No doors, no keys (never any thefts), no worries. Yes, it’s true.
andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge is the quintessential private-island paradise – and a barefoot one too.
Paradise at Mnemba Island Lodge
There’s no question Zanzibar’s beaches are beautiful (on some you can go “reef walking.”
But tiny Mnemba Island – three miles off the northern coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania – wins the beautiful beach contest.
It’s ringed by blinding white sand as soft and fine as flour.
After we waded ashore from our speedboat, staff dressed in camel-colored shorts took our sandals as they welcomed us.
And we never needed footwear again during our stay.
The paths between buildings at the intimate eco-chic resort are all sand, you dine with your toes in the sand, and everyone goes barefoot, including staff.
Stay in an eco-chic banda
There are only 10 bandas (bungalows) for 20 privileged guests.
Walls and floors are made of woven grass mats, and roofs are thatched.
An open air “wall” in the living room is decorated with a hanging picture frame, where the view of the mangrove trees is the artwork.
A covered walkway leads from the bedroom to an open air bathroom (again, no wall), featuring a round coral-lined shower and mirrors hanging from the ceiling.
It’s one of the coolest hotel bathrooms we’ve encountered.
Staying in one of these bandas was the closest we’ve come to actually living outside (complete with a foot bath at the entry for rinsing off sand) – but with all the comforts!
Most everything is included in the rates – from laundry to private sundowner cruises in a traditional wooden dhow.
We especially loved that two scuba dives a day per person are included.
Have you ever enjoyed a private dive with your own guide? It’s quite a luxury.
Just a ten minute Zodiac ride from the island is a colorful reef garden where we saw clouds of silvery yellow-tailed snapper and plenty of feathery lionfish, trumpet fish, moray eels and an enormous well-camouflaged scorpion fish.
If you’d like to learn how to dive, andBeyond Mnemba Island has its own PADI dive school on site (supplemental).
Photo credits: andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge