A visit to the tropical islands of Tanzania provide a relaxing end to your safari. Zanzibar has a great deal to offer with a choice of beach destinations. Choose a low-key lodge on the beach, where you can lie in a hammock and go snorkelling or a full-on resort with loads of activities. If money is no object, spend time on Mnemba Island. Spend time in Stonetown, rich in culture and history. Travel to the centre of the island to the spice plantations. Alternatively, choose low-key Mafia Island, which has a choice of very mellow beach destinations. Mafia has the best snorkelling in Tanzania.
Bluebay Resort, Zanzibar
This is a large 112 room resort spread over 30 acres of tropical gardens with over 1000 palm trees, set on the edge of a white sandy beach. This is a great resort if you want a variety of activities and is especially suitable for families with children. You can hang out on the beach or choose from a variety of water activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, swimming in the pool or sea. Alternatively, play tennis or cycle on the wide beach. Indoor games include snooker and table tennis and a heap of board games. There is also a spa, with a very atmospheric paradise island feel.
Chole Mjini Lodge, Chole Island
Just off the south east of Mafia Island, a 10 minute boat ride away, is Chole Island. Chole Mjini is a laid back Robinson Crusoe sort of place. You will sleep in tree-houses, there are outdoor showers and drop toilets. The lodge oozes philanthropy, having originally being built by a doctor and his family as a source of revenue for the local island population. Around the grounds are ruins from the Arab traders, entwined in the local fig. Enjoy an atmospheric, candle-light dinner in an amphitheatre of ruins. Activities include snorkelling trips, visits to turtle hatching sites (seasonal), scuba diving from Mafia Island and swimming with whale sharks, as a day excursion, off the west coast of Mafia Island (seasonal). Visitors are encouraged to do a tour of the local village, where you can see dhows being built, using traditional methods.
Kigoni Lodge, Mafia Island
Kigonii Lodge is located on the south east of Mafia Island. It's set in beautiful tropical gardens, with a central pool area where meals are served. This is a very pleasant up-market resort with high quality food and service. They have an excellent scuba diving centre. The proximity to the Marine Park on the east of the island makes this lodge a very good access point for scuba diving and snorkelling. There is a very pleasant beach, but due to tidal changes, you only have access to the water some of the day. Windsurfing and kayaking is also on offer.
Lua Cheia, Mafia Island
Lua Cheia is located at Ras Bweni in the north of Mafia Island on a private 2 km beach. A very pretty two hour road transfer through cashew nut plantations will bring you to this charming, picturesque little camp. Tents with ensuites nestle under the trees overlooking the white sandy beach and sea. One can always swim despite tidal changes and go kayaking. The emphasis is on relaxation. Alternatively, sail in a dhow to Barakuni Island for a picnic, take a forest walk across the island or visit the lighthouse by road or bicycle.
Matemwe Beach Village, Zanzibar
This is a laid back guest-house on the north east coast of Zanzibar, with an emphasis on "laid back". It is situated on a beautiful white sandy beach, with easy access via boat to the Mnemba Atoll, for snorkelling or scuba diving. The pool area, communal areas and leafy gardens provide a great area for relaxation. The dive centre is located on site. Bicycles are available for hire - cycle on the beach or venture inland.
Ras Mbisi, Mafia Island
Ras Mbisi is a small, laid back resort on the west coast of Mafia Island. Bungalows with en-suites nestle among palm trees overlooking the white sandy beach and sea. Tidal changes don't effect the sea-levels dramatically, like on the east coast, so there is always water for swimming and kayaking. There is a very pleasant pool and bar area. The food is exceptional. Ras Mbisi is very well located for the migration of whale sharks, travelling along the west coast of Mafia, between October and March.
Mnemba Island is off the north east coast of Unguja (Zanzibar). It is the ultimate in a barefoot luxury. Accommodation and food is superb.
A typical day on Mnemba, .... toss aside your valuables, grab a sarong and lose your shoes. Drift out from your palm frond banda onto the powder-fine white sand, contemplate a swim in warm turquoise sea surrounded by a tropical coral reef or snorkel from the shore, walk around the island, say hello to the odd suni antelope, wander back for lunch where you will feast on exquisitely presented, delicious, fresh and plentiful food. Spend the afternoon reading or go kayaking, windsurfing or scuba diving. In the evening, have dinner on the beach by paraffin lamp and gaze at the stars. Should you be on the island between December and March, the turtles can be seen laying their eggs on the beach. Within 9 weeks the beaches are filled with tiny turtle hatchlings.