Fumba Beach Lodge

Fumba, Stone Town & around, Tanzania Book from US$251

Reviewed by Rachel Hamada
A classy, upmarket resort with soul: beautiful Fumba Beach Lodge is an enchanting place to unwind and recharge
Set in 40 acres of lush wilderness, Fumba is truly gorgeous. Winding sandy paths fringed with hibiscus, frangipani and bougainvillea take you around the hotel, from the swimming pool to the dhow boat beach bar, to the spacious, comfortable rooms and to the hotel’s superb dive centre and spa. It's not over-the-top Versace luxury, though. While the accommodation is attractive, the real luxury is nature in all its tropical glory. Blue, blue skies in the day; galaxies of stars at night; birds and butterflies flitting between trees in flower. Rare Columbus monkeys peer down from the tress, tiny elephant shrews rustle in the shrubs, and bush babies come out to feed at dusk.

Wander around and you’ll discover lots of cool little places to soak up the surroundings: viewing platforms scattered with cushions, hammocks swaying from palm trees and wooden steps leading up around an ancient Baobab tree to a the ultimate secret sundowner spot. It doesn’t get much better than this. When such a setting is complemented with good food and drink, quality diving and a divine spa, you’re close to paradise. Be warned - you'll find you never want to leave...

Highs

  • On-site dive centre - the perfect place to do your PADI
  • Gorgeous beach bar with fresh tapas and good wine
  • The informal atmosphere and friendly waiting staff help guests to chill out
  • Sailing on the dhow for a BBQ picnic on nearby uninhabited islands
  • Fabulous tree-top Jacuzzi and spa

Lows

  • Service at reception can be slow
  • Whilst the beach is lovely, it doesn't have the postcard-perfect white sand of east Zanzibar
  • Expect rustic-chic rather than sleek styling
  • It's very popular with families - a high if you have kids, but worth knowing if you don't

Best time to go

August and September are peak season, and Fumba has become more and more popular, so if you want to stay at this time of year book in advance. It is such a beautiful place that it could really be enjoyed at any time, although February and March might be worth avoiding as they mark the main rainy season.

Our top tips

Our picnic boat trip to the nearby islands was a real treat. Sailing on the hotel’s traditional dhow boat, snorkelling the coral reef and then relaxing on a beautiful deserted beach. Sat atop huge reed mats, we enjoyed a delicious barbecue picnic with a glass of chilled wine and a Kilimanjaro beer.

Great for...

Beach
Family
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Spa
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Lodge
  • 26
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Dive centre
  • Daytrips
Room: Luxury Suite

Rooms

If you're planning a honeymoon or a romantic break, take the plunge and go for one of Fumba's Baobab Suites. The one we stayed in had a stunning outside bathroom with a bathtub, shower, toilet and sink, all framed by hot pink bougainvillea flowers and foliage. Decking leads past a vast baobab tree that must be hundreds of years old, down to a comfy hammock overlooking the sea. From here, steps lead down to the beach itself.

Inside, the rooms are simple but beautifully designed, with careful attention to detail. Huge bed frames mean that mosquito nets are not at all claustrophobic and fans keep the room cool at night. The high-ceilinged and palm-thatched rooms are generally unfussy, but have been built with quality in mind. They are all painted white, with heavy wooden shutters and huge wooden shelves to park clothes and luggage. Bright blankets and cushions provide fabulous splashes of colour.

Aside from the outdoor bathroom, the Deluxe Rooms are decorated and equipped in a similar way, and each has a private terrace overlooking the beach or gardens. The Suites have an additional rooftop terrace, an outdoor shower and ocean views from the bathtubs.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Mealtimes at Fumba are a delight. The main restaurant feels very lively and busy, especially at dinner time. Alternatively, you can, as we did, opt for a table down on the beach and eat under a breathtaking canopy of stars. Our evening meal featured tuna carpaccio with honey soy dressing, vegetable soup, rosemary chicken with herb tagliatelle and baked tropical vegetables, and a duet of lemon pies with coffee mousse. Guests are given a choice of main course, generally meat or seafood. The cooking is really good, and everything we had was fresh and tasty.

The quirky dhow bar by the beach offers an eclectic tapas menu featuring dishes such as ocean food bruschetta and aubergine calabrese with yoghurt dip. The South African house wines are all top notch, but the cocktails are a bit cheesy, with blue curaçao a big feature.

At breakfast time, there is a large choice of tropical fruit and juices, as well as hams, cheeses, bread and freshly baked pastries.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Swimming, either in the sea or the small but perfectly formed hotel pool, is one of the main activities at Fumba
  • Snorkelling and diving are easy here, with Blue World dive centre on site. Guests can go out to beautiful and pristine Ukombe coral reef (30 mins by boat). Also offered are picnic excursions, where you can go for a full or half day trip to nearby islands or Kwale coral gardens, and hopefully spot dolphins en route
  • Deep sea fishing is another option: All the equipment is provided, and you are accompanied by experienced staff. Any special catches can be cooked for you in the evening by the hotel chef
  • A trip can be organised to the mangrove lagoon, where it's possible to swim through the mangrove forest. These trees are crucial to Zanzibar as they protect the island from coastal erosion
  • Going for a massage or Jacuzzi at the Baobab Spa is a gorgeous treat, with the picturesque setting a huge selling point
  • Playing games is a nice lazy way to pass the time at Fumba - the hotel’s inside bar has a stock of games including dominoes and Jenga
  • Guests can go for a local village tour, where they can find out about local livelihoods and traditions - all the profits go to local projects and educational programmes
  • Take a city tour of Stone Town, taking in many of the key sites such as the House of Wonders and the palace museum. You can also go on a spice tour, to Jozani Forest to see the monkeys, or to Prison Island

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Fishing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming

Kids

Children are welcomed at Fumba. There are cots and extra beds available, as well as a babysitting service. Some rooms interconnect to make family suites, and rates are reduced if kids are occupy a room. Special meal arrangements can also be made for children.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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