Chumbe Island Coral Park 4 star near Stone Town
Chumbe Island Coral Park

Robinson Crusoe would have been fortunate to have landed on such an island! Chumbe has all the attractions of an island paradise - glorious coral reefs, waving palm trees, thick coral-rag forests, true island hospitality and sublime cuisine - but it's as far removed from a typical holiday resort as you'll get. There are no cocktail bars, catamarans, swimming pools, televisions or even electricity. If you're looking for entertainment it's all provided courtesy of nature.

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Chumbe Island is a small coral marine park located south-west of Stone Town with access restricted to 14 people. The boat to Chumbe leaves in the morning from Mbweni Ruins Hotel and takes about half an hour to get to the island.

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Make no mistake – this is a proactive eco friendly project in every manner of means. The seven bungalows, or eco-bandas, are set a reasonable distance apart from each other and only a few paces down a sandy path to the ocean. The structures have been built using natural materials and have won numerous awards for their eco-friendly design.

Casuarina poles have been lashed together with coconut rope forming secure walls, and the roof has been constructed with palm fronds layered into sheets. There is an upstairs bedroom with a cupboard and a mattress on the floor underneath a flowing mosquito net. You have magnificent sea views as one side of the room is open, with a blind to pull down if required. Downstairs is a lounge area, which is decorated with African art, an extremely comfortable hammock and some chairs. The lounge is also open, allowing the gentle ocean breezes in. Leading off the lounge is a small bathroom with a hot-water shower, toilet and basin.

Lights and hot water all run off solar power as there is no electricity on the island. To aid ventilation in hot weather the banda roofs have been shaped to act as wind funnels, ensuring you stay cool and comfortable while indoors on a hot day.


· Educational facility for school groups
· Upper-level lounge area in lodge
· Small Library


· Guided snorkelling trips and forest walks
· Climb to the top of the lighthouse and watch the
..sun go down
· The staff can also arrange a variety of guided day
..trips to Stone Town and mainland Zanzibar

Your own bad jokes with some good company!

This is a fantastic place to sample traditional Swahili cuisine. The food is delicious and plentiful. Dishes include seafood and chicken, and there is always a good selection of vegetables cooked in delicious spices and coconut milk. Fresh bread is baked daily and fruit is served for dessert. Breakfast is served on a terrace, which overlooks the sea.

Amazing to think it's all prepared without the use of electric ovens and fridges! All the meals are cooked over a coal oven and ice is brought in daily to cool drinks. Fruit, vegetables and groceries are brought in from Zanzibar daily.

Although Chumbe Island allows children we do not recommend this as a family destination, particularly families with young children.

This is undoubtedly one of the most blissfully rustic and romantic places to stay! Voted most romantic Eco-Lodge (Harpers Abroad November 2003 supplement, Harpers & Queen).

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