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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

10 Wonderful Things about Mnemba Island in Zanzibar

Mnemba Island is a breathtaking private island and a hidden gem in Zanzibar, steeped in history and culture to entice tourist seafarers, adventurers, and traders from across the globe.

Situated about 3 km off the northeast coast of Unguja, this triangular-shaped island has been a romantic hideaway and a century trade center for spices, consequently known as “spice island.” 

You’ll discover in this post ten (10) beautiful things at this sheer, unpretentious paradise.

1. Barefoot luxury – rustic chic beachside bandas

Mnemba Island is a barefoot island haven with 12 rustics and natural chic beachside banda tucked into the tropical forest of the shimmering ocean.

The bandas, which accommodate twenty-four guests at once, cover a walkway leading to a shuttered ensuite bathroom with a glass-beaded curtain.

Woodcarvings and scrolled headboards created by skilled artisans on the island beautify the beds in the bandas.

These naturally stylish beach bandas are encircled by a white coral sand beach, making it a spot for relaxation.

Facilities 

The beachside bandas comprises 24 rooms measuring 94m2 with a private bar, mosquito nets, private verandah, overhead fans, separate W.C, and other facilities.

The room also comprises a hairdryer, in-room telephones, twin bed, private beach sala, triple bed option for children below 16 years, and 220V plug point.

2. Oval spectacular coral reefs

Mnemba Island, surrounded by an oval reef, serves as a marine conservation area that is seven by four kilometers in size.

The reefs on the island, sometimes called Mnemba Atoll, were declared a marine conservation area in 2002. 

This marine conservation area is a protected area that officially demarcates fishing, snorkeling, diving, etc.

Since the Atoll supports a variety of marine life, MIMCA began operation in 2005 to minimize the rate of net fishing in the low waters off the coral reefs.  

NB: MIMCA means Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area

3. Intrepid and action-packed water sports

Mnemba Island, with its diversity of corals and connected species, is a popular site for exciting water sports, mainly scuba diving, boat tour, and snorkeling.

A half-day tour is perfect for watersport enthusiasts to snorkel and scuba dive. It offers very calm conditions from November through March.  

Diving and snorkeling is a year-round event on Mnemba Island, with visibilities of 20 to 40 meters as the norm.

You will get a dive school with professional dive instructors for expert guidance on this island.

Mnemba Island Diving Sites

Kichwani reef 

Kichwani reef is a clear, deep, float dive from 20 to 40 meters offering many coral species like a honeycomb, mushroom, staghorn coral, etc.

Diving from a particular height is dependent on the divers’ experience, and one can see trumpet fish, reef sharks, and reef fish below 30 meters.

  • Wattabomi site

Wattabomi is an ideal site for snorkels and novice divers consisting of schools of small reef fish, Moorish idols, Bluestreak cleaner wrasse, lionfish, etc.

These well-camouflaged fish lie on their side buried in the sand serving as a superb photographic opportunity.

  • Aquarium site

The aquarium is a 20 meters depth site, and there is usually a small current on the site with patches of sandy bottom occurring close to the reef.

Marines close to the reef include Moorish idols, surgeonfishes, groupers, parrotfish, large hawksbill, green turtle, etc.  

  • The West Gardens site: is a 12-meter depth site for snorkel and amateur divers.
  • The Big Wall site: is a 30 meters depth site that shows diver’s species of bluefin trevally pelagic schools’ of the rainbow runner while descending.

Drifting along the edge of the vertical wall, you will see some overhangs and tiny caves frequently filled with lobsters.   

4. Tranquil yoga sessions and wellness 

Mnemba Island is an exclusive vacation paradise for yoga that captivates the very essence of Africa and awakens the senses.

Most times, guests who visit Mnemba Island only want to relax and take a break with massage and yoga on the beach.

While exploring the island, engage in spiritual awakening and wellness activities on the beach’s sand for a holistic connection that soothes the soul. 

5. Breakfast tray & romantic candlelit dinners

Another wonderful thing about Mnemba Island is that visitors will enjoy breakfast trays and romantic candlelit dinner delivered to the beach banda.

The teeming tray comprises freshly squeezed juice, tropical fruit, and Tanzanian coffee for those ready to indulge in a lie-in as breakfast.

Private Butler can discreetly present chilled champagne and fresh sushi to guests wanting to celebrate the sunset in privacy.

With waves lapping at guests’ feet, private butlers can help organize romantic candlelit dinners on the beach.

6. Charming Dhow cruise

At Mnemba Island, you will drift across the horizon while enjoying a traditional vessel sailing cruise with one or more masts, settees, or lateen sails.

Dhow cruising creates a unique vibe that makes your stay wonderful on this exclusive island, whether slanting or triangular sails.

Note: Your private adventure rate includes the cost for sundowners dhow cruise.

7. Seasonal turtle hatching and nestling 

Among the wonders of Mnemba island is the seasonal turtle nesting and hatchings, occurring year-round with hatchlings emerging approximately 55 days after.

While relaxing at the romance of dusk encircled by a vast expanse of sky above and ocean blues, you will stand a chance to spot adult turtles.

8. Four distinct habitats

The marine reserve area consists of four habitats: palmate sea fan, table coral, honeycomb, and coral reefs.  

It houses an array of Indian Ocean wildlife like blue-striped snapper, ribbon eels, yellowfin fusiliers, etc. 

9. An array of Indian Ocean wildlife

Though Mnemba is a small private island, it boasts an impressive range of wildlife around the island’s beaches.

The habitats in the Mnemba Island preserve marine wildlife like Suni antelope, threatened green turtle, etc.

Indian Ocean wildlife on Mnemba Island

Some Indian Ocean wildlife nesting on this island include;

  • Endangered green sea turtles that lay eggs between February – September
  • Three species of dolphin
  • Humpback whales
  • 600 kinds of coral reef fish
  • Shorebirds feeding and roosting on the island
  • Whale sharks

10. Stretches of white coral beaches

Another wonder to behold at Mnemba Island is the stretches of coral reefs – underwater ecosystems marked by reef-building corals.

The evening colors of the coral reefs, from burning orange to pink hues, with slashes of deep indigo slashes sloping downwards into inky black, will captivate you.  

Mnemba Island at a Glance

Mnemba Island is an exclusive island located three kilometers off the northeast coast of Zanzibar and 500 meters in length, opposite Muyuni Beach.

The island, a romantic hideaway, has available WiFi, twelve large bandas and is 1.5 kilometers in circumference.

It is the largest in the Zanzibar archipelago and is generally triangular.

Mnemba ownership and management

Mnemba is one of the islands in the Zanzibar archipelago owned and managed by andBeyond, otherwise known as &Beyond.

The island is one of the bare-foot luxury exclusives in Zanzibar that ranges from $1045 to $1395 individually per night.  

Note that the private island doesn’t allow non-guests even 200-meter omission zone around the island. It also has a post-safari getaway and iconic island destination.

Things to do on Mnemba island

There is a vast-ranging adventure for tourists who want to explore this island either on a day or several days tour, and they include:]

  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Sea kayaking
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Wellness treatment and yoga
  • Bubblemaker activities for young children, among others. 

Getting to Mnemba Island:

  • The cottage picks guests at Zanzibar International Airport or Stone Town
  • 1½-hour road trip with the last 20 minutes been on an unpaved, bumpy road
  • 10 – 15 minutes ferry ride in an open ski boat
  • Since there are no jetties, departure and landings are to and from the beach.

Again, ferry transfers depend on the weather, and crossing the channel is not safe when dark.

Conclusion

Whether personal or group immersive, long-stay journey, it doesn’t cost the earth to explore all the wonders of Mnemba and its quintessential island experience with breathtaking sights.

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