Beach, Zanzibar

Throwback Zanzibar

Mnemba Island
The dreamy private island with a ~1,500 USD / person / night price tag; equipped with the most luxurious African resort living, the whitest and finest coral sand and an amazing reef supporting vast numbers of sea life

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Back to work but Zanzibar is stuck in my mind so I thought I’d share some of the spice islands with you guys.

This was our first Africa trip. We went to Zanzibar for some beach time after experiencing our first ever safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya (see here for safari adventures and here for the Great Migration of the wildebeests).

The spice islands have traditionally been a gathering place for people of all cultures – on the trading route, Zanzibar was a place to refuel and relax. Because of this long multicultural history, the locals speak Swahili, Arabic, French, Italian and English.

There is a lot to say about the spice islands, but Mnemba island was the most memorable for me. This private island has a dream like AndBeyond luxury resort frequented by supermodels and Hollywood stars. It hosts one of the most beautiful reef in East Africa and is frequented by diving and snorkeling fanatics all over the world. With such a beautiful natural predisposition, the island was sold by the Zanzibar government in time of debt to a rich South African, and now goes at a rack rate of USD 1,300-1,800 / person / night!

With those jaw dropping prices, we definitely did not opt for the private luxury experience on Mnemba island. But, we were lucky enough to stay at Asilia that took us to Mnemba island for snorkeling. Importantly, we were warned not to step onto the island or else we will have to pay a hefty fine of at least USD 1,300 equivalent of one night’s stay at the resort.

The reefs were healthy and alive with the most beautiful fish in big schools. The water was clear and there was more than enough to see. Definitely, an experience to take on when you are in the area.

For those interested in the history of Zanzibar, there is also a lot to do in the Stone Town, a UNESCO Heritage site. As mentioned before, the melting pot of cultures is manifested in Stone Town, showing off its African, Arabic, Indian and European influences through buildings and town planning. You can see the Old Fort in the area of an old Portuguese church, a place built by a Sultan, A Roman Catholic Cathedral, and an Anglican Cathedral, a Mosque, Royal Cemetery, Persian baths, and so many other structures all fitting harmoniously into the Stone Town.

Of course, you don’t need to be an avid diver or history fanatic to enjoy the place. There is something for everyone. At the least, take a deep breath in and enjoy the alluring aroma of the spice islands.

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Top tip: don’t assume the water is warm all year round. June to August is the best season for a pleasant and warm water temperature. That said, the water won’t be freezing by any means during other times of the year

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AndBeyond Mnemba
Matemwe Lodge Asilia

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