Paradise Beach Bungalows
(18 rooms) PO Box 2375, Nungwi, Zanzibar; Ø 0777 418860/0777 416308; e firstname.lastname@example.org. Accessed through a high gate at a sharp bend in the road, Paradise Beach Bungalows no longer has any bungalows. Following redevelopment in 2004, it now offers 18 virtually identical rooms in a 2-storey, concrete accommodation block. Whilst the building is aesthetically challenged and the landscaping sparse, the rooms are clean and all have fans, 24hr electricity and en-suite bathrooms. They also benefit from being positioned in front of a stepped access point to a small secluded cove: perfect for a quick dip in the heat of the afternoon sun. The affiliated sea-side restaurant serves pizza and daily curries. US$35/40/60 sgl/dbl/tpl b&b. Sgl room rates reduce US$10 during low season.
(10 rooms) PO Box 3502, Zanzibar; Ø 024 2240412/024 2240033/0777 415569; e email@example.com; www.geocities.com/barakabungalows (Baraka 5º43.694'S; 39º17.511'E). In the shadow of Paradise Beach Bungalows's accommodation block, these bungalows surround a small garden beside West Beach. The en-suite rooms here are dark but appear to be fairly clean and do have fans, electricity and hot water. At a mere coconut's throw from the pleasant West Beach, they're well placed for sunworshippers. However, this proximity does also mean that the music from Cholo's is likely to prevent any sleep before dawn, at which time the villagers' radios will usually take over. Rates: US$10/15 sgl low/high season; US$20/25 dbl low/high season; US$35/45 tpl low/high season. All rates are b&b.
(3 bandas) No contact details. Set at the back of a small beach, under towering makuti thatch, Cholo's is an idiosyncratic beach bar composed of 2 marooned dhows, suspended dugout canoes acting as seats and an array of bathroom sanitary ware serving as storage units. Immediately behind this curious establishment, there are 3 tiny backpacker bandas (or cottages). Of very basic timber and makuti construction, with only a cotton curtain across the entrance, these rooms offer simply a mattress on the floor and a mosquito net. One has a light, fan and flush toilet, whilst the others have access to a separate toilet and cold-water shower. None has any form of security at all. Cholo's 'Non- top, Rock it like it's hot, All night party' attracts large numbers of locals and tourists for its cocktails and loud music, so be aware that you're unlikely to get any sleep before daybreak if you choose to stay here. Anyway the only plausible reason for staying here is so that you won't have far to stagger back from the festivities. US$10 pp.
Jambo Brothers Bungalows
(16 rooms) PO Box 1792; Ø 024 2240002 (Jambro 5º43.615'S; 39º17.539'E). Located immediately behind the East Africa Diving Centre, Jambo Brothers is a collection of 8 simple bungalows. All rooms have fans and mosquito nets with en-suite, hot-water showers and toilets. There is no longer a bar or restaurant here, but it's only a short walk to the clutch of eateries further south, and close enough to Cholo's to hear their Saturday night festivities from the comfort of your bed. If you want to book in advance, Delene Kutz at the neighbouring dive centre will kindly pass on any email messages and translate as necessary: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rates: US$10/15 low/high season pp for b&b.
(10 rooms) PO Box 1792; Ø 0777 841901 (UNIONB 5º43.579'S; 39º17.558'E). A few steps along the beach from Jambo Brothers, you will come to Union Bungalows' crumbling reception building, whose foundations have been reclaimed by the sea. Check-in is now at the restaurant in front of the rather shabby bungalows. All rooms are en-suite with hot water, electricity through UK 3-pin sockets and mosquito nets. Rates: US$15/20 sgl low/high season; US$25/40 dbl low/high season.
Flame Tree Cottages
(11 rooms) PO Box 1752, Zanzibar; Ø/f 024 2240100/0777 479429/0741 262151; e email@example.com; www.flametreecottages.com (FLAMET 5º43.509'S; 39º17.611'E). The new kid on the Nungwi accommodation block, this fabulous little place on the edge of Nungwi village opened in mid-2004. Owned and built by a Zanzibari–Scottish couple, Seif and Elizabeth, Flame Tree Cottages has 11 redroofed, whitewashed bungalows spread out in extensive gardens, beside the beach. Inside, the rooms are immaculate with lovely linen, beautifully finished wardrobes made by the local carpenters, and large verandas with white-cushioned easy and director's chairs. There's even a thoughtfully placed mini-hose for washing the beach sand off your feet. They have electricity, UK sockets, AC, fans and ensuite bathrooms with constant hot water. Some rooms share a kitchenette, some have their own; they are compact but well kitted out with a hob, small oven (in some) and sink, and (for a small surcharge) the delightful head of housekeeping, Mr Salim, will supply a box of pans and crockery for anyone wishing to self- ater.
Food is available only by arrangement. B/fast and snacks are served on your veranda or in the sunbathing area. Individually prepared meals can be ordered in the morning for dinner, which is served on a table beside the sea, lit only by candles and lanterns. There is a real feeling of space and peace here that is difficult to find in Nungwi; lounging around in one of many hammocks, slung between the coconut palms and casuarinas trees around the garden, just reading and relaxing is lovely. Activities here range from lemongrass oil massage (US$12/half-hr) to snorkelling trips aboard the owner's dhow. Flame Tree's website is as clear and organised as the place itself, and is well worth a look. US$80/105 sgl/dbl b&b. ANew development opposite Flame Tree In late 2005, construction opposite Flame Tree Cottages was under way with the distinct air of yet more tourist accommodation. It may well be open by the time you visit.
Smiles Beach Hotel
(16 rooms) PO Box 4222, Nungwi, Zanzibar; Ø 024 2240472/0777 417676/0777 444334; f 024 2238006; e firstname.lastname@example.org; www.smilesbeachhotel.com (SMILES 5º43.532'S; 39º17.66'E). An architectural medley has produced Smiles' DIY Beverly-Hills-mansion appearance. Spaced in an arc around a flower-filled, semicircular garden, the 4 striking villas are resplendent in fresh pale yellow and white paint, with neatly tiled pagoda-like roofs and elaborate exterior spiral staircases. (Given that most of Nungwi's hotel builders have been unable to achieve regularly spaced steps, these spirals are a particular achievement, regardless of whether they are to your taste.)
Smiles is owned and run by Ibrahim, a smart, affable Zanzibari, whose family have owned this land for years and used it as their private beach hideaway in the days before tourism development hit this coast. Since its opening in Sep 2001, this has been one of the best-quality, quiet options in Nungwi, and is a firm favourite with passing overland groups and repeat visitors. The rooms are high quality and Indian in flavour. All are immaculate: spotlessly clean, spacious, bright and airy. Every one has a sparkling en-suite bathroom, sensibly sliding mosquito nets, high-quality security locks, AC, a telephone, an electronic safe, satellite TV and beach towels; some also have minibars. In the dbl rooms, the bed mattresses have been raised onto concrete plinths with painted moulding creating a headboard effect. The spacious tpl, which could fit 6 people, is made up with 3 large Zanzibari beds. The 'Honeymoon Sweet' (sic) features a giant corner bed as its centrepiece and, like the others, offers indulgent b/fasts in bed. For those who can drag themselves the few metres to the beach, there's a new fibreglass boat for snorkelling excursions. There is an on-site restaurant and regular beach barbecues, though the restaurant is not licensed to serve alcohol. US$65/85/115 sgl/dbl/tpl b&b. Prices reduce by US$10–15 in low season.
Nungwi Village Beach Resort
(36 rooms) Ø 022 2152187; f 022 2152072; e email@example.com; www.nungwivillage.com (NUNVIL 5º43.488'S; 39º17.691'E). Opened in 1999, this mid-range resort is set in spacious grounds on the northernmost stretch of West Beach. The style of accommodation here varies tremendously between the standard and seafront rooms, though both are clean and tidy with en-suite bathrooms, AC, fans, mosquito nets and UK 3-pin electrical sockets. Standard rooms are laid out in single- torey blocks around a gravel courtyard, and are accessed through traditional Zanzibari carved doors, neatly flanked by narrow mirrors. Inside, the furniture is heavy and wooden and the décor Indian-influenced; dbl/twin beds are made up with fresh sheets and blankets, there's a small desk, seats and long mirror in each room, and an extra sgl bed can be added if necessary.
In a diagonal line towards the beach, there are 20 seafront rooms in 5, 2-storey, whitewashed houses. At the front of each level is a narrow balcony, with red concrete floors and a neat balustrade, which leads to 2 rooms. Bright, airy and spotless with high ceilings, kingsize Zanzibari beds, good-quality wooden wardrobes and chests. The soft furnishings have a safari theme with herds of zebra migrating across the curtains and miscellaneous animal prints covering the lamp shades. The best of these rooms are numbers 129 to 132 for their immediate proximity to the beach and completely unobstructed views of the sea and bobbing dhows in the harbour. At the other end of the beach is the restaurant, where an old dugout has been mounted on the wall and an assortment of painted fish placed in its net. The usual array of surface-level water activities is available, along with table tennis, pool and volleyball. There a useful high-speed internet point and a satellite TV for the antisocial and sunburnt. Rates: US$70 in standard or US$140 in seafront room b&b. Payment by VISA or MasterCard is preferred.