Mnemba Island is owned and operated by &Beyond, a company specialising in luxury experiential travel across Africa, Asia, and South America. Among &Beyond’s successes in Safari Africa alone are Grumeti Serengeti Safari Camp, Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, and Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, all favourites at YZ. Mnemba has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including three meals daily, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, refreshments on lodge activities, watersports from the PADI dive school, WILDChild programme, Wi-Fi, return transfers between the lodge and Zanzibar, and a laundry service. Diving instruction is available at extra cost.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The island is accessed via 10–15 minutes’ boat transfer from the north-east tip of Zanzibar. Most travellers fly in to Zanzibar’s international airport, and the journey from the airport to the boat station usually takes an hour and 30 minutes. The lodge buildings and guest bandas are tucked into woods adjacent to the shore.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
Guest accommodation consists of 12 timber-and-thatch bandas – two of these can be linked to create one double-sized banda for family use. Each is approached along a sandy path from the beach. The first thing you see is a shady veranda. This functions as a very pleasant lounge and dining space, featuring a couple of daybeds and a chic little table and chairs for private meals. The bedroom is entered up a few steps and through a wide partition – in total, there are three partitions, all with woven blinds that can be pulled down. The bedroom area contains a king-size bed with mosquito netting, bedside tables and lighting, a writing desk and chair, and a well-stocked mini-bar. Continuing through the banda, you’ll find the en-suite washroom, which has a separate flush toilet, twin washbasins, and a spacious rainfall shower with a curtain constructed from gorgeous glass beads! There’s some additional storage space in the washroom, and back on the beach there’s a private seating area complete with sunloungers.
Mnemba’s lounge, dining area, bar, library, and curio shop all occupy timber-and-thatch structures nestling amidst the trees. The lounge offers a long curved row of cushioned seating, facing towards the beach. The structure used for dining is positioned closest to the beach, and it features individual tables and comfy upright chairs. Guests can choose to eat here, on their private veranda, or at a secluded beach location recommended by staff! The food and drink is exceptionally good. Breakfasts involve a range of hot and cold dishes, while lunches are tasty and light. A three-course dinner is served under the stars every evening, with storm lanterns lit all around. Mnemba’s bar provides another great location to relax, with its own cushioned seating, occasional tables, and a few pouffes for a little variation! The library contains a couple of sofas and a good selection of reading material, as well as a television and some interesting photos on the wall. And the curio shop stocks not only arts-and-crafts items but also clothes, accessories, and essentials. There’s no spa building, but in-room or on-beach massages are available. Guests who enjoy keeping fit on holiday can request a gym-in-a-basket! Yoga mats are offered too.
The island has its own PADI dive school, which provides an extensive range of excursions to various dive sites. All levels of experience are accommodated, with even complete beginners able to pick up the basics and enjoy their first dive. The seas around Mnemba are breathtakingly beautiful, with a real treasure trove of marine creatures to observe! Among the highlights are dolphins and turtles. The latter can be seen nesting from October to January, and the tiny young scuttle down to the sea two months after the eggs are laid. Snorkelling is possible too, as are kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding if you’re feeling energetic! Dhow cruises are ideal for a more laidback exploration of the region, while keen angles will relish opportunities to fish the waters from some well-chosen spots. There’s plenty of wildlife to see on the island, such as Suni antelope, Ader’s duiker, and an assortment of vibrant birds. And the lodge also offers &Beyond’s superb WILDChild programme, ensuring that young guests are kept happily occupied while parents steal a little time to themselves. For more information about WILDChild or anything else to do with staying on this paradise island, please contact a member of the YZ team.