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AndBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge, Zanzibar: A Private Island Paradise

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, Zanzibar

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 12 bandas (bungalows) for 24 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).

That wraps up our andBeyond Mnemba Island Lodge review!

We’re not the only ones who love this luxury Zanzibar resort.

Other Mnemba Island reviews also give high marks to the lodge.

It was named Zanzibar’s leading resort in the 2022 World Travel Awards. And it’s previously won awards from Conde Nast Traveler and other prestigious publications.

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).

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!

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!