Matemwe Bungalows is uncomplicated Zanzibar at its best; a stylish beach hotel set on a coral cliff by a powder white beach on the north east coast near Matemwe village.
Smart and understated, quiet and relaxed, with excellent food, this is an ideal choice for couples seeking a tranquil break in a perfect beach setting.
The cliff top is landscaped into attractive gardens and there are two new swimming pools, one an infinity pool overlooking the beach.
The 12 spacious suites sit on coral cliffs above a pearly white beach. Each has a private verandah where you can swing in your hammock, absorbed in the sea views across to Mnemba and the constant stream of fishing dhows passing below. The décor is modern Zanzibari, with coconut wood beds and colourful raffia mats.
Lunch is an informal affair, an excellent and varied buffet. The three-course dinner is served, with a choice of main dish. Fish is prominent on the menu, as you would expect. The cooking is of a high standard.
The bar is built around an old dhow and shaded by coconut trees. The comfortable lounge is a cool and airy spot from which the watch the spectacle on the beach below or read a book.
Diving and snorkelling
The hotel uses a nearby PADI dive centre, which picks up from the lodge daily, at hours determined by the tides. The dive boat takes you to nearby Mnemba Atoll, which has some of the most varied dive sites around Zanzibar. There are two dhows at the lodge for snorkelling and sailing trips. At low tide, the sea goes right out to the reef and you will need decent reef shoes to make the most of it, given the numerous sea urchins.
The lodge is very close to Matemwe village, which provides opportunities to observe Zanzibari daily life. Women farm seaweed on the foreshore below. The lodge has built a school, a library and a vegetable garden in the village and contributes to community development through self-sustaining economic initiatives like the chicken farm programme.