“A budget guesthouse on an endless sandy beach, with live music, excellent seafood and simple rooms”
The bedrooms are nothing special: a dozen or so simple, somewhat institutional rooms arranged in 3 buildings around a central courtyard. But they are well equipped for the money, and you should get a decent night’s sleep, which is what matters.
All rooms have ensuite bathroom with shower (hot water), flushing toilet and an elegant wooden-mounted basin. The beds have firm, unsprung mattresses and mosquito nets, and you’ll find air-con, ceiling fan, a simple wooden wardrobe and a small fridge. But they do vary considerably in size and charm…
Kamilo: is our favourite, and we'd say it's worth the extra money. It has great sea views, but does lack some privacy, being next to the path from the courtyard to the dining room. It is composed of 2 parts, a sitting area and bedroom; and there is a bathroom at the back.
Abdi Karume Bungalow and Bi Mtumwas’s Suite are newer additions: we haven't seen them yet, but the former is spread over 2 floors by the beach, while the later has a comfy kingsize bed. Sleeping no more than 2 people each, they both sound suited to those seeking a couple's bolthole.
Dikoni, Michamvi, Gomani, Mlango Mkuu: These 4 large rooms are in a separate building near the dining room, facing the sea. The first 2 rooms have 1 double bed and sea views, the latter 2 have a double and a single bed (with space for an additional single bed), and side views.
Bui, Amu: situated at the rear end of the courtyard, away from the beach, these rooms are quiet and nicely decorated, especially Bui. Bui has 1 double bed which can be replaced with 2 singles on request, while Amu can accommodate a couple or 3 people (appears in both the Double and Triple category).
Kingama, Zangine: Also at the rear of the courtyard, but slightly less appealing, Kingama has 1 double bed and a single, while Zangine has a double bed and space for a baby cot.
Bandani A/B, Cham, Igogo, Chopra: Situated in a separate, school-like wing off the court, these single and double / twin rooms are small and charmless, especially the first 2. They have corrugated iron rooves rather than thatch, and a probably best suited to chilled out backpackers.
Mahfudh usually pre-allocates rooms when booking so, using our list, you know what to request / expect.
This is what you came here for! Fresh seafood - kingfish, barracuda, tuna, squid, octopus, prawns, lobster - is bought from the local fishermen every day and cooked by Mama Naila and her helpers, using Swahili recipes with an extra zing. Curries and fresh spices feature large, as does oil and batter (you can request oil-free dishes if you want). Our fish brochettes, battered squid, spicy prawns and grilled octopus count among the yummiest fare we tasted on Zanzibar - and that includes hotel meals costing 5 times as much. If you overorder, Naila can make a cumin, lemongrass and honey tea to help your digestion.
Breakfast, which is included in the room rates, consists of fruit, juices, cakes, bread, jam and hot drinks. All meals are taken in a lovely dining room with a vaulted wood-and-thatch ceiling and curved windows to the sea. On some evenings there's musical entertainment.
The Spice Legends bar offers an impressive range of smoothies, cocktails and coffees and the chance to watch live music in the evenings. During the day refreshments are brought to the poolside.
If you want to eat out try Paje beach 3km north, where you'll find a good variety of restaurants and bars.
The staff are wonderfully attentive to children’s needs. There’s a small menagerie in the garden with tortoises and turtle doves, and the beach is less then a minute away (a gate separates it from the hotel). The larger rooms would suit families and can sleep 4 or 5. Toddlers go free (cots are provided), and extra beds are available at an additional cost.
Children (4-12 years)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Baby cots are available on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking