Shooting Star Lodge

Shooting Star Lodge: Our full report

17 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (88%) From 30 reviews
Fine for all ages.
1 June to Easter

Shooting Star Lodge was built by an engaging and welcoming Tanzanian couple and stands on top of a coral cliff, with stunning views of the powdery-white Kiwengwa Beach. It attracts a real mix of characters, who usually come together around the bar area during the day and in the evening, resulting in a lovely social atmosphere.

The central lounge bar is the main hub area, with lots of brightly coloured cushion-covered booths to sit in on either side of a walk-way which leads to the pool. The bar is behind this area and people tend to congregate around here before and after dinner for a few drinks. Next to this is the dining area and further outdoor seating area with furniture constructed from coconut palm. You might want to challenge someone to the traditional Zanzibari game of bao on one of the lodge's boards. On one occasion, we ate out on the decking in the open air overlooking the pool, while others chose to sit under the thatch. The food was tasty, and the service was friendly.

In front of the dining area at Shooting Star Lodge is the beautiful horseshoe-shaped infinity pool. It can be difficult to get a spot on one of the loungers around here at busy times. However, there are plenty of loungers down on the white sandy beach itself if you prefer a slightly more private spot. When the tide is in it's lovely to swim in the ocean from here, and when it's out, the exposed reef is an interesting walk. There is also a small beach bar, the Starfish Bar, where you can get some drinks or enjoy a lunch. The beach at Shooting Star is located below a coral cliff, and can be accessed by a winding path leading down from the dining area - about a 5 minute walk from the rooms.

Shooting Star Lodge can arrange diving and snorkeling trips with the nearby PADI centre at Bluebay Beach Resort. On a previous visit we were collected from Shooting Star and dropped back in time for lunch after doing a double dive on the beautiful Mnemba atoll. Shooting Star can also offer a range of other activities, such a sunset dhow cruise around the coastline. Other resorts along the beach can offer catamaran and windsurfing hire and fishing trips (usually on a catch and release basis).

The rooms at the Shooting Star are nestled amidst the tropical trees and flowering plants, and are split in to four different categories:

  • Five Garden Suites are the most simple and basic room type. They are fairly small, and feel quite dark, however are clean and comfortable and dotted with colourful cushions and paintings which brightens up the room.
  • The Six Sea View Cottages being a bit more spacious and each has a shaded veranda with a pair of sun loungers.
  • The Four Family Sea View Cottages are similar in style to the normal Sea View Cottages, however they are located on the seafront cliff and have two bedrooms which happily accommodate up to four people.
  • There are also two private suites - the Kusi and Kaskazi Suites - these are quite special. Shooting Star also has two day rooms which are available for use free of charge.
The Shooting Star Spa is located slightly down from the pool, and offers a range of therapies, including massages, scrubs, facials, manicures and pedicures.

Our view

With only 17 rooms, Shooting Star is a small and personal lodge with a great atmosphere, helped by the friendly team who run it. It's a firm favourite with our travellers. The two resident dogs who live at the lodge are also very sociable creatures, so don't be surprised if you find them relaxing on your veranda.


Location: East Coast Zanzibar, Zanzibar

Ideal length of stay: We recommend spending 4 nights or longer to relax and enjoy Zanzibar’s east coast.

Directions: It takes around 35 minutes to fly to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it's a further one hour by car to Shooting Star Lodge.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Privately owned.

Staff: The managers are Elly and Christine.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: Breakfast at Shooting Star is served from 7:00 - 10am (although this is slightly flexible if you are going diving early). It consists of a variety of fresh fruit as well as toast and eggs cooked how you like them.

Lunch is served between 12:30 and 15:00, there is an a la carte menu consisting of a variety of international cuisine, featuring meals such as fresh fish dishes, pizzas and pasta. On our last visit in July 2017 we enjoyed a meal of roast chicken with home cooked chips and a seasonal salad.

Dinner is a 3-course meal, with a number of choices being offered for the starter and main. When we last visited in 2017 we started with crab soup, this was followed by either tuna steak served with vegetable rice, or a vegetarian option of roast peppers; for desert we enjoyed a platter of fresh tropical fruit. The food was good, although don’t expect haute cuisine. Generally the feedback we get from our travellers has been very positive – mentioning fresh produce, great afternoon tea and cakes, and excellent seafood.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are not included. Soft drinks are about $2.50, beer around $3.50 and a bottle wine averages $25 - $30.

Further dining info: Yes – though there are no phones in the rooms. Any room service will therefore need to be arranged in advance.

Special interests

Honeymoons: Shooting Star’s suites are ideal for a good-value Zanzibar honeymoon. With a private swimming pool, a rooftop bath and rooftop bed perfect for stargazing, it couldn’t be more romantic. The staff will make a great effort to spoil you and make your stay special.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Zanzibar

Wellbeing: The beach-side spa offers a variety of pampering treatments, with massages from $25, to full seaweed body wraps at $60. Pedicures, manicures and waxing treatments are also on offer.

See more ideas for Wellbeing in Zanzibar


Attitude towards children: Shooting Star welcomes children

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Shooting Star

Special activities & services: They will happily organise baby-sitting. Parents should simply tip the nanny, who is arranged through the housekeeping team. Shooting Star can create a child friendly menu on request.

Equipment: Cots and highchairs can be provided at Shooting Star

Notes: Shooting Star is a very friendly and welcoming place, which will happily cater to children. There is a lovely pool and stretch of beach for playing, though there are no special facilities or activities for children.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There are two backup generators.

Communications: Free Wi-fi is available in the public areas, and reaches some of the garden rooms.

TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Shooting Star

Water supply: Mains

Water supply notes: The 24-hour hot water supply is a bit brackish. The lodge remarked to us on our last visit in 2016 that the expensive desalination plants used at some lodges are effective but pump highly saline water back into the sea, which can damage the coral. Limited bottled water is supplied to guests (a half litre at breakfast and a half litre in the room).

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is an on-site first aid kit, and there is usually a doctor on call nearby (in one of the larger lodges) that Shooting Star Lodge can access in the case of a medical emergency. There is also a European pharmacy in a nearby village.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: 24-hour security guards are present on the beach and around the hotel. There is a lockable Zanzibari chest in each room, and valuables can be left in the safe at reception. 24 hour security guards

Fire safety: There are fire-extinguishers dotted around Shooting Star Lodge and smoke alarms in the rooms.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A fuull machine-washed laundry service is offered at an extra charge.

Money: Shooting Star cannot offer a currency exchange. There are lockable chests in the rooms, and also a safe in the office.

Accepted payment on location: The preferred form of payment at Shooting Star is cash, however you can also pay for any extra costs Visa, Mastercard or American Express. However there is a 5% charge for any card use.

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