A Stay on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Mnemba Island feels like the screensaver
Every once and a while I find myself in a place that feels photoshopped. The water is too blue, the clouds so puffy they feel fake. It’s like being transported inside the screen saver on your computer. Mmemba Island, a private island resort off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania is one of those places.
White sand beaches and blue water on Mnemba Island
Mnemba Island is a favorite spot for honeymooners in East Africa. Located off the the north eastern tip of Zanzibar, Mnemba Island has 10 semi-open thatched bandas, or bungalows, along the beach. The maximum capacity of the resort is 20 guests. The island is only about 1.5 kilometers in circumference, so it’s really a getaway. The resort was about half full during my stay but I only saw the other guests at meal times. For all intents and purposes, it feels like a private island.
The daily routine on Mnemba Island
Mnemba is geographically inconvenient. It’s a 90 minute drive plus a 10 minute boat transfer from Stone Town, Zanzibar. The resort has a private dive school and dive centre with all the gear you need for snorkeling and stand up paddle boarding.
Sunset is magical on Mnemba Island
The diving is a big draw at Mnemba and the resort’s private dive school. They’ll set up an afternoon dive for you and your guests. Mornings can be spent snorkling the Mnemba Atoll, which you can reach right from the beach, before having breakfast. Or you can spend the day reading in your outdoor living room and losing track of time.
Sundowners on the beach at Mnemba Island
The staff at Mnemba Island is great. It’s an & Beyond property and up to the brand standards. The staff knows how long you are staying on the island and goes out of their way to maximize your opportunities to have memorable experiences.
Early morning calm on Mnemba Island
December weather on Mnemba was hot and humid. We snorkeled before breakfast, when the sun and temperatures were most pleasant. The water is lovely and warm. But the island is still rustic wilderness. Crabs and creepy crawlies are part of life here. They don’t bother you, but they also don’t respect your personal space.
A list of wildlife sightings on Mnemba Island
The staff makes sure all your creature comforts are taken care of, and the laundry service was quick and much appreciated. There is wifi on the island. It’s not quick, but it’s definitely there and helps keep you connected to the rest of the world (should you wish to be).
Left: morning coffee at Mnemba right: homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast
The chef makes sure any food allergies or special requests are handled. The menu focuses mostly on the great seafood available in the area. There is a full service bar in the lounge where guests can gather for cocktails or tea during the day. If you’d prefer privacy, your butler will happily set you up for sundowners on the beach.
Tropical fresh fruit on Mnemba Island
The design aesthetic of Mnemba Island is safari chic like the rest of the … & Beyond properties. The rooms, called Bandas, feature indoor/outdoor living rooms and bathrooms. You’re never really entirely indoors. But that did not matter even when we had light rain.
I loved this “living picture window” at Mnemba Island.
Ceiling fans and mosquito nets kept the bugs out and the temperature pleasant. December temperatures were well into the 90s. The resort is closed in April, when the seasonal rains are longer.
The indoor/outdoor bathroom at Mnemba Island
While Mnemba mostly caters to couples, one of the bandas is a family unit that can accommodate children. There was a intergenerational family group on the island during our stay on the island.
Left: welcome coconuts in the Banda Right: Four poster bed with mosquito netting
Mnemba was great place for me to relax for a few days and get over jet lag before heading off on safari. Safari days are long and scheduled, so a few days on Mnemba allowed for some much needed relaxation.
Comfy reading chair in a beach banda at Mnemba Island
The entire island is the resort, and it’s small (about ) and won the silver medal in the 2015 Responsible Tourism Awards.
Beach banda at Mnemba glows softly after dark
Mnemba is best as an add-on destination before or after going on safari in east Africa. It will be most appreciated by dive and snorkel enthusiasts. It’s a lovely place to spend a few days in the screen saver.
+27 11 809 4300.
Rates start at $1155 USD per person