Matemwe Lodge has a stunning location and an authenticity about it that epitomises Zanzibar – we love it! It’s perfect for travellers seeking rustic accommodation on this idyllic island.
Owned and run by one of our favourite bush and beach holiday operators, Asilia Africa, Matemwe Lodge is pretty popular at YZ. Previously the property was known as Matemwe Bungalows. Today it’s listed in a portfolio spanning Kenya and Tanzania as well as Zanzibar, and including sister properties Matemwe Retreat and Matemwe Beach House. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, featuring all meals, a selection of alcoholic and soft drinks, Wi-Fi, and a laundry service. The lodge is closed from 3rd April to 31st May every year.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge is accessed via 1 hour 15 minutes’ road transfer from Zanzibar’s international airport. It has a spectacular location on top of a coral cliff, on the island’s scenic north-eastern coast and opposite the breathtakingly beautiful Mnemba Atoll.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT MATEMWE LODGE:
Guest accommodation consists of 12 chalets. Featuring whitewashed stone walls and thatched roofs, these are positioned along the cliff on one side of the communal structure. Entering a chalet designed for a maximum of two adults, you’ll find a double bed with mosquito netting, bedside lighting, a wardrobe, and a separate seating area. The en-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, single or double washbasin/s with mirror over, walk-in shower, and freestanding bathtub. Chalets containing triple rooms are more spacious and include a mezzanine floor with an additional double bed, making this option suitable for a family or a small group. Amenities and services include a fan, a telephone, a safe, a hairdryer, 24-hour room service, and essential items such as a torch and mosquito repellent. All chalets have a private veranda, with a well-cushioned wood-framed settee, a table, a hammock, and spectacular views over the lagoon! And two have a private plunge pool.
The communal areas at Matemwe are accessed from the guest chalets along well-kept pathways through the property’s gardens. Within an open-sided timber-and-thatch building, there’s the restaurant, with wooden tables-and-chairs set out for individual dining. The space extends onto a deck, so guests can enjoy particularly good views while eating and drinking al fresco! A few comfy sofas and armchairs are positioned on the deck too. The bar occupies a smaller building closer to the cliff edge, while the spa is just above the bar and offers treatments such as relaxing massages, facials, and pedicures. Guests can also wind down by taking a stroll in the gardens and a cool dip in the welcoming infinity pool! This features a waterfall cascading into the second pool, which has a shadier setting. Of course the beach at the base of the coral wall is another excellent venue for enjoying some leisure time.
ACTIVITIES AT MATEMWE LODGE:
Matemwe Lodge provides an exciting variety of activities at extra cost:
Diving excursions – Mnemba Island, opposite the property, is merely a 30 minutes’ boat ride away. If you’re new to diving, you can take courses at Zanzibar’s PADI dive centre before embarking on an underwater adventure! There’s a great range of dive sites to explore, from gently sloping walls and peaceful gardens to turtle reefs and substantial drops of up to 50 metres. And all sites are home to a veritable treasure trove of marine life, not least vibrant reef fish, turtles, and dolphins.
Snorkelling– At low tide, you can snorkel just off Matemwe’s beach, in the coral reef and rock pools. The activity is also available around Mnemba Island.
Kayaking– Why not hire kayaks and paddle around the island’s scenic north-eastern coastline? You’ll have lovely vistas over sparkling seas and serene lagoons.
Dhow trips– A dhow is a traditional Zanzibari sailboat. Guests can climb aboard and set sail on the ocean, perhaps doing a bit of birdwatching during the journey.
Reef walks– This activity can be combined with snorkelling. Matemwe’s beach at low tide is thrilling to observe, due to its astonishing assortment of marine creatures.
Stone Town tours– Former capital of the spice trade, Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City. You can visit all sorts of historical buildings, such as former sultans’ palaces, mosques, churches, and forts. The town boasts interesting museums and bustling markets too!
Spice tours– Culture fans will also appreciate learning about the history of spice on Zanzibar, as will anyone intrigued by the use of spices in cooking. You’ll look around a spice plantation in the company of a knowledgeable guide, and often there are chances to sample the wares following the tour.
Local village visits– Finally, you can also add a little culture to your beach holiday by visiting Matemwe village. The locals will be happy to show you around their homes.