Matemwe Beach Village

Matemwe Beach Village: Our full report

22 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (85%) From 13 reviews
June to March

Set amid coastal scrub and coconuts Matemwe Beach Village is on a palm-fringed, white sandy beach, on the north-east coast of Zanzibar. At the north end of the beach is Matemwe Lodge. The Mnemba atoll, which has some of the best diving in East Africa, is a short boat ride away, and the friendly village of Matemwe is just a few hundred metres up the beach to the north.

First impressions of Matemwe Beach Village are of a slightly unkempt property, very au naturel - there's no special gardening going on here. The large main central area is a relatively simple open-sided thatched space with a lounge and bar. The low-walled lounge is furnished with plenty of very low cushioned seats and tables, making it a great place to keep out of the heat of the sun.

The Beach Village’s bar offers local beers, cocktails and fresh juices, while the restaurant serves Zanzibari cuisine. The chef uses fresh products sourced from the local community and prepares a small menu that changes on a daily basis – it’s generally excellent.

The two pools at Matemwe Beach Village (one raised up and trickling into the lower pool) are surrounded by comfortable sunloungers, and there are plenty of areas to relax in the shade.

There are three different types of accommodation at Matemwe Beach Village:

  • 16 standard rooms (also called Kijiji Rooms) are simple, yet comfortable, and some have sea views. Eight of these rooms are right on the beach front, linked by soft, sandy paths. There are fans in all these rooms, but no air-conditioning in most of them, though those further back do have air conditioning.

  • Five spacious Shamba Suites are described by Matemwe Beach Village as ‘funky and romantic’, which is quite an accurate description. They're set back from the beach in a manyatta-like circle. These suites are good for couples and families, with a double bed and enough space for an additional single bed and a ‘baraza’ bed upstairs for smaller children. These suites are fitted with air conditioning and a ceiling fan. None of the rooms at Matemwe Beach Villlage have room safes.

  • The Asali Suite is specifically designed for honeymooners or romantic couples. Set right on the beachfront, it’s very spacious and entirely separate from the rest of the lodge. It even comes with a plunge pool and private beach – and has its own chef at a supplementary payment.

Matemwe Beach Village is a good choice for those hoping to dive or snorkel as it has its own five-star PADI-affiliated dive operation called One Ocean, with a nice, local boat. Non-divers may enjoy relaxing on the beach, swimming, taking a cruise in a dhow, or free reef walks at low tide.

Our view

Matemwe Beach Village is a simple lodge with a lovely beach location. It's not luxurious, but it's good-value, and has a very relaxed beach feel, with its ‘no shoes, no news’ motto capturing its laid-back style.


Location: East Coast Zanzibar, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: 3–4 days to properly relax and enjoy the atmosphere

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: Breakfast is served from 7.00am to 10.00am. The menu changes daily, but it usually includes fresh fruit and fruit juices, cereals, and cooked options like pancakes, eggs or bacon.

Lunch is served between 12.30pm and 3.30pm and includes dishes such as beef biriani, or the catch of the day.

For dinner, the focus is mainly on Zanzibar and Swahili cuisine. The menu is small, but it changes daily and includes options of fish, chicken and red meat (eg: grilled fillet of fish with passion fruit sauce, or chicken kebabs with a chilli garlic dressing). Vegetarian dishes are available on request.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are not included.

Further dining info: Room service at Matemwe Beach Village is available only in the honeymoon suite.

Special interests

Diving & snorkelling: Guided snorkelling and diving trips can easily be arranged at this very well run and long-established east coast favourite. The beautiful coral gardens and reef sections around Mnemba Island are easily accessible from Matemwe Lodge. More about Matemwe Lodge

See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Zanzibar


Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Matemwe Beach Village.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no specific age restrictions here.

Special activities & services: Childminding and babysitting can be done by housekeeping staff.

Equipment: Matemwe Beach Village has cots and highchairs available for guests.

Notes: The lodge’s five Shamba suites are spacious enough for an additional single bed and a ‘barazza’ bed for smaller children. However, please note that the staircases do not have a banister so are not recommended for very young children.


Power supply notes: There's a backup generator.

Communications: There is some cellphone reception, and free Wi-fi in the central areas.

TV & radio: There is no TV here.

Water supply: Transported in

Water supply notes: Government water supply is run to a large tank. Bottled water is provided to guests (half a litre per person per day).

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Matemwe Beach Village has a first-aid kit and some staff have done basic first-aid training. When the Fairmont is open, there is a doctor there 10-minutes' drive away, who also operates the island's only decompression chamber.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There are a number of guards who patrol the grounds at night.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the premises.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available at extra charge.

Money: Foreign exchange is not possible. There are no room safes, but there is one in the office for storing valuables.

Accepted payment on location: Matemwe Beach Village accepts major credit cards with a 5% surcharge. Cash payments may be made in Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, British pounds and euros.

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