After a short boat ride you will arrive at Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island...
Fundu Lagoon: Our full report
The rural island of Pemba is one of Zanzibar's close neighbors, and in comparison it sees very little tourism. As a result, it is relatively untouched. Fundu Lagoon is a beautiful and peaceful beach lodge on west side of the island.
To reach Fundu Lagoon, you first journey by car from Pemba's airport. Then you hop aboard a boat for around 15 minutes until you reach the jetty of Fundu. Walking down the jetty gives you a wonderful panoramic view of the lodge, with all of the rooms discretely tucked into lush tropical greenery. Stop at the jetty bar for a drink and an introduction to Fundu Lagoon, before being given quick tour and shown to your room.
Sandy paths and wooden walkways lead through Fundu's tropical gardens to the various parts of the lodge. The main dining and lounge area is set slightly above the beach on a wooden deck and is housed under a high thatched roof. Natural fabrics and wicker furniture add to the natural and rustic style – Fundu feels very in keeping with its surroundings.
The rooms at Fundu Lagoon vary in size and category – but all share very similar features. All are large walk-in tents set on wooden decks, with a verandah, small lounge area and en-suite bathroom. The dark wooden floors, huge bed and crisp cotton sheets mean that the rooms feel stylish and comfortable, reminiscent of a tented safari lodge. Yet the canvas walls also add a rustic feel to the room, the end result is a cosy room that has character and comfort rather than luxury. (Read more about the Standard Rooms, Suites and Superior Suites at Fundu.)
Fundu has a variety of activities on offer, including a lovely cultural experience with the friendly people of Pemba. With a guide you can head up into the nearby village, with whom Fundu Lagoon has an excellent relationship with. The trips are complementary and travellers are always made to feel very welcome – it is a memorable experience. Fundu lagoon is heavily involved with the local community; they support a local vegetable farm, a chicken farm, they also help fund a school that has 400 pupils and there are plans to open a pharmacy that will provide vital medical supplies. Quite a number of Fundu's team come from the local village and it’s great to see tourism directly benefitting the local community.
There is also a fully equipped PADI gold dive centre at Fundu Lagoon which leads daily dives around various sites in the Pemba Channel and around Mesali Island. The diving here is very good, though the conditions can occasionally be quite challenging. This is an area best suited to already qualified divers. Travellers should also note that the diving at Fundu is quite costly, at around $75 per dive. For those wanting to do a lot of diving it is worth considering one of the lodges on Mafia Island – which all offer great diving at a much more reasonable cost.
Fundu Lagoon has a variety of areas where you can relax – all of which have views out over the sea. The beach at Fundu isn’t a perfect white beach, like the postcards of east coast Zanzibar – but it is very quiet, has loungers set out on it daily, and has plenty of space for guests to relax in privacy.
Fundu Lagoon has a large jetty bar, part way along the jetty and hovering out over the sea, which has open sides. In the evenings it’s a great place to watch the sunset over the sea – whilst enjoying one of the house cocktails.
The main bar and lounge is in a large open plan thatch banda – with tall coconut-wood bar stools. It is often sociable and friendly before dinner, and can become quite lively at times. The managers and dive team are usually around to chat with the guests in the evenings.
Set a little way up the hill, up a number of stairs, is the infinity pool and Fundu Lagoon’s third bar. The pool is high above the beach and has fantastic views out across the sea. Around the pool is a broad open deck which is dotted with loungers and shaded umbrellas. Just behind the swimming pool is the pool bar – a jaunty open-sided wooden bar painted a vibrant orange and red.
Adjacent to the pool bar is the spa – this offers pedicures and manicures plus a variety of massage treatments. These cost somewhere between $20-60, depending on the treatment.
One of Expert Africa's team lived on a nearby Pemba beach for four months – whilst doing marine research. The beach at Fundu is typical of beaches in this part of Pemba or, indeed, of any island fringed by mangroves – in that it is quite a 'wild' beach, lined by vegetation, and the sand is white and quite fine. Like many natural island things, the beach changes with cycles in the winds and tides. On one day, you'll find pristine white sand and turquoise waters; on the next the beach is dotted with natural flotsam and jetsam and the water clarity has gone.
Our viewFundu Lagoon has a reputation as a honeymoon destination. Fundu's location is romantic and its atmosphere fun; whenever we have visited in recent years (our latest visit was June 2014), we have noted that the majority of guests are, indeed, young couples on honeymoon. Despite this, a stay at Fundu is very sociable. After sharing activities during the day, most guests end up chatting at the bar before dinner.
Ideal length of stay: At least four nights or more if you like lounging around on a tropical island.
Directions: It takes about one hour and forty five minutes to reach Fundu Lagoon once you have landed at Pemba’s airport. You need to drive for 26km along good roads until you reach the port of Mkwoani. There you get on a boat which will take you round to Fundu Lagoon
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Fundu is one of the stand out features - it really is very good. As much of it as possible is bought from local farmers. It is international-style cuisine, often with a Zanzibari twist, and there is always plenty of fresh seafood on offer.
Each meal usually has a few options to choose from, which are listed on a chalk-board by the entrance to the dining area. A waiter will ask for your choice as you enter the restaurant and then this will be served to your table.
Breakfast is a continental buffet and usually consists of a variety of fresh fruits, cereals and yoghurt, and home-baked sweet bread. There is also the choice of a cooked breakfast as well.
Lunch also has a number of options to choose from and is a light two-course affair. When we were last there, there was a salad starter and a ‘fundu basket’ for main course which included prawns, calamari, deep fried snapper and chips. There was also a heavier pasta option for those with more of an appetite. Lunchtime is generally quite flexible and for those heading out on a day trip – a delicious (and huge) packed lunch will be provided with a variety of salads and cold meats.
Dinner is a slightly more formal affair with a fantastic three-course meal served to your table. Guests generally congregate around the bar for a few drinks and then slowly head to their table when they are ready. On our latest visit in July 2014, we enjoyed carpaccio of beef to start, followed by rock lobster and roast potatoes – it was delicious! Every week guests will also be able to experience a Swahili night, with traditional dishes being served. Then weather permitting, there is also a very atmospheric beach barbeque. A large table is set out on the beach with storm lanterns for lighting, and a variety of barbequed meat and fish is served. On this occasion the guests will often dine together as though they were at a dinner party.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included – except for premium branded spirits, wines and champagne.
Further dining info: No
Honeymoons: Fundu Lagoon is popular with young honeymooners – they always try hard to make you feel spoilt and special. It's fairly unusual in being a lodge where honeymooners mix with each other – so often has a fun, social atmosphere. It’s a perfect destination for a Tanzania honeymoon.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Beach holidays: Fundu Lagoon organizes exciting day-trips by boat to the beautiful beaches of Misali Island, which are some of the best beaches found on and around Tanzania’s Pemba Island. You can scuba here, snorkel, or just relax and enjoy a great beach holiday.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Tanzania
Diving & snorkelling: The diving around Pemba is arguably some of the best diving off the coast of Tanzania. The Pemba Channel has some extremely challenging drift dives and is a great place to see some of the larger pelagic fish. The reefs around Mesali Island, just off Pemba, are also fantastic – if a little more gentle.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children who are over the age of 12 years are welcomed.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be over the age of 12 to stay at Fundu Lagoon
Special activities & services: No
Generally recommended for children: No
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Power supply notes: There is 24 hour electricity and european 3 pin style plugs in all of the rooms.
Communications: There is intermittent mobile phone reception, and free Wifi in the main area.
TV & radio: There is a small TV room with a satellite TV which was particularly useful during the football World cup in 2014!
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The dive centre has three staff members that are fully trained in first aid; every head of department is also first aid trained. Fundu Lagoon has a comprehensive fist aid box and for serious cases there is a doctor in Mkwoani.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: There are lock-boxes in all of the rooms. There are six askaris around Fundu during the day, and twelve at night. Two police also guard Fundu, and there is a fence around the lodge for added security.
Fire safety: There are 30 small fire-extinguishers and 6 large ones around the lodge – these are checked twice a year.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Included
Money: Fundu Lagoon can do cash-back from your card - $50 or equivalent in shillings is fine. For cash - small amounts can be exchanged.
Accepted payment on location: At Fundu Lagoon you can settle your bill for extras using cash (British pounds, US dollars, euros or Tanzanian shillings) or credit cards - Mastercard or Visa are accepted, though there is a 6% charge for this.