Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island Lodge: Our full report

10 beachfront chalets
Traveller's rating
Excellent (97%) From 7 reviews
1 June to 31 March

The term 'barefoot luxury' might have been coined for Mnemba, a private, previously uninhabited island about 5km from the east coast of Zanzibar. At its centre is a tropical forest, home to nothing more dangerous than cute, spaniel-sized suni antelope and butterflies.

The island's circular perimeter is about a kilometre of soft, powder-white coral sand - perfect for an hour's romantic stroll. Turtles nest on the beach, subtle markers noting when guests can expect to discover the young hatchlings. Beyond the pristine beaches lies turquoise sea and some of Tanzania's best coral reefs. (It's often referred to as Mnemba Atoll, although this isn't technically correct as it's not at atoll, and in any case the reefs around it extend much further than they would if it were a coral atoll.)

Mnemba Island Lodge (formerly Mnemba Island Club!) is the height of exclusivity. Ten very private bandas, made of hand-woven coconut palm and local timber overlook the beach from the forest's edge. These are large, airy and open-plan, but expect to find a few crabs scuttling across the immaculate mkeka-mat floors. Furnished simply, but very tastefully, each banda has a huge bed, wooden furniture, and lots of comfortable sofas. A palm-covered walkway leads to a stylish timber and glass en-suite bathroom; showers are used to moderate the island's fresh water consumption.

Mnemba's cuisine is predictably excellent, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the flexibility to cater for individual needs exceedingly well. Candlelit dinners on the beach are the norm and fresh seafood commonly features on the menu.

There's a first-class dive centre on the island and (for qualified divers) up to two dives per day are included in the cost of your stay. Other activities include snorkelling, kayaking, fly-fishing, dhow cruises and windsurfing; it has the facilities of a top beach club.

Mnemba is not cheap (prices start at around £300 per person per night), but with lots of space, first-rate service, and one of the best beach locations in Africa, it is very, very good.

Our view

There's nowhere we know of that's quite like Mnemba. That said, if you're looking for a top-end destination for a super beach holiday in an exclusive setting, then you should be aware of the possibilities in northern Mozambique, the Quirimbas Archipelago. There you'll also find private islands with stunning beaches and pristine marine life, and they're also accessible from Dar es Salaam.

However their service standards generally don't yet match those of Mnemba's polished and experienced team, but you're going for the raw material of the islands themselves - which are often just as pristine and remarkable as Mnemba.


Location: East Coast Zanzibar, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: At least 4 nights - but most stay longer.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Drinks included: Yes - all tea, coffeee, soft drinks, house wines, local spirits and local beers.

Further dining info: Yes

Special interests

Honeymoons: The ultimate Zanzibar honeymoon beach retreat: a tiny, pristine, private island with superb accommodation and excellent food and service. Enjoy strolls around the island, spectacular snorkeling and romantic dhow cruises. It’s a romantic, exclusive and luxurious paradise.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar

Beach holidays: Mnemba is the ultimate in remote, exclusive beach retreat. It's a simple, relaxing and laid-back, with a very high quality that's delightfully understated. It is costly, but you it will be one of your best beach holidays!

See more ideas for Beach holidays in Zanzibar

Diving & snorkelling: Mnemba Island is surrounded by one of Zanzibar's best coral reefs. Most lodges in northern Zanzibar will come here for their trips to snorkel and dive. However, whilst staying at Mnemba Island Lodge, you'll have the very best, easiest access to this huge, spectacular reef – just step of the shore! Mnemba naturally also has a first-class dive centre and up to 2 dives per day are included in the cost of your stay.

See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Zanzibar


Notes: Children are welcome, but there's usually a limit on the number of children on the island at any one time. Unless, of course, you book the whole island...


Power supply: Generator

Communications: There is some mobile phone receoption on the island, and a broadband WiFi signal is usually available.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Dangerous animals: Low Risk


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included