Reviews of Unguja Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Beautiful villas amongst baobabs
Beautiful villas. We certainly didn't need two villas between the three of us! One person in a villa with five beds, four wash-basins oodles of seats and seating areas was a bit excessive - but this isn't a complaint!
Situation was superb - lovely sea views, staff friendly and helpful, food good, baobabs beautiful, monkeys and other animals around (elephant shrew) an added bonus. Snorkelling from the beach wasn't really an option, though we had been led to believe that it was. (This may have been because of the tides.)
Nice pool, and good walks along the bach in both directions.
Unguja Lodge review
Spectacular lodges which were enormous and had lovely views over the sea.
Great to see sensitivity to the local environment and for a lodge to be working so close to its neighboring village.
Great food especially the lobster which we ate under the stars on our last night.
Relaxation at Unguja
We stayed at Unguja after an afternoon walking tour of StoneTown which we think was long enough to take in the main sights and get a feel for the place. We liked it because everyone was getting on with their lives and not hanging around the tourists trying to sell them things. Even in the market there was a very soft selling approach which we really appreciated having been to Egypt earlier in the year where everyone is vocal in trying to get money from you all the time.
The only sour point was when we stopped for a drink with our guide Rashid at the Africa House Hotel, where we witnessed the manageress treating one of her waitresses very badly. We left having made it clear to her that we wouldn't support her hotel if she couldn't treat her staff professionally.
Unguja was great, I particularly loved the totally insect proof bedroom and mosquito net on the bed. The food was good and the facilities just what we wanted. We were after relaxation and we achieved that here. We went on a village walk which was really worthwhile and we saw and learned so much more than we would have done by wandering around on our own.
We appreciate the way that Ralph and Elies are supporting the local community which made this a more pleasurable stay for us. You are aware that this is their home as well as their business which makes you feel like their house guests, but meant that it felt too awkward to complain when their children and those of their friends were playing in the restaurant in the evening when we wanted grown-up time.
Overall a fantastic place to unwind and complete our memorable holiday.
Unguja Lodge review
A very relaxing place to chill out after all the safari activity, a lovely swimming pool surrounded by plants and trees, lots of shady areas to sit and read, and friendly hosts Elies and Ralph always available but unobtrusive. Our villa was beautiful - spacious and airy.
The food is gorgeous, lots of local seafood and plenty of choice. Early morning tea brought to our doorstep was very welcome, also being able to have a lie-in and a late breakfast). The Kizimkaze village trip was very interesting and well worth doing .
The beach has quite a lot of coral outcrop in amongst the sand, so water shoes are important if you want to go swimming.