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Tanzania Safari

Mnemba Island Lodge

Mnemba Island, Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania

Mnemba Island Lodge, Zanzibar Archipelago
Return to Zanzibar Archipelago Lodges                     Image © CC Africa

View images of Mnemba Island Lodge:  Mnemba Island Lodge Images

MNEMBA ISLAND LODGE RATES: Mnemba Island Lodge Rates

More than 1,200 years ago, the silhouettes of three-cornered Arab dhows were first spotted across the azure horizons of the Indian Ocean waters washing onto Africa's eastern shores and the Zanzibar Archipelago.  Off the northeastern tip of Zanzibar Island lies the private Mnemba Island - an island inhabited only by guests and the staff taking care of them.

This exquisite, private island, with its white coral-sand beaches and spectacular coral reefs is renowned as one of the most romantic ocean destinations in the world, offering a privacy and rustic exclusivity unparalleled on the Tanzanian coastline.  Mnemba Island Lodge lies 3 miles off the northeastern tip of Zanzibar Island. The Island is 1.5 kilometres in circumference and is surrounded by a tropical, Indian Ocean coral reef and some of Africa's most magnificent dive sites. Mnemba Island forms part of an exquisite atoll, which has been declated a marine conservation area.  Mnemba Island Lodge is owned and operated by CC Africa.  The lodge closes in April & May.

Unique Selling Points
Mnemba is a true tropical barefoot paradise
• Only ten bandas on an otherwise uninhabited island where the balmy ocean laps the sun-soaked shore
• Safe swimming in temperate waters
• Spectacular coral reefs, gentle sea breezes and pristine white beaches
• Swimming directly from the beach year round
• Renowned for its excellent cuisine
• Only 20 minutes by boat from the historical Spice Island of Zanzibar
• Turtles lay and hatch their eggs all year round
• PADI dive school • Speciality dives (deep, night, navigation, drift and peak performance can be arranged at an additional cost)
• Deep sea fishing (additional cost)
• Mnemba Island and its surrounding reefs are a Marine Conservation Area, and a nominal levy on watersports goes to the local communities
• Low risk malaria destination

Access to Mnemba Island
The Lodge transfers guests to and from Zanzibar International Airport or Stone Town. This transfer is approximately 1.5 hours by road, followed by a 15-20 minute transfer in open ski boats. As there are no jettie;, departures and landings are directly to and from the beach and could involve a little wading.

Accommodation            For images of Mnemba Island Lodge, click Mnemba Island Lodge Images
Mnemba Island Lodge offers ten Zanzibari bandas, with direct access to the beach. Hand-woven from traditional Zanzibarian palm-matting, each secluded banda has a spacious veranda and is hidden in the shade of a tropical beach forest, fringed by the pristine beaches that halo the Island. A palm-covered walkway leads to an en suite bathroom with shower and basin, separate w.c., fresh water (obtained from a desalination plant), ceiling fans and a spacious outdoor veranda. Each banda also has a private beach sala with traditional Zanzibari sunbeds. Zanzibar is famous for its intricate, detailed woodcarvings and the scrolled headboards adorning the beds are created by some of the Island’s most skilled artisans.

Sheer unpretentious paradise, the architecture of the Lodge offers a rustic exclusivity and privacy unparalleled on the African coastline. Thatched dining and sitting/bar areas have beautiful open views of the beach and spectacular coral reefs beyond. There is a small library with a selection of books, games and magazines. The guest areas are all open-sided, cooled by sea breezes, informal and relaxed.

Baskets of fresh fruit, fish, lobsters, crabs and prawns are sailed into Mnemba daily on traditional ngalawa outriggers, and prepared as exotic delicacies. Lunch is usually served on large wooden carved Zanzibar platters heaped with delicious mezze (fingerfood). Romantic candle-lit dinners are enjoyed on the beach with the waves gently lapping at your feet. Private beach dinners are often enjoyed by honeymooners.

Just 10 beachside bandas
All with en suite bathrooms
Overhead fans
Spacious outdoor verandas
Guest areas with beautiful sea views
Island crafts shop

All CC Africa lodges are world-renowned for their delicious Pan-African cuisine – fresh ingredients, simply prepared with an African flavour. All halaal and vegetarian dietary requirements will be catered for. When making your reservation, please inform us of any specific dietary requirements you may have, and these will be communicated immediately to the Lodge. Should specific items need to be flown in, there will be an additional charge, which will be quoted separately. Regrettably, we are unable to cater for strictly kosher guests at Mnemba Island Lodge.

Children’s Policy
Children under 12 are welcome at the lodge (a maximum of 2 children on the island at any one time). An extra bed can be arranged for a child 11 years and younger sharing its parents’ banda. No more than 1 triple at any one time.

Children’s Activities
Childrens' activities depend entirely on the age of the children and may include the following:
Special programmes can be compiled such as birding and fishing
Children’s meals and menus available

Number of Bandas 10
Maximum Guests 20
Children Yes
Triples 1 (children 11 yrs & younger)
Twin Beds All convertible to double
Air Conditioning No
Overhead Fans Yes
Mosquito Nets Yes
Indoor Showers Yes
Private w.c Yes
In Room Safe Yes
Telephone Manager’s office (intermittent mobile reception)
Hairdryers Yes
Laundry Included Yes
Suitable for disabled guests No
Distance between Rooms 10-15m / 33-50ft
Check In 12h00
Check Out 11h00
Airstrip No. Closest airport Zanzibar.
Kosher Food No
Power 220v AC (plug points in rooms)
Internet Access Yes (wireless)
Beach/Private banda dinners Yes
Childminding Yes
Credit Cards Visa & MasterCard
In-Room Massage Yes

Activities & Wildlife
Cool island adventures
The calm warm seas around Mnemba offer irresistible water activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, fly fishing and swimming directly from the beach at no additional cost. Excellent birdwatching, beautiful walks around the Island or simply suntanning on the pristine beach may also be enjoyed. Optional extras include diving courses, deep-sea fishing, a tour of the ancient ‘Spice Island’ of Zanzibar, and a range of relaxing massages and therapeutic treatments

Scuba Diving
Mnemba boasts some of the world’s most beautiful dive sites. The clear blue seas provide unsurpassed visibility for both snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts – we will provide you with all scuba and snorkelling equipment needed. Just a short boat trip from the Island, coral reefs drop into the deep open sea. You can enjoy two dives daily led by our experienced dive instructors. Please note that a valid diving certificate is required.

Scuba Diving Courses (optional extra)
If you don’t have a diving certificate, Mnemba offers a professional dive school for beginners. Speciality dives include deep, night, navigation, drift and peak performance.

Deep Sea Fishing (optional extra)
Mnemba is situated near the Pemba channel which is renowned for its excellent big game fishing – Mnemba supports tag and release fishing. Big game fishing enthusiasts are catered for on a well-equipped boat, which can be hired complete with tackle and crew. The big game fishing season runs from July to March, with plenty of Yellowfin Tuna during the summer months. Billfish (sailfish), black marlin, striped and blue marlin tend to run from October to March.

'Spice Island' Tour of Zanzibar (optional extra)
Explore the markets of Stone Town with memories of its extraordinary romantic and often violent past – dating back to 800AD when Arab traders first arrived on the islands – evoked by ancient ruins, shady cloisters and the rich aromas of cloves, cinnamon and coconut.

Mnemba Massages (optional extra)
To ensure your stay at Mnemba is as relaxing and memorable as possible, our in-house therapist offers a range of massage and reflexology treatments.

Mnemba offers fantastic snorkelling with 168 species of fish found on the house reef – just a five-minute swim from your banda.

Pristine island wilderness
Mnemba is an idyllic island situated within a marine reserve comprising four distinct habitats which are home to a diverse array of Indian Ocean wildlife.
Nesting place of threatened green turtles (monitoring and protection project has been underway since 1996)
Seasonal viewing of humpback whales (July to September)
Encounters with three species of dolphin
Excellent opportunities to view whale sharks (the world’s largest fish)
Migratory and resident shore birds feed and roost on the Island
Approximately 600 species of coral reef fish

Mnemba Habitats
Coral reefs comprise a variety of hard and soft species including finger, brain, honeycomb and table coral, and palmate sea fan. The pristine white beach is comprised of wave-washed coral fragments, and is a habitat for crabs, sea snails, turtles and wading birds. The forest on the centre of the Island is comprised mostly of whistling pine, with pandanus (screw pine), wild rubber fig and dune cross-berry on its outer fringe. The open sea is home to myriad life forms from plankton and shrimps to marlins and dolphins.

Mammals at Mnemba
Gigantic humpback whales pass through the deep-sea channel between Mnemba and Zanzibar on migration (usually from July to September). Common, bottlenose and spinner dolphins are present throughout the year and pods of these charismatic animals often come close to shore. A population of tiny suni antelope inhabit the casuarina forest on the island and may be seen tiptoeing around near the rooms.

Birds at Mnemba
Over 50 species have been recorded at Mnemba. Migratory waders including lesser sandplover, curlew sandpiper, whimbrel and ruddy turnstone gather on sand spits alongside flocks of elegant crab plover. Greater crested tern, sooty gull and dimorphic egret are frequently seen hunting for fish along the shore. Large numbers of red-eyed dove roost and nest on the island. Palmnut vulture and gymnogene are among visiting raptors. Purple-banded sunbird, African reed warbler and paradise flycatcher are resident at the forest edge. Unusual birds such as harlequin quail may appear sporadically.

Birding Specials at Mnemba Island
Dimorphic Egret
Curlew Sandpiper
Grey Plover
Paradise Flycatcher
African Harrier Hawk
Crab Plover
Ruddy Turnstone
Greater Crested (Swift) Tern
Purple-banded Sunbird
Mangrove Kingfisher

Reef Fish at Mnemba
Nearly 600 species of species of brilliantly coloured reef fish occur around Mnemba and the surrounding reefs. Among the most striking are moorish idol, palette surgeonfish and clown triggerfish. Geometric moray eel, giant frogfish and freckled anglerfish (frogfish) are among the stranger denizens of coral reefs. There are 168 species of fish on Mnemba’s house reef – just a five-minute swim from your banda. Enormous whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) are regularly encountered in deep water channels. Groups of hammerhead sharks are located occasionally.

Other Wildlife
Green turtles come ashore at night to excavate nests and lay their egg clutches of up to 150 eggs, which hatch after about two months. Watching these primeval creatures go about their ancient breeding ritual is a memorable experience. Predatory ghost crabs run up and down the beach. Massive coconut crabs are occasional visitors. Big-fin reef squid occur on coral reefs.

Mnemba Island Lodge is committed to CC Africa’s core principle: Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the people.

CC Africa’s focus: Community equity, income generation, education and health care are a primary concern. In consultation with community organisations such as the Africa Foundation – originally founded by CC Africa, now a not-for-profit rural development organisation – Mnemba Island Lodge has contributed significantly towards improving the prosperity and living conditions of the local Kijini and Matemwe communities of nearby Zanzibar.

A major conservation coup for CC Africa was the declaration of Mnemba Island and its surrounding reefs as a Marine Conservation Area (MIMCA). This unique partnership between the local communities, the Zanzibar government and CC Africa was established to protect the fragile coral reefs and marine life. A daily levy for all water activities is deposited into a community fund, demonstrating that protecting the marine environment can create revenue.

Ecotourism in Africa: Our guests play a critical role in helping CC Africa realise our dream and vision: to create a model in wise land management, integrating international travellers and rural people to their mutual benefit and demonstrating that wildlife can be preserved on a sustainable basis by all.

Positive Health Programme
CC Africa strongly believes in its people and was recently listed as one of three finalists in the Investor in People category of the 2005 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The October 2005 edition of Africa Geographic featured an article on AIDS and conversation, and highlighted the activities and programmes that various African companies are implementing in order to increase AIDS awareness and, in doing so, empower the communities taking care of some of the world's richest wilderness regions.

"Probably the most attractive program ... is that of CC Africa... CC Africa launched a Positive Health program in 2003 and in April and May last year ran two seven-day courses.... Their approach focuses on home-based care, gardens, counseling techniques and gender issues.... The health of the habitat is critical to the health of the individuals in it.... The conservation industry is uniquely positioned to take the treatment of HIV/AIDS in radically new directions.... Benefits [of the program] include acquiring 'hard skills' such as maintaining clean water, producing food, and home-based methods of dealing with illnesses that are not life threatening.... It takes only the will of ecologically minded people to make sure that the wild places are not lost."
Africa Geographic, October 2005

Other Considerations
Weather: It can be humid. Sea breezes bring cooler air and relief from the hot, humid weather.
Rainfall: The rainy season is in two monsoon seasons: Late March to late May is traditionally the long rainy season. Late October to mid December is hot, relieved by short rains – usually in the form of short-lived afternoon thunderstorms.
Temperature: Average daytime temperatures are in the region of 26°C/79°F from June to October and about 28°C/82°F from December to February. The minimum temperature is 18°C/64°F, and average water temperatures from 20°C/68°F to 23°C/73°F.
Best time to travel: There are good sand flats throughout the year. Turtles nest on the Island from January to the end of March, with hatchlings arriving 60 days after the eggs are laid.
Malaria: Please note Mnemba is situated in a low- risk malaria area.
Ratio of guests to staff: 1 to 3
Camp closure: Mnemba Island Lodge closes from 1 April to 31 May each year during the ‘long rains’.

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