Fumba Beach Lodge: Our full report
Fumba Beach Lodge first opened its doors in 2005, and offers plenty of style, character and creativity - ...... with a real feeling of space throughout the lodge. It is the perfect place for those seeking a bit of privacy as there are endless places to sit and relax both around the pool, the surrounding area and dotted along the beach.
Although Fumba has a capacity of 60 guests, when we last visited in 2016 there was a very quiet, relaxed feel to the place. The main central area has a great sunset bar made from an old African dhow - and is a popular place for people to gather together for a drink while watching the unobstructed view of the sunset before dinner. This can create quite a buzzy atmosphere, increased when bushbabies come to be fed pawpaw at about the same time.
The main bar and lounge area are in a large open sided thatched area with seats for lounging around the bar, and then an adjoining restaurant area with plenty of tables and chairs both inside and spilling out onto the large patio.
The kidney-shaped infinity pool is impressive, and has plenty of loungers and shady areas for relaxing and chilling.
There are four different categories of room at Fumba Beach Lodge, most of them grouped in pairs – 8 garden view rooms, 12 seaview rooms, 2 baobab suites (rooms #5 and #6, with huge beds) and 4 deluxe suites (with outside double showers and, again, huge beds). It's worth noting that even most of the garden view rooms have a little bit of a seaview, and rooms #7 and #8 interconnect. The feel of each of the rooms is similar, with day beds outside on the veranda and the suites have very impressive bathrooms. The garden view and the seaview rooms have slightly larger porches and the deluxe suites have roof terraces.
The massage centre, or Baobab Spa as it is known at Fumba, has an intriguing design built around a baobab tree and is surrounded by wooden rafters. Honeymoon couples may especially appreciate a double massage followed by a candlelit sunset Jacuzzi, or a champagne breakfast Jacuzzi - raised six meters up into the trees.
There is also an excellent on-site PADI dive centre with a Canadian instructor. You head out to the dive sites on a small dhow with an engine, which is a great traditional experience, and the sites they visit tend to be a lot quieter than those found on the east coast. When we last went diving with them we were the only divers at the dive site. There are plenty of good spots for diving and snorkelling. They also do kayak rental here.
However, although we think Fumba Beach is an excellent lodge, it is important to be aware that it does not have the perfect white sand that can be found on the east coast. Fumba is situated on a yellow-sand beach that is dotted with exposed coral rock. That said, it still has beautiful clear turquoise waters and its location on the west side of Zanzibar means it gets a great view of the sunset. Despite not having pristine white sand beaches, Fumba Beach Lodge does rather make up for this in the amount of wildlife around the area. Elephant shrews are regularly seen running through the undergrowth, with suni antelope and monkeys often making an appearance.
Fumba Beach Lodge is a stylish and well run property in a secluded part of Zanzibar. Although the beach here may not be the postcard-perfect style of white sand beach found elsewhere on the island, the lodge is a relaxing retreat and very much worth considering.
- South-west Zanzibar, Zanzibar
- Ideal length of stay
- Spend at least three days here to really relax and enjoy it. Or you can consider combining Fumba Beach Lodge with Unguja Lodge, spending three or four days in each and transfer by dhow between the two.
- It is about a 35-minute flight to Zanzibar from Dar es Salaam, and then it is a further 30 minutes south to Fumba. Fumba Beach Lodge is on the airport side of town, so it's a good lodge to end at if you're leaving on an early-morning flight from Zanzibar.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Half Board
- Food quality
- Fumba Beach Lodge is very relaxed about their meal timings and they will happily accommodate any dietary requirements. Breakfast is usually a variety of fruits and cereals as well as a full English breakfast.
Lunch can be chosen from an à la carte menu. On our last visit, choices ranged from gazpacho soup (one of seven starters) to catch of the day (barracuda), calamari, and more familiar choices such as burgers and club sandwiches.
Afternoon tea is offered at 4pm with cakes and biscuits.
Dinner is a more formal 4-course affair. On one recent visit, the dining took place in several areas around the lodge meaning it was a very private and romantic experience. It included shrimp, avocado, tomato and gouda cheese on zucchini, followed by French onion soup, then grilled pork chops, and finished with a delicious pineapple and cinnamon strudel with passion cream, finished off with a coffee.
The food was beautifully presented and really tasty. Once a week they have a Swahili night with a buffet.
- Diving & snorkelling
- Fumba Beach Lodge operates a good PADI dive centre. Though the diving from Fumba is less spectacular than the best of the East Coast; the corals here are beautiful and in better condition. There aren’t as many fish, but it is a blissful experience.
- See ideas for Diving & snorkelling
- At Fumba the Baobab Spa is well-stocked with beauty products. On the roof there are comfy sofas and more treatment tables. The highlight, a Jacuzzi built on a decking in the higher branches of the tree, is a lovely place to relax.
- See ideas for Wellbeing
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Fumba Beach Lodge.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions at Fumba Beach Lodge.
- Special activities & services
- Fumba Beach lodge can offer babysitting. (No charge for this, but a tip for the sitter is expected).
- Beautiful Zanzibar cots are available on request.
- Generally recommended for children
- We would recommend Fumba Beach Lodge for children.
- On one of our recent visits, there were a few families with children staying at Fumba Beach Lodge. They particularly enjoyed the pool. The lodge's team was very good, organizing lots of activities – from snorkeling to dolphin-watching, to help keep the children entertained.
- Power supply notes
- There is 24 hour electricity and guests can charge batteries in their rooms.
- There is a free Wi-Fi area behind the restaurant. There is also intermittent cell-phone reception in the area.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV or radio at Fumba Beach Lodge.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- The tap water should not be drunk - bottled water is supplied.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There are trained first aiders who live on site at the dive centre. The nearest doctor is in Stone Town, which is about 30 minutes by car.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- Fumba Beach Lodge has a closed gate and security guards.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers dotted around the main areas of Fumba Beach Lodge. Each room has fire drill instructions.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- The laundry is an extra charge and when we were last there it was around US$3 - 6 per item.
- Fumba Beach Lodge will happily exchange US dollars, pounds and euros.
- Accepted payment on location
- You can pay for any extras in US dollars, British pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings cash, though they prefer to keep payments cashless. Visa, MasterCard and Amex are accepted and all charges are absorbed, there is no surcharge for using a card.
Room types at Fumba Beach Lodge
The Baobab Suites are the pièce de resistance at Fumba Beach Lodge! The bedrooms are not that dissimilar to the Luxury Suites, however the outdoor bathrooms are designed and built around a baobab tree and are simply fantastic.
The bedrooms are cool and stylish, with highly polished stone floors and white washed-walls. A large king-sized bed sits in the centre of the room covered in a brightly coloured throw and some scattered cushions. A mosquito net hangs from above and situated behind the bed is a large built-in wardrobe.
Each of the Baobab Suites has large, shuttered terrace doors which lead onto a wooden deck. This is furnished with a comfortable sofa and has private stairs leading straight down to the beach – when the tide is high, the sea literally laps at the bottom of the stairs!
The outdoor en-suite bathroom is reached through a second set of shuttered terrace doors and is built on wooden decking around the trunk of a baobab tree. It has an open-air hot-and-cold shower, a large stone bath and a single washbasin. The toilet is discretely tucked away behind a stone wall.
These bathrooms are amongst the most unusual and stylish we have seen on Zanzibar – and what a pleasure to have a shower outdoors.
There are 20 Deluxe Rooms at Fumba Beach Lodge, which are all exactly the same in size and style. Most occupy a free-standing cottage, though six are housed in three semi-detached cottages with interconnecting doors – perfect for families.
The rooms also differ slightly, in that some are set slightly back from the sea front. However, clever planning means that every room still has a sea view.
All of the rooms are extremely spacious with cool white-washed walls and polished stone floors. Huge, louvered sliding doors open up onto a private patio where you will find a few comfortable lounge chairs – the perfect place to relax in peace and quiet.
Inside is a canopied king-size bed with a huge mosquito net, adorned with brightly-coloured throws made from kikoi material. Each room has a fan, as well as plenty of space for hanging clothes in an open wardrobe. The wardrobe also contains a safe and lockup box.
The en-suite bathroom is small, yet it is spotlessly clean and has polished stone floors and brightly painted walls, giving it a warm feel. There is a hot-and-cold shower, sink and toilet.
The Luxury Suites at Fumba Beach Lodge are similar in style to the Deluxe Rooms, though quite a bit larger. They each have a very large bathroom, with double outside shower and inside bath with a view, and a large private deck and a roof terrace.
The bedrooms of the suites are very spacious, with lovely polished stone floors and white-washed walls. Each room has a king-sized bed above which hangs mosquito netting and a fan. The beds are covered in brightly-colored throws and cushions, and each day a clean folded dressing gown made from a traditional kanga is placed at the end.
The room is furnished with an enormous built-in wardrobe behind the bed, where there is plenty of space for storing clothes, as well as a lounging chair and a writing desk. Little touches such as sweet-smelling cinnamon sticks on the desk, and a traditional Zanzibari fable left on our beds each night for bedtime reading, add a lovely, relaxing atmosphere to these rooms.
Through large sliding doors is the private wooden decking with great views out over the ocean and a comfortable hammock hanging in the shade. The rooms are fairly close together, but for a bit more privacy, round to the side of the suite, a set of stairs leads up to a small roof terrace. Here you will find an even better view, comfortable sofas, brightly-coloured flowers and plenty of shade for the heat of the day. Alternatively just head down to the beach in front of the room and relax on one of the many loungers dotted along there.
The large and beautiful en-suite bathroom sits behind wooden sliding doors. There is a wonderful stone bath which sits in front of a large picture-window which opens out to views across the sea. His-and-hers sinks are set in a carved wooden ledge in front of a large Zanzibari mirror. Whilst the little things, such as a charming natural mobile above the bath made from corals and shells, complete the finishing touches. Outside through a further sliding door, surrounded by bamboo canes and vegetation for privacy, is a double rainfall shower, with some simple toiletries provided.
Other lodges in South-west Zanzibar
Alternative places to stay in this same area.