscuits.
Dinner is a more formal 4-course affair. When we were last there in September 2011 the dining took place in several areas around the lodge meaning it was a very private and romantic experience. It included shrimp, avocado, tomato and gouda cheese on zucchini, followed by French onion soup, then grilled pork chops, and finished with a delicious pineapple and cinnamon strudel with passion cream, finished off with a coffee.
The food was beautifully presented and really tasty. Once a week they have a Swahili night with a buffet.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Family holidays: Fumba Beach Lodge has a relaxed atmosphere and some Deluxe rooms have interconnecting doors – perfect for families. There is a beautiful pool and the PADI dive-school will take children out on trips to learn to snorkel. There are no special facilities at Fumba for children, but we've seen the team here making a big effort to ensure that kids staying were having fun.See more ideas for Family holidays in Zanzibar
Honeymoons: Fumba Beach Lodge is a luxurious and stylish beach retreat that would be perfect for celebrating a special occasion. The excellent service, beautiful rooms and fantastic food make staying here a real treat. The managers will pull out the stops to make your stay special.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar
Diving & snorkelling: Fumba Beach Lodge operates a good dive centre with brand new equipment, and have an excellent couple running it. Though the diving from Fumba is less spectacular than the best of the East Coast; the corals here are especially beautiful and in better condition. There aren't as many fish, but you'll usually see no other boats in area. It's a blissful experience after the relatively crowded dives around Mnemba Island.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Zanzibar
Wellbeing: At Fumba Beach Lodge the Lemon Spa is well-stocked with beauty products, and under some shady trees are 2 treatment tables. On the roof there are comfy sofas and more treatment tables. But the highlight must be the Jacuzzi built on a decking in the higher branches of the tree. This lovely vantage point can be used to relax or even enjoy breakfast!See more ideas for Wellbeing in Zanzibar
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Fumba Beach Lodge (except in the Baobab suites).
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Fumba Beach Lodge.
Special activities & services: Fumba Beach lodge can offer babysitting. (No charge for this, but a tip for the sitter is expected).
Equipment: Beautiful Zanzibar cots are available on request.
Generally recommended for children: We would recommend Fumba Beach Lodge for children.
Notes: On one of our last visits, there were a few families with children staying at Fumba Beach Lodge. They particularly enjoyed the pool. The lodge's team was very good, organizing lots of activities – from snorkeling to dolphin-watching, to help keep the children entertained.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is an email facility in the office that guests can use for about $5 for 30 minutes. There is intermittent cell-phone reception in the area.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Fumba Beach Lodge.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There are trained first aiders who live on site at the dive centre. The nearest doctor is in Stone Town, which is about 30-minutes by car.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Fumba Beach Lodge has a closed gate and security guards.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the main areas of Fumba Beach Lodge. Each room has fire drill instructions.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: The laundry is an extra charge and when we were last there it was around US$3 - 6 per item.
Money: Fumba Beach Lodge will happily exchange US dollars, pounds and euros.
Accepted payment on location: You can pay for any extras in US dollars, British pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings cash. If you wish to pay by Visa there is a 3.5% charge, and for Mastercard there is a 5% charge. Travellers' cheques are not accepted.