This lodge offers a private island experience with the option of experiencing the Swahili architecture, music, and culture of Stone Town (Zanzibar’s capital, 20 minutes away by boat plus a 90-minute drive). High-ceilinged, thatched bandas are footsteps from a flour-fine sand beach and are romantically furnished with elaborately carved wooden beds. For those who want a change of scene, verandas and shaded beach beds offer a variety of places to sleep off all the early morning safari wake-up calls. One mile in circumference, Mnemba Island has permanent residents that include poodle-sized Suni and rabbit-sized Ader’s duiker antelope, breeding doves, and enormous terrestrial coconut crabs. Sunbathers can spot dolphins from the beach year-round, and scuba divers might encounter the occasional whale shark.
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Although guests have the island and its beaches to themselves, they may encounter snorkelers on boat trips from Zanzibar’s main island who visit the public reef by boat between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Non-guests are not permitted within 656 feet (200m) of Mnemba beaches.
Need to Know
Rooms: 10 suites; from $790 per person inclusive of meals and two daily dives for pre-PADI certified guests. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 10 a.m. Dining options: Fresh, light beach food incorporating locally sourced fruit, fish, lobsters, crabs, and prawns arriving daily by traditional outrigger. Chefs create a daily menu, posted on a blackboard, which guests are encouraged to alter to their liking. There’s a common dining lounge, but guests can dine by lantern light on the beach or in their suites. Spa and gym: There is no gym or pool. Rooms come with yoga mats, a circular Pilates band, weights, jump rope, and a suggested workout manual. There’s a PADI dive school, and water sports include snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, windsurfing, and diving.
Who's it for: Mnemba is perfect for a post-safari wind-down. Many andBeyond guests are avid snorkelers; one doesn’t need a boat to reach the house reef, which is 20 feet deep at high tide. Our favorite rooms: Rooms 8, 9, and 10 have unimpeded sea views and face the house reef. Sea turtle numbers peak April through August. For snorkelers: Guests, free to snorkel on their own, may opt for a guided boat trip with Mnemba staff who endeavor to keep away from other snorkelers, making for a more private experience.