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AndBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge on Zanzibar

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.

andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge

Paradise at Mnemba Island Lodge

There’s no question Zanzibar’s beaches are beautiful (on some you can go “reef walking.”

Starfish on Mnemba Island

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.

Stand-up paddleboarding at Mnemba Island

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.

Banda at andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge, Zanzibar

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!

Scuba diving

Scuba diving at Mnemba Island Lodge

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).

Experience more of Zanzibar!

What to do | Zanzibar’s attractions extend beyond the beach. See the cute monkeys in Jozani Monkey Forest! And go on a spice tour. Perhaps try kitesurfing too?

Stone Town | Check out these 17 spellbinding things to do in Stone Town.

Other Zanzibar beach resorts | We also loved our stays at the sultan-like Baraza Resort & Spa and The Palms (very romantic and for adults only).

Ultimate Africa guide

How to choose where to go on safari? What’s the best way to hike up Table Mountain in Cape Town? Where to stay in Victoria Falls?

Get the full scoop on planning a luxury trip to Africa, complete with fabulous itineraries, in our free Africa Travel Guide & Safari Planner

Photo credits: andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge

About the authors

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!


Sunday 4th of May 2014

Wow, everything looks gorgeous! Frank (bbqboy)

Jenn Smith Nelson

Thursday 2nd of January 2014

The idea of being barefoot during a whole vacation is sooooo appealing ....

Janice Mucalov

Saturday 4th of January 2014

It was so relaxing...

Irene Levine

Thursday 2nd of January 2014

Looks like a magical place!

Janice Mucalov

Saturday 4th of January 2014

Indeed it is!