But it’s for the diving and water sports that most guests come here: a seascape of deep inlets, mangrove coasts, coral islands and fringing reefs is a short boat-ride away. Non-divers can enjoy dhow cruises, canoeing safaris, game-fishing, intertidal coast walks or, better still, take a PADI course with the resident dive instructors - there’s no better place to learn.
- World-class diving: pristine reefs and walls
- Being so remote has allowed Pemba Island to remain relatively unknown in terms of tourism
- The sunset boat trip in the sailing dhow was a highlight of our latest revisit
- Comfortable tented rooms by the beach and a stunning hillside infinity pool overlooking the ocean
- Warm, friendly atmosphere created by the excellent staff
- Getting there takes a while (but what fun!)
- Rates are not cheap (but they're full board and include various activities)
- The beach is quite narrow, especially at high tide
- There are no safe boxes in the rooms, instead valuables and money can be stored away at reception; we had absolutely no concerns during our stay and felt very relaxed
Best time to go
Our top tips
There's tremendous variety in the underwater scenery too: lush coral gardens in the shallows around Pemba, drop offs plummeting to 800m, and frequent 30- to 40-metre visibility. Hawskbill and green turtles often swim and rest on the reefs, while in deeper waters you might meet the large Napoleon Wrasse, giant groupers (up to 2m), pelagic game fish (tuna, jacks, wahoo, big shoals of barracuda), manta and eagle rays and even various species of shark.
- Beach Resort
- 18 rooms
- Over 12s welcome
- Closed: 15th April to 30th June
- Outdoor Pool
- Spa Treatments
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car not necessary
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Games room
There are 18 tented rooms set at intervals in the woods behind the beach; all are connected by sandy pathways lined by the lush jungle. Rooms on the hillside have a broader view and get a cooling breeze - there’s a sense of being in a jungle treehouse here - whereas the beachfront rooms are within a stone’s throw of the water.
Standard rooms have a wooden extended terrace ensuring privacy with sun chairs and steps leading up to the zippable, lockable canvas door. Inside is a wide double bed (or twin beds if you prefer) enveloped in a mosquito net, with a small electric fan on the inside. Alongside is a small sofa, table, and a simple wardrobe. Behind is a small bathroom with a sun-warmed shower and a nice supply of excellent organic shampoos and gels. Fluffy towels and light kimonos are provided. A thatched roof covers the whole room, while the floor is made from wooden slats.
There are 2 Suites - one by the beach, the other a minute's walk away in the jungle - these are larger with a thatched 'chill-out area' and a small plunge pool. Best of all are the 4 Superior Suites. They're all right on the beachfront, with even larger decks, plunge pools and open-plan lounges. Interiors are what you might call shabby Afro-chic - simple but elegant, with furniture from Malawi and local pieces. Bathrooms in aqua and white have a double shower and basins.
Wherever you stay, do bear in mind that you are in the jungle. You may come across a crab waving his pincers at you outside your room, or an unwanted insect inside; but, then again, you get to sleep in one of the softest, widest beds imaginable. Altogether this is camping made very comfortable.
- Mosquito net
Meals are served in an open-sided, palm-thatched dining area with views over the woods and the sea. The cuisine, which varies daily, is mainly international in style, but there tends to be a one or two Swahili dishes on the menu each day and the chefs use local ingredients.
Breakfast is a buffet spread with an excellent array of cakes, biscuits, croissants, fruit, fresh juices, teas and coffee, plus cereals and yoghurt. A cooked breakfast can be ordered, including a full English, eggs, omelettes and delicious pancakes.
For lunch and dinner, there is a choice of 3 or 4 dishes for each of the 3 courses, with a vegetarian option always available. At lunchtime we dipped into a light salad with strips of tomato, pepper, onion and roast beef, and a chocolate-covered pancake for the sweet-tooth. Dinner might include a sushi starter, followed by a seafood platter with rice, and a fruit salad to finish off. We particularly enjoyed the ‘Beach BBQ’ evening during which we feasted on lobster, sailfish and spicy roasted vegetable skewers. For an ultra-romantic evening, a private candlelit beach dinner can be arranged.
Fresh passion- and mango-juice make an abstemious alternative to the (mostly South African) wines - especially if you’ve indulged on the pre-dinner cocktails served at the jetty bar during sunset.
- All meals included
- Vegetarian options
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Scuba diving
- Scuba diving courses
- Traditional cultures
- Walking tours
Fundu Lagoon is set deep in the calm inlet of Wambaa, at the southern end of Pemba Island.
Zanzibar (100km) is the main airport on Zanzibar, from where there are 2 daily Cessna flights to Pemba’s Chake Chake Airport (20km) (a.k.a Karume Airport). Flights also run from the airstrip at Tanga. Failing that, chartering your own little plane is not exorbitant.
From the Airport
The resort staff meet you with a minibus-taxi to take you to the coast near Chake Chake, where you hop into a waiting yellow speedboat. This whisks you in 15-20 minutes to the resort itself.
Alternatively you can catch the ferry from Stone Town on Zanzibar to Pemba’s Mkoani port (but this is slow and rather unreliable), and the resort speedboat from there. See Rates for transfer details.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.
- Pemba Karume Airport 20.0 km PMA
- Zanzibar 100.0 km ZNZ
- Beach 0.0 km
- Shops 5.0 km
- Restaurant 5.0 km