Reviews of Unguja Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Second visit for us
We first stayed here 2 years ago and returned because we thought it was like paradise! Sadly not so any longer. On a very positive note though the food has improved 100%.
We arrived by taxi and waited for somebody to meet us and escort us in. Sadly we were half way down to reception when this happened.
The lodge is looking very tired and in need of some money being spent on it. The pool which was once so inviting, looks dirty but it is actually the liner that needs a coat of paint to bring it back. Our room needed some walls refreshed as there was what we think bat excretement down the walls, also the covers of the directors chairs on the patio needed washing or even replacing. In the main lodge all the chair cushions and scatter cushions needed washing, along with the place mats on the dining tables. It would not take much to bring it back up to scratch in line with the top rates paid for this accommodation.
On a positive note though they have employed chef Elizabeth who is certainly a big asset to the lodge. The breakfasts were certainly more impressive and the main meals were flavoursome. Her peppered crab claws were delicious.
We understand from Martin, the Manager that the lodge is no longer in the sole ownership of the couple who built it, they now only have minimal shares in the property, maybe this reflects the slide downhill?
All the above said, we still enjoyed our stay, it is a beautifully situated lodge with a huge warm bath right on its doorstep just reached by a few steps. It is certainly a place to unwind. Would we return? Probably not!
Excellent with Marten being an excellent host and was very quick to assist with a minor difficulty.
The chalets were interesting with stunning views of the sea. The food was excellent.
The monkeys meant that you had to be a little more vigilant and this could be distracting for some guests perhaps.
The staff were very pleasant and helpful.
Unguja Lodge. S.W Zanzibar coast
Wonderful lodge accommodation and fine dining.
They gave us a truly memorable New Year's Eve party!
Excellent access to the airport and Jozani forest minimizing transfer times.
Wonderful Sunset Dhow sail and excursion by dhow to sand bar for lunch via snorkeling site.
The only downside is that the fringing reef is so degraded by over fishing that the diving was disappointing. Not their fault, just how it is.
Unguja Lodge - good birdwatching
I had a very enjoyable stay at Unguja Lodge. The grounds were good for watching birds, lizards, elephant shrews, monkeys, a red colobus monkey, and hearing rock hyraxes. I was accompanied on my walks round the grounds to watch birds by one of the security guards, who was a good spotter and charming companion. These included plenty of sparrows, some sunbirds, golden weavers, yellow-rumped tinkerbird, lilac-breasted roller, bulbuls, and a fabulous mangrove kingfisher which dived into the swimming pool and perched on a tree above.
On the beach wading in the pools at low tide were a whimbrel, crab plover, greater sandplovers, dimorphic egrets, sanderlings.
I had two snorkelling trips, one to Nici reef (excellent) and the other to Kizidi reef (good).
I also went on a Spice Tour, which was very interesting and informative.
My now favorite beach resort in the world
I picked this resort because of it's small number of rooms and it's proximity to good snorkeling. I am not a diver but enjoy snorkeling. This was a very good choice.
The food was excellent right out of the ocean. The staff was friendly and helpful. The trip to the neighboring village was not to miss as it was extremely educational. We were warned about the monkey's stealth but didn't heed and therefore lost part of our morning snack.
We could watch the dolphins frolic from the resort's chaises while other vacationers had to come by boats from far away resorts. It was just beautiful and peaceful. I did suggest to the management though that they can the Mozart at breakfast and get some Tanzanian music for dinner....or better yet just listen to the waves.
Unguja Lodge review
amazing location : nice landscape, well preserved environment
very nice set up
perfect location for a complete and relaxing break
nice dives to see pretty unique macro sea life
TOO BIGGER GAP FROM PREVIOUS ACC.
A breakdown in communication between you and us, as this is far too bigger drop from previous accommodation.
First impressions - damp smell, especially in luggage room.
Generally tired cushions and soft furnishings.
Garden outside seaview accommodation had not bee cleared and generally around rooms as cut back and left - loads of brown leaves and general tidy up not being done.
New manager, Martien apparently the Dutch couple mentioned again in your hotel information no longer go there- they've gone home to Netherlands, although one son was there as he's schooling in Arusha.
Far too remote, nowhere to walk to apart from a litter strewn village. Although I knew it was quiet, this was far to run down and alone - felt imprisoned. In the time we were there 4 people came for 2 nights - other than that it was empty. Taxi trips everywhere if you wanted trips. I don't think the windy weather helped, as it prevented snorkelling, but even so, we'd have not done that everyday.
Expert Africa comments
Zanzibar has high levels of humidity, so keeping all of the rooms completely dry is a challenge. Unguja have assured me that this isn’t an issue that’s raised often. However, following these comments they are now trialling keeping the ceiling fans on during the day to create more air movement in the rooms.
Unguja are working on improving their soft furnishings at time of writing.
Paths are cleaned twice a day, but strong winds make it difficult to keep them clean all of the time. The natural environment is very much part of the beauty and charm of Unguja Lodge – and it attracts wildlife to the gardens as a result.
From our discussions we understood that these travellers wanted to go to quiet, un-touristy areas and we're sorry if we misjudged this. There is not much within walking distance of Unguja Lodge - it is really off the beaten track.
Sadly waste disposal is a huge issue throughout the whole of Zanzibar; it is not a just a problem around Unguja. Zanzibar is a very poor island, with poor governance – and very limited public services, like rubbish collection.
Unguja lodge Zanzibar
Lovely peaceful and chilled out lodge. The location is stunning with views of the sea and beach. Our villa looked straight onto it. The villa was wonderful. Lots of space outside our room to sit and enjoy the scenery. As we noted in our feedback to Unguja, they could make the actual bedrooms a little more cozy with say rugs, pictures etc. It was a bit bare.
There were nice touches like lending us a beach bag and Khangas to wear.
Staff were friendly and helpful. Sophia was very organised and made sure all her guests were enjoying themselves. The boat and diving team were great too.
A Special Place
We found Unguja's location and ambiance to be absolutely charming. Our villa was spacious and accommodated our family very comfortably.
The staff was friendly and always helpful.
Landing at Zanzibar airport, we were driven south past the Jozani Forest, the endemic home to the red colobus monkey, and on to Kizimkazi, a fishing village near the tip of Zanzibar. The driver turned onto a dirt two track road and I could not help but to believe he was lost. Then shortly we pulled up to an unassuming gate and were allowed to pass onto the Unguja Lodge property. A beautiful, giant baobab tree guarded the views as we unloaded from the car, but our jaws dropped as we entered reception. The dining area and bar, a shaded patio lounge, a lovely swimming pool, and well-manicured landscaping were back dropped by the turquoise waters of Menai Bay Conservation Area. Absolutely stunning!
We took full advantage of the water based activities – a sunset sail aboard a dhow, diving in the nearby coral reefs, and snorkeling with the bottlenose dolphin. Some reviews have argued that the snorkelers are stressing the dolphins, but my observations did not support this. The dolphin we observed could easily swim off, which he eventually did, but only after hanging out for 30 minutes playing with a sea snake that he had caught.
The villas at Unguja Lodge are open with great views and well-spaced for privacy. The rooms are unconventional and simple, but a little dark for my taste. We opted to spend our downtime around the pool and the lounge rather than in our villas. The hospitality was wonderful, as was the food.