Reviews of Unguja Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Unguja Lodge review
This lodge is very well designed, both public areas and chalets. Chalets are enormous and encourage relaxation in various postures. The dining area is lovely and enables groups to be together, or cosy corners for couples. Food is great, and the fish options are marvellous.
Lounging or sitting around pool is very easy too. ~Although not used by us, the dive centre looks well run and beginners and young children were well catered for.
The main limitation of Unguja is the location: it sits on a coral platform that is isolated at high tide - and even at low tide, timing a walk along the beachfront can be tricky. Southern winds meant swimming/snorkelling from the lodge were difficult - but with calm weather options would improve. This is a perfect location for the dolphins (which can be seen from the lodge) but we declined the boating option which seems to be something of a circus (this is no reflection on the lodge) with too much poor behaviour from local 'captains'.
Unguja Lodge review
This is a beautiful lodge, combining elegance and simplicity, perched on the edge of a coral cliff overlooking the sunset and turquoise ocean. As it has family huts, which are spacious and have three separate bedrooms, it is ideal for those travelling with children. The view from the terrace is breathtaking. The lodge itself is well designed, with a biggish pool and tasteful dining room. The foot was very good, with fresh fish from the sea often cooked with local spices.
There are colobus monkeys living in the trees between the lodge, which are very funny to observe. It's important for anybody thinking of going here to know that the lodge doesn't really have a beach, or rather it does but it's not one that you can swim from, as there are rocks in the shallows even in high tide, withnumerous sea urchins. However, at high tide, you can swim straight from the lodge steps, and snorkel, which is wonderful.
Activities were run by the dive centre, and we had an amazing trip at dawn swimming with wild dolphins. Unguja takes wildlife seriously, and only does such trips early in the morning before the other boats get out; after a while, there are too many irresponsible boats out there surrounding the animals, which is a shame.
The only negative points were the cost of a taxi to Stonetown and back, which makes taxis in Europe look cheap. The red wine by the glass was also disappointing, given that there is so much good South African wine available. Otherwise, highly recommended.
Unguja Lodge exceeds expectations
What a delightful place! and well worth the hour's drive from the airport.
The most imaginatively designed huts with deep thatched rooves and white plaster curved interiors. They feel very spacious, and it feels as if there are only a few people there. This plus the warm welcome from Elies and Ralph gave it a personal family feeling. Excellent food and service and very relaxing.
Although it only has a small beach, at high tide you can step straight into the sea, and I went snorkelling with the dive team at nearby reefs. Altogether a very relaxing few days, and we agreed, a place we would love to return to
Unguja Lodge review
Lovely place, vey well maintained, very helpful and friendly staff. Excellent layout of the 'room', with a modesty screen in the bathroom much appreciated.The monkeys partying above us were amusing.
We enjoyed our walk round the village with our guide: we wouldnt have seen or understood much without him.
Our boat picnic and snorkelling trip was rather adversely affected by heavy rain, and because the boat is slow a shortish trip is rather spun out, and very expensive.
The journey to the airport takes quite a long time, going via Stonetown, so I think we would have been better off starting here and finishing in Kilindi
Unguja Lodge review
What a delight to stay at our first and only owner-operated lodge. Ralph and Elise were both delightful and very hands-on but not overbearing. The lodge is drop-dead gorgeous and I could have spent several more weeks there. Our "hut" was so spacious and comfortable and lovely with a view of the ocean.
The dive operation is first-rate and the equipment was excellent. We had not necissarily planned on diving but after meeting the dive master and looking at the operation, we signed on and had three of the most spectacular days of diving of our 25 year diving lives.
We would return to Africa just to go to Unguja Lodge.
Unguja Lodge review
This was the highlight of our trip. The hotel is beautifully designed with around 10 private lodges. We (thanks to some smart footwork by Expert Africa) had a sea view. The lodges are spacious, very comfortable, and comfortable. There is free internet but you need to be in the main building (where you have meals and drinks) to access it. The food is very good with a decent choice at every meal. There is power throughout the day.
Lots to do - walking, snorkelling, diving. There are plenty of books to help you identify birds and other creatures. We did the snorkelling which was amongst the best we have done anywhere - but better on the second trip where we elected for the Robinson Crusoe trip which took us out to a reef on a nearby island. We saw dolphins and sailfish on the way out.
The second trip is more pricey and includes lunch on a sandbank. My choice would have been to skip the lunch and just spend more time snorkelling. You don't need your own equipment - they supply everything and it is good stuff. The masks don't leak and the flippers are comfortable (but choose a size larger than your shoe size or you may find them a little tight).
Food is good and there is a modest choice each meal. One of the key features is that everyone working there seems to enjoy their job. They are pleasant, helpful, but also just seem happy.That is nice.
Leaving Zanzibar is tedious - take lots of small notes with you as EVERYONE wants a tip.
Unguja lodge is a fantastic place to relax.
The accommodation is extremely spacious and had a real sense of privacy even with the open air layout (there is however an enclosed bedroom). And it was great laying in bed hearing the monkeys on the roof and in the trees outside our villa.
The owners - Ralph and Elise - welcomed us and were always on hand if needed. They arranged a tour of the nearby village for us with one of their staff, a village resident, as our guide - a real insight into the Zanzibar way of life. The pool area was perfect for unwinding and staff were friendly and helpful. Pre-dinner drinks gives a chance to socialise but then the dining area is cleverly split by low level walls to give a sense of individual dining areas
We appreciated the laid-back atmosphere, the personal touch of the owners, and the amazing villas, and therefore for us Unguja was superior to Ras Nungwi where we also spent 3 nights.
Perfect for low key relaxation and diving
We stayed for 6 nights with our 15 year old son and found Unguja a charming place to chill out and relax. The owners are very attentive and ensure that everything goes to plan, the staff are friendly and the accomodation delightful - our room was huge with great views out to sea. The highlight of the stay was our diving course and we all completed our PADI open diving qualification under the expert tuition of Nick, who took the course very seriously but combined it with lots of fun.
The only minor frustration was that it was very hard to control the water temperature in the shower room which meant that we ended up leaving the water running for a long time - not very environmentally friendly
Unguja Lodge review
During our 2-week stay on Zanzibar, our 4-day stay at Unguja Lodge was probably the best!
The location, natural and village surroundings, lodge architecture, location and facilities were excellent!
The lodge owners and staff are extremely hospitable and professional. They are all discreet, yet helpful and available whenever needed.
The food was also the best we had during our stay at Zanzibar. In fact it was excellent! Imaginative, original and very, very tasty; suitable to every liking!
The only service that was of average rating was one that is not directly owned and managed by the Unguja Lodge Management, but is hosted at the resort. This is the One Ocean Dive Center. We did a number of activities with them (one-day diving/snorkelling trips; dolphin-spotting), and although they were always polite they appeared to be rushing everything and providing the absolute minimum from what was agreed.
This issue was raised with the Unguja Lodge Management, who appear to be aware of this issue. It has to be noted that we did use the services of One Ocean Dive in other locations of the island (as they have multiple offices out of which they operate) and we were greatly satisfied everywhere else. Perhaps it is the staff/management of the diving center specific at the Unguja Lodge that need to improve the quality of their services!
Regardless, our stay at Unguja Lodge was excellent and worth every penny. On our next visit to Zanzibar we will be certainly visiting them again.
Relax in paradise at Unguja Lodge
Ralph and Elise have created a delightful holiday resort, in the South west of the island. Our lodge had double bed on GF and another on the first floor, giving us the choiceof where to sleep, both with mosquito nets (although mosi's were not a problem provided you sprayed up well. Magic to wake up looking at the Indian Ocean. Excellent PADI dive centre on site (one of the One Ocean Group of dive centres) and Nick who ran it was very professional and took us on some superb dives.
Dining area romantically delightful, with very friendly and helpful staff. Highlight was visit to local village, by guide who worked in the resort and was also a senior in the village, thus opening up to places that would shut to others. Absolutely fascinating.
Lovely pool to laze around or swim in the ocean when the tide was up. Great sight seeing the fishing fleet sail off at dusk in their dhows.
Very sorry to leave.