Reviews of Unguja Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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!
Life with monkeys
Another beach side lodge, very stylish and welcoming. We had a garden room with our own plunge pool. The space was fabulous and we sat there sometimes in preference to the public areas - unlike some hotel rooms were you fee hemmed in, this was spaciousness all round.
The staff were very welcoming and when one of us had an upset stomach they very happily cooked food to order and off menu and prepared special herbal teas. The monkeys around the lodge were fun and it was lovely to be in an environment which was as little untouched by the lodge as possible. The walk along the beach was great too, which is all we did, this being the relaxing part of our holiday.
We didn't really try the watersports on offer, but another time would do - they appeared well organised and cater for all ages and abilities
Come here to dive/snorkel the coral reefs
The bandas are well designed, very comfortable and entirely perfect for those who like space - they are enormous! Ours had a sea view and I recommend it.
With a dive centre on site this is a good place to learn to dive, although you will see lots just snorkeling. At low tide there is a beach, but nothing to match the East coast, as the beach here is completely covered at high tide. It does not dry out as a consequence, so the staff take beds down to the beach to lie on. We stayed there quiet happily watching fishermen in their dugouts and others wading the surf looking for crab and octopus.
It got quite crowded around the lovely pool, but everyone got on and made friends. The Dutch owners are very personable and accommodating, arranging a sea food lobster supper for me when I asked, and for little extra cost. We stayed for three nights only, but would seriously consider coming back to take a diving course.
Ralph and Elies are delightful and their personal touch made for a delightful stay.
They noticed that it was my wife's birthday and unprompted arranged a private dinner by the sea for our family to celebrate. This is a wonderfully peaceful place with a pretty beach and excellent pool.
The staff were all excellent and the tour through the village with Rashid was fascinating.
Beautiful and Relaxing Unguja Lodge
We finished our safari with 8 nights at Unguja lodge where we were looked after very well by Elies and Ralph along with their friendly and helpful staff. The village tour with Rashid was excellent and he has made it his own and honoured us with a visit to his own house and family.
For a truly relaxing time after a safari it would be difficult to beat Unguja Lodge. The food is excellent and our compliments to the house chef. Our family enjoyed beach combing when the tide was out and my son had his first scuba dive with Nick. All in all we had a fantastic time here.