Unguja Lodge is situated near the village of Kizimkazi Mkunguni at the southern tip of Zanzibar overlooking the Menai Bay, this is a quiet part of the island with few hotels and idyllic beaches. The lodge is set amidst an indigenous forest built on a coral ridge above a brilliant white sand beach that disappears at high tide.
Style and Character
From the treasure hunt feeling of finding the lodge down a dusty track, to the carefully preserved indigenous forest that shelters the discreetly positioned villas wrapped around lumps of coral rock, Unguja is a perfect example of thoughtful environmental design and holds the highest eco accreditation on the island. Luxury here lies not in mod-cons but in the delightful experience of sharing your morning cup of tea with a troupe of black tail monkeys, learning to dive in the sapphire blue waters of Menai Bay or deep, dreamless sleeps enveloped in the darkest nights.
Service and Facilities
Owners Ralph and Elies, and manager Martien, infuse the place with their unique brand of warm hospitality. Snorkelling and diving are highlight activities as the lodge has its own PADI dive centre located near a luminous reef full of tropical fish. Dhow trips, dolphin spotting and deep sea fishing are also top draws. Away from the sea, the lodge’s engagement with the Kizimkazi community means that guided village walks are interesting and sensitively conceived. There’s also a small pool, yoga in the morning and a range of other island excursions.
There are seven sea view villas, three baobab villas and two family houses. All of them are open air, with huge thatched roofs that efficiently circulate the sea breeze and curvaceous walls that screen bathrooms and showers. The baobab villas are set back from the seafront beneath some ancient baobab trees and come with individual whirlpool plunge pools and air-conditioning. At the heart of each house is the bedroom, which is fully enclosed and furnished with a king size bed, gleaming coconut wood furniture and woven mats.
Food and Drink
The breakfast of fresh fruit and freshly made croissants may be simple, but its exactly what you want in this environment. Eggs, toast and pancakes can be ordered on request. Food is served throughout the day with a lighter menu of snacks and salads, three hot options at lunch time and a three-course menu at dinner.
Chef Nyerere has worked in numerous hotels around the island and conjures up fusion dishes with a European slant, as well as barbeques and the occasional Swahili buffet. A vegetarian option is always offered.
The family villas of Unguja Lodge come with two additional bedrooms upstairs and children aged between two and 18 years old receive a 50 per cent discount on the adult rate (under two’s stay for free). Babysitting is provided at a small cost. There are no shops nearby so bring everything you need.