Mnarani Beach Cottages
(27 rooms) PO Box 3361, Nungwi, Zanzibar; Ø 024 2240494/0777 415551; f 024 2240496; e firstname.lastname@example.org; www.lighthousezanzibar.com (MNARAN 5º43.411'S; 39º18.252'E). Mnarani means 'at or near the lighthouse' in Swahili, and aptly describes this resort's situation. Close to the northernmost tip of the island, from where it is possible to see the sun rise and set, this is a delightful place. Neat sand paths, bordered by masses of established pink hibiscus, lead between the rooms and to the beachfront bar/restaurant area. Here, overlooking a stunning stretch of beach, a new cantilevered deck area provides a perfect spot for sunbathing, sundowners or simply chilling on one of the swings. Calm and shady, this is a very relaxed and civilised place to recharge your batteries. Rooms 1 to 8 have perfect sea views, interrupted only by an occasional coconut palm, whilst numbers 9 to 12 are set in lush, tropical gardens. The rooms are relatively small but spotlessly clean, tastefully decorated and with good en-suite facilities. Coconut-wood furniture sits on broad terraces at the front of each one, whilst beautiful loungers and inviting rope hammocks hang between coconut palms and shady fir trees. There is even a raised, manmade beach for relaxing during high tide.
There are also 4 dbl-storey family cottages – Julie, Furaha, Huba and Maimuna – with large galleried interiors, a lounge, kitchen and useful information pack. Plus, at the end of 2005, a sizeable 3-storey accommodation building, Zanzibar House, was completed. Its 10 spacious en-suite rooms (all named after small Zanzibari islands) each offer good-quality furniture, AC, a telephone, fridge and large, seaview balcony. Alternatively, escape to the roof terrace for some of the best panoramic views of this area. It's possible to hire watersports equipt: hourly rental costs US$5/10 sgl/dbl kayak, US$10 surfboard and US$10 windsurf. The lagoon immediately in front of the hotel is also a great place for kite-surfers; here the reef offers some protection, the winds are perfect, the water warm and there's no risk of injury from the submerged canes of seaweed farmers. Standard room US$84/108 dbl, b&b, mid/peak season; family cottage US$104/128 mid/peak season; Honeymoon cottage,'Mahaba', US$200–224; Zanzibar House rooms US$170–190 dbl, mid/peak season. 'Mahaba' and 'Zanzibar House' are available only on HB or FB basis
Tanzanite Beach Resort
PO Box 4036, Zanzibar; Ø 024 2240255; e email@example.com (TANZAN 5º43.599'S; 39º18.509'E). In late 2005, Tanzanite Beach Resort was under construction, on Nungwi's east coast, just south of Mnarani Beach Cottages. It has a stunning outlook from its raised location above the beach; let's hope the accommodation and facilities built here will do justice to the view! AMkadi (n MKADIG 5º43.686'S; 39º18.602'E). A barely functioning guesthouse, close to the road, above East Beach. ANorth Nungwi Beach Hotel (10 rooms) PO Box 3904, Zanzibar; Ø firstname.lastname@example.org; www.travelzanzibar.com (n NTHNUN 5º43.712'S; 39º18.63'E). Framed by the main door as you approach this hotel, the picture-perfect view of sandy paths leading down to the Indian Ocean, with cerulean waves breaking on the distant reef, is as good as it gets. Step inside, and what may have been an idyllic retreat is now run-down and poorly managed. Once-neat flower beds are overgrown, rope handrails are frayed, rooms are tatty and staff are scarce. This hotel's fabulous outlook is currently the only possible reason to stay here. US$25/30 sgl low/high season b&b, US$40/58 dbl low/high season and US$60/75 tpl low/high season.
Sazani Beach Hotel
(10 rooms) PO Box 4200, Zanzibar; Ø/f 024 2240014/0741 324744; e email@example.com; www.sazanibeach.com (SAZANI 5º43.775'S; 39º18.669'E). Adjacent to Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel, Sazani Beach opened in 1997 and has been in its current form since the new millennium. Part-owned and managed by an eccentric Englishman, Mike, who's been living and working in Tanzania for over 20 years, this is a slightly offbeat, thoroughly laid-back place to stay. Set high up on coral rock, there are 3 en- uite rooms in the main house, 2 large rooms suitable for dbl or tpl occupancy and 4 standard dbls in semi-detached bungalows, and a beach banda, currently occupied by Mike but also popular with single travellers. There are tentative plans to build an additional 2 rooms in 2006. All rooms have 24hr electricity, mosquito nets, fans, hot water, fabulous soft cotton sheets and a stunning sea view.
Early-morning tea can be brought in your room, before b/fast is served on a new patio area under a trellis of passion fruit. Homemade jams and freshly brewed coffee feature alongside traditional eggs and bacon. Fish dinners are served by the beach and over a few sundowner drinks in the bar, Mike will tell you about his passion for cricket and writing short stories, and his latest development plans. There is an on-site dive centre, Divemaxx, but at the time of visiting no subaqua teaching was possible as there are no instructors on-site. However, Mike is a dive master and will rent out equipt and escort group trips for experienced divers, if desired. Sazani is also a hangout for kite- urfers keen to catch the shore trade winds (up to force 6) in the clear lagoon immediately in front of the hotel. Advice and back- up can be sought from Chris at the neighbouring Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel, even if the accommodation price there is over budget. Free internet is also available for all guests staying here: handy for anyone travelling with an overloaded memory card in their digital camera. US$60/70 sgl, low/high season; US$80/90 dbl, low/high season. Children under 2 years stay free; age 2–12 US$30/35 low/high season. All rates are b&b.
Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel
(32 rooms) PO Box 1784, Zanzibar; Ø 024 2233767/2232512; f 024 2233098; e firstname.lastname@example.org; www.rasnungwi.com (RASNUN 5º43.809'S; 39º18.691'E). A perennially popular choice for high-end honeymoon couples, Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel sits on the east coast, at the southern end of Nungwi's beach. It's by far the most upmarket place to stay in Nungwi but retains a calm, low-key atmosphere. Its 32 rooms are set in very compact, well-tended gardens. They were last renovated in 2000 to incorporate AC, electronic safes and neatly tiled bathrooms. The rooms are divided into 3 classes according to their location, view and finishing touches, from the inclusion of a minibar to branded toiletries.
Broadly speaking, the higher the room category, the closer it is to the sea and the more it has to offer. The 13 lodge or garden rooms sit in a row above the central area and car park, some distance from the sea. Only a couple of these have sea views but each has a traditional Zanzibari bed with mosquito net, an en-suite bathroom and a veranda, and any can be made up for sgl, dbl or tpl occupancy. The 12 whitewashed rondavels of the superior chalets and 6 superior deluxe chalets all enjoy sea views, but only the latter offer dressing gowns and stereos. In addition, set slightly away from the rondavels, the Ocean Suite operates as a private, separate villa. With 200 square metres of space, inc a private plunge pool and sun deck, and access to a private chef, this is Ras Nungwi's premium accommodation offering. Alongside the large central bar and split-level dining room, there's an internet point, concealed satellite TV room and a games area with a pool table, table tennis, board games and darts, which is a popular post-dinner spot for younger visitors. In front of this area is a small, tiled, freshwater swimming pool and sun deck with paths radiating down to the beach and secluded reading areas.
There's an excellent, efficient PADI dive centre with 4 dhows and 4 permanent instructors, offering courses and recreational dives to Mnemba, the east coast and around Kendwa. Snorkelling trips (US$30–65), kayaking (US$10/hr), water-skiing (US$50/15mins), windsurfing (US$10/hr) and a range of other watersports are often possible with top-ofthe-range equipt on site. Big-game fishing has long been one of the manager's passions and the hotel has the only professional sport-fishing boat in Zanzibar, Countdown, along with professional tackle and international safety standards. 'Tag and release' fishing is generally encouraged, unless it's a recordbreaking fish or fisherman's first-ever catch. The exceptional food and a great wine list are highlights of any stay here. Delicious fresh, often organic, dishes are the norm. With all guests staying on a HB basis there's an extensive b/fast buffet laid out every morning, an à la carte lunch menu and 5-course table d'hôte dinner. Occasionally tasty seafood BBQs with Swahili cuisine classics will feature for dinner, often accompanied by some gentle live music. Lodge US$120–135 pp high/low season; superior chalet US$155–175 pp high/low season; superior deluxe chalet US$175–205 pp high/low season; Ocean Suite US$700–850 pp high/low season.All rates are HB and based on 2 people sharing. Sgl suppt is US$60/night. Children under 12 pay 75% of adult rate and those under 2 years stay free of charge. Road transfers from Zanzibar Town cost US$30 pp each way.