Reviews of Unguja Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Peaceful Relaxing Unguja Lodge
We enjoyed 4 very relaxing days here after being in Selous on safari. It is owned and run by the delightful Elise and Ralph who are so welcoming and involved in the day to day running of the lodge. They have a great team who work for them.
There is a dive centre on site which we made good use of - snorkelling , day sailing on a dhow out to a tiny island ( sand spit really !) for lunch and great snorkelling. The visit to the local village was a fascinating insight into real life on Zanzibar .
This lodge was a welcome beach break at the end of our safari. The cabins, pool and dining area were comfortable and the staff went to great lengths to ensure our comfort and security. Our cabin was open air, with monkeys visiting frequently so it had a tropical feel.
Our use of the beach was limited to walks, due to the presence of sea urchins in the water, but we enjoyed the pool, especially our niece. Although there were other guests at the lodge, we had it to ourselves the whole time. We wanted to snorkel but were put off by some small jellyfish.
The food was simple and good. The view from our room was lovely. My husband went on the village tour and loved it -- we all went to The Rock restaurant which is not to be missed.
Beautiful bright well cared for and relaxing
We wished we had stayed here longer, and come straight from Safari without going to Mafia. Very relaxing and lovely friendly staff. enjoyed the wildlife especially the colombos and blue monkeys sharing our place with us. Watch out in the morning! they steal your tea and biscuits!
Owners very hands on and activities organised from Dive Centre very varied, if not a little pricey. Enjoyed learning to dive with Nick and snorkelling over coral reefs
Unguja Lodge review
Wonderful location. Excellent for a couple of days to unwind and relax - a long way from anywhere else.
They also had the allergy advice but the waiter was overruled by the chef when he gave him my order for plain chicken skewers and plain rice and served me chicken and green pepper skewers, with rice and mixed peppers served in half a green pepper!!!!!!!! Male owner came across and thought it was funny - when I was a bit upset and annoyed he just laughed and said 'These things happen' , but they shouldn't and needn't have happened. Ellese(?) was most upset the following day and gave assurances that it would not happen again and didn't understand how or why the chef had contradicted or ignored my request for plain/ non-pepper food.
Everything else, including future meals, was lovely and very enjoyable.
Average is probably a little unfair as we did have a lovely time at Unguja but there were just a few things which spoilt things. The most important being the food. We felt that there might have been more than one chef in charge as the quality was incosistent to say the least. Breakfast was mostly good, although some days eggs were hard and bacon was fatty and undercooked but ok. we did not eat the set 3 course lunch but the a la carte menu was okay. Dinner was the low point of the day and whilst they say 3 choices of main course, it would be chicken in coconut sauce with rice, pork with coconut sauce with rice or vegetables in coconut sauce with rice!
Of the 6 nights there was only one where we thought the main course was good and that was when we asked for the tuna to be rare. It came pretty much medium but every other fish was overcooked and chewy. The tuna ceviche and crab starters were also good. There were one or two nights - the green curry comes to mind which were really not good at all. Desserts poor, starters mixed. Overall disappointing especially as there were not any alternative to dine out for a change.
Elsewhere, the pool area was lovely, would not recommend taking young children there given the main clientel are older or honeymooners. The bandas were fairly basic but grew on us and were functional. The diving/water activity staff were very good and very nice and were great with the children.
Unguja Lodge review
A perfect venue for us after 10 days on safari – a great transition between bush and real world.
Our villa was wonderful. The design was amazing, open to the sea but private too. We loved sitting on our terrace right above the sea, watching the sun set, hearing the waves at night. We also enjoyed relaxing by the pool and taking walks on beach when the tide was out. A real piece of paradise. We were bitten by insects quite a lot despite using repellent but this was a very small price to pay.
All of the staff were very friendly and attentive and we enjoyed some great meals.
The village walk around Kizimkazi with Rashid-Ali was very informative and is well worth doing. We also had a fun trip to the spice farm before going on to Stone Town, where we did the walking tour. Again, this was very enjoyable and gave us a real insight into the history of Stone Town and Zanzibar. We also had a great time on the dhow sunset cruise.
Having so many monkeys in and around the villa was a real treat!
A very relaxing and beautiful location, one we hope to return to soon!
Unguja Lodge review
A bit further from airport than anticipated. It took us over 4 hours to get there from Jongomero, so a tedious journey
Dhow trip exciting
kayaks not available, though offered in brochure
Interesting trip to Jozani Forest
wish we'd done the dolphin trip as other guests said that was great
tour of Stone Town (eco Culture) was a bit of a rip-off...we weren't shown much, our change from the drinks was pocketed by the guide, we didn't get the 2 hours there which we had asked for but were rushed away from the shops we were looking at so that the guide could leave early
Great place for receiving a personal touch. Loved the way the "rooms" were open and connected to the natural surroundings.Read more about the whole beach holiday
The safari aspects of the trip were always more important to me, but I enjoyed Unguja. The rooms and food were excellent, the owners very friendly. I did a few dives with the dive centre which is very conveniently located on site.
The only suggestion I would make is that if someone is using the upstairs sleeping area (as I was), there really needs to be some sort of monkey-proof storage area provided. We were told the monkeys would come in and take small items, even clothes etc so we should just secure all our belongings in the downstairs bedroom. Apparently they can even open zips eg on toiletry bags. But this wasn't a satisfactory solution, especially when I was getting up early to dive and didn't want to be going in and out of the downstairs bedroom disturbing my friend. Even in the bathroom there was nowhere to leave hair brushes, toiletries etc. Surely it would be possible to provide one monkey-proof cupboard or chest in the bathroom and one in the sleeping area? I felt like I was living out of my bag for the whole stay!
Unguja - lovely spot in which to unwind
We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Unguja. Ralph and Elies our hosts were charming and very informative and helpful.
Our sea view villas were very unusual and we really enjoyed watching the black tailed monkeys and red colobus monkeys that visited the trees next to our verandah. We were warned not to leave anything in the outside areas as the monkeys liked to help themselves to iPods, sunglasses and the odd bikini bottom and also were quite happy to go and jump on the outdoor bed upstairs, especially if the mosquito net was up so they could swing on it!
We also did the tour of Kizimkazi with Raschid one of the hotel staff who is an elder of the village and he took us on a two hour walk, giving us a potted history of the village and the life of it's inhabitants, culminating at his home. It was interesting and very humbling.
My husband and I did a snorkel trip one morning with Nick who runs Unguja Divers on site and it was somewhat disappointing as visibility was fairly poor due to some bad weather earlier in the week churning up the sand and also there was quite a strong current that day. We understood that we could snorkel from the beach but Nick had advised us that it wasn't really worth it so he took us out by boat but still fairly close to shore - not really worth the $70 for the trip.
Once again we were celebrating a birthday and our anniversary which happened to be on travel days between locations and kindly acknowledged by our hosts who put a bottle of sparkling wine in a cooler on our terrace! Also enjoyed the fruit platter in our room. FYI, hairdryers available for guest use!