“This stylish little beach lodge on Pemba Island offers some of the best diving in Zanzibar”
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 and table, a minibar (rare in Zanzibar), a simple wardrobe and a safe-box, to which only you have the key (don’t lose it!). 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.