Ras Kutani is a serene beach lodge set between a creek and the ocean.
Ras Kutani: Our full report
Ras Kutani is situated on a quiet stretch of white beach south of Dar es Salaam, tucked in amongst lush tropical vegetation on a wild stretch of coastline. To get there you'll be rowed across the calm waters of a lagoon. Rustic yet stylish, it aims to have the feel of a safari lodge on the beach, rather than a resort. In this sense, it is very much in keeping with Ras Kutani's sister camps, Siwandu in the Selous Game Reserve and Jongomero in Ruaha National Park.
Ras Kutani has nine spacious, reed-and-thatch cottages, four new, larger suites and a family house. The cottages sit along the lagoon, or face out to sea. Paths of deep, soft, white sand link the various areas of the lodge to the rooms - a pleasure to walk through in bare feet, but admittedly a little tiring to reach the more distant cottages.
The restaurant, lounge and well-stocked bar at Ras Kutani share a large open-sided thatch structure, with makuti mats on the floor. The adjacent bar and lounge have plenty of low sofas, with an abundance of cushions, set around a solid coffee table made from reclaimed dhow wood. Here you can find a selection of games including the traditional Tanzanian bao. Ask the staff and they will happily show you how to play. The dining area extends onto a patio with umbrella-shaded tables overlooking the sea: a lovely spot for a cool drink.
Ras Kutani has a pretty swimming pool surrounded by shaded sun loungers and a great spot to come and relax with a good book. Next to the pool you can find a second lounge area with further soft seating and this is the lodge's main Wifi spot.
Nothing here is over-the-top, yet – with open sides around the main areas, polished stone floors, makuti thatch roofs and sandy paths – Ras Kutani is clearly a high-quality lodge. We were particularly impressed on our latest visit to Ras Kutani in 2016 when we met a professional sommelier who was training the bar staff. They were being educated on the correct way to serve wine, as well as getting in-depth knowledge about the wine on the menu. It's this attention to detail and constant effort to improve standards that make Ras Kutani such a high-quality beach lodge.
Ras Kutani has a shop with a small range of curios and some toiletries for sale, and a handy book exchange. There is also a massage room (open 10am to 4pm) where, when we visited in September 2016, an hour's soothing massage cost US$45.
Most guests spend their days at Ras Kutani relaxing on the beach, where someone will set up some shade for you. You can borrow kayaking and snorkelling gear to explore an 80-year-old shipwreck off the beach. Snorkellers should note that otherwise it's mostly sand, with very little in the way of coral. Other activities include gentle canoeing in the lagoon, and exploring the forest where you have the chance of seeing black and white colobus monkeys. You can also arrange a guided walk through the local village.
Our viewIt's rare that a beach lodge such as Ras Kutani (rustic, lots of wood) is so smart and well tended. This is a beautiful lodge that obviously gets plenty of visitors, and it's an ideal place for pure rest and relaxation at the start or end of your trip. Not only is it a stylish place to stay, and we love the suites in particular, but what struck us most when we stayed was the staff. One of the most attentive teams that we have come across in Tanzania, they were not only polite and friendly, but also very observant – the moment you finished a glass of water they were there to refill it. However, they never felt intrusive – it was the perfect balance.
Ideal length of stay: 3–4 nights is probably long enough to spend at Ras Kutani as activities are limited; we suggest it for a few days of relaxation before or after a safari.
Directions: Ras Kutani is a 15-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, or a 1-2-hour drive depending on where you start. If you come by air, you'll land on north side of the river and then take a small boat across the creek to the lodge.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Selous Safari Company
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Ras Kutani in September 2016 the food was excellent: fresh, tasty and imaginative. Plenty of seafood is incorporated into the menus, but there are always tasty alternatives.
For breakfast you could choose from fresh fruit, cereals and bread, or indulge in a full cooked breakfast. If you have to leave very early to fly on to your next destination, tea, coffee and biscuits will be brought to your room on request.
Lunch is a light, two-course affair. A buffet-style main course, including an excellent mix of salads, pastas and cold meats. When we last visited we enjoyed roast aubergine in a rich tomato sauce with a selection of fresh salads and on another lunch we had little fish cakes, roast potatoes, green beans and olives, and a tomato and avocado salad. There was lemon meringue hot from the oven for those with room left.
In the evening you will gather around the bar for pre-dinner drinks before being taken to individual tables for dinner. Several nights of the week they have themed barbecues. We were served tempura vegetables with a sweet chilli sauce, followed by a seafood platter served with fresh vegetables and followed up by a passion fruit cheese cake.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. A beer or glass of wine costs around US$5.
Further dining info: The suites come with a well stocked minibar, however there is no butler service.
Honeymoons: The team at Ras Kutani are amongst the most attentive that we have come across, led by incredibly thoughtful management. We are sure that any couple on honeymoon to Tanzania would be made to feel extra special and treated very well at this romantic and luxurious beach retreat.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Beach holidays: Ras Kutani is a beautiful white beach only a few hours south of Dar es Salaam - making it ideally located for a few days of relaxing at the beginning or end of your holiday, no matter if you are going to do some game viewing or experience some more of Tanzania’s best beaches.See more ideas for Beach holidays in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 6 years are welcome at Ras Kutani.
Property’s age restrictions: No children under the age of 6 years.
Special activities & services: There is no special services for children.
Equipment: Ras Kutani have no special equipment
Generally recommended for children: Ras Kutani is very quiet and popular with honeymooners, so is not suitable for very young children. It is possible that children will get bored, and that parents might feel uncomfortable having children there.
Power supply notes: There is 24 hour electricity in all the rooms sourced by solar panels and generator, and the usual, UK-style 3-pin sockets. Guests can only use hairdryers when the generator is on.
Communications: There is cellphone reception at Ras Kutani, and there is also free Wifi in the pool area.
TV & radio: No
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Although the tap water is clean, and it's fresh water and not briny, we recommend only drinking the bottled water provided.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All the staff at Ras Kutani are first aid trained and there is a safety watchman on the beach for water activities. For serious medical cases, guests would need to transfer to Dar es Salaam: a 15-minute flight or two-hour drive.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Ras Kutani is fenced on the landward side and there are guards on the beach in the evenings. There is a safe in each room for valuables – though theft is rarely a problem here.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included but for cultural reasons ladies' underwear cannot be accepted.
Money: There is no currency exchange available at Ras Kutani.
Accepted payment on location: Ras Kutani accepts cash in the form of US dollars, Tanzanian shillings, GB pounds and euros. They also accept credit cards – please note that there is a 5% surcharge for this.