Chumbe Island Lodge is a small eco-lodge on Chumbe Island, a tropical, forested paradise, surrounded by the best preserved coral reef on the east African coast. The reef has 200 species of coral, and is home to over 350 species of fish, as well as a resident hawksbill turtle, blue spotted stingray, batfishes, huge lobsters and dolphins. In addition, 60 bird species have been recorded on the island, including fish eagles and breeding pairs of the rare roseate tern. The world’s largest land invertebrate, the rare and endangered giant coconut crab, thrives on Chumbe.
Trained rangers take you snorkelling – you don’t need experience or to be a strong swimmer - and on forest walks in search of giant coconut crabs and the profusion of birds. The island is a base for a community education programme and for conservation research.
There are seven innovatively designed "eco-bungalows", with en suite bathrooms, large living-rooms full of hand-made furniture and decorated with colourful African fabrics. They all overlook the sea; two are right on the beach. There are also some very comfortable hammocks...
Meals are tasty and prepared with great care, using fresh local ingredients. The variety and subtlety was astounding, particularly when you remember that all the cooking and baking is done on open fires or coal-powered stoves. The fact that this small island lodge met our odd dietary requirements perfectly reflects the kind and genuinely helpful attitude that characterises Chumbe Island Lodge.
There is no groundwater on the island so the bungalows use state of the art eco- technology to collect and preserve water. Solar panels provide electricity and composting toilets avoid the need for septic tanks. These initiatives, combined with its exceptional community education programmes, have earned Chumbe Island Lodge world-wide recognition as one of the leading proponents of true eco-tourism. In the past few years, the island has been awarded: Green Hotelier of the Year (2001), Ecotourism Destination Winner - Conde Nast Traveller Magazine (2001), Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award - United Nations Environment Programme (2000), Global Winner - British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow (1999).
From Dar es Salaam, take a 20 minute flight to Zanzibar. The boat leaves for Chumbe at 09h30 from a jetty below the Mbweni Ruins Hotel, south of Stone Town, and just 10 minutes from the airport. If you cannot make that boat, then a private boat transfer can be arranged at a cost of £35 per boat, one-way.
For a genuinely eco-friendly holiday - and one away from traffic, phones, loud music, email and television - Chumbe Island Lodge is perfect.