If you have ever harboured the secret wish of finding yourself the sole inhabitant of a beautiful tropical island, but without the effort of having to lift a finger to fend for yourself, &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge is just the place for you!
Discover sheer, unpretentious paradise on this private island, where the simple pleasures become your most treasured of memories for many years to come.
Relax and unwind in the exclusivity of your own stretch of beachfront, where simple yet luxurious bandas peep out onto unblemished sands from the dappled shade of the casuarina pine forest.
- Some of Africa’s best dive sites on a coral atoll in a marine conservation area
- Snorkelling, swimming directly off the beach, as well as kayaking, windsurfing and deep sea fishing
Why visit &Beyond Mnemba Island
- Barefoot paradise on a private island with just ten guest bandas
- &Beyond Mnemba is a breeding site for the highly endangered green turtles
Set on a private island off the north eastern tip of Zanzibar, &Beyond Mnemba offers guests the perfect destination to get away from it all. With just ten palm-frond guest bandas on the entire island, the only intrusion may be a visit from a curious suni antelope or two at sundown. The balmy blue waters invite you to explore the surrounding Indian Ocean. With a dive school and two dive boats for just 20 guests, you will never feel crowded during your underwater adventure.
TOES IN THE SAND
Sea breezes waft through high palm-frond roofs and large windows in your beachside banda. Overhead fans in a spacious bedroom filled with soft, natural fabrics and traditional woodcarvings cool down the warm tropical nights. Enjoy ocean views stretched out on the built-in barazas (Swahili word for ‘meeting place’) on your veranda. A shady corridor of woven palm leaves leads to a large shuttered bathroom where a massive stone shower awaits behind a glass beaded curtain.
WHISPER OF WAVES
Open thatched dining and sitting areas provide the perfect place to watch the sun set. Deep pillows and low wooden tables open up onto majestic views of the white beach. Enjoy lunch served on large, wooden carved platters, while island crabs scuttle across the sand. Later, when the magnificent African sky lights up with stars, dinner is served on the beach, with the bright moonlight reflecting off the waves as they gently lap on the beach.
Situated in a coral atoll in the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area, &Beyond Mnemba Island and its surrounds boast a wealth of sea life and marine species. The coral reefs surrounding the island are home to a vast variety of reef fish, anemone and other marine specimens, while diverse pelagic fish and marine mammals thrive in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Humpback whales, as well as many species of dolphin, a number of shark and several types of ray are encountered in the ocean depths. A variety of predator fish in the area include barracuda, mackerel, kingfish, sailfish and marlin.
The island itself provides a nesting ground for the threatened green turtle, as well as many bird species, including the rare crab plover. The tiny suni antelope roams the forest in the centre of the island and the recently introduced and highly endangered Ader’s duiker may also be spotted on a walk around the island. Divers around Mnemba may encounter the world’s largest fish, the gigantic whale shark. Pods of dolphin are found in the warm tropical waters near &Beyond Mnemba, and snorkellers and divers at Mnemba often encounter these charismatic denizens of the deep at close range.
The highly endangered green turtle returns to its breeding grounds on &Beyond Mnemba year after year, travelling hundreds of kilometres to return to the very place where they were hatched. Under cover of dark, female turtles come onto the beach to dig a nest and lay its eggs above the high water line. Up to a hundred eggs will hatch after approximately sixty days, with the tiny reptiles rushing to reach the relative safety of the ocean.
One of the many creatures that prey on the baby turtles is the ghost crab, which scurries around the beach in a characteristic sideways motion in search of food. A number of bird species also take their toll on the hatchlings, with large numbers of wading species gathering on &Beyond Mnemba’s sandbars. Perhaps the rarest of these is the elegant crab plover, which disdains the baby turtles to feed primarily on crabs, which it cracks open easily with its powerful beak. Because of the endangered status of these animals, &Beyond staff carefully monitor and protect green turtle nests on the island.
True African hospitality lies at the core of &Beyond’s lodges and camps throughout the continent. The people of Africa, with their warm and welcoming nature and the ability to draw guests into their hearts, inspire, educate and enchant our guests every day.
A shared passion for extraordinary guest experiences unites all &Beyonders across Africa. For the staff members at &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge, there is no better way to spend the day than in making our guests’ safari dreams come true. Their pleasure in sharing your special moments is something that cannot be taught. They are the magic ingredient &Beyond Mnemba and their commitment to creating moments that take our guests’ breath away is genuine.
The coral atolls surrounding &Beyond Mnemba Island are rich with marine life and more than 430 species of fish can be seen on the house reef, a mere five-minute swim from the beach. Snorkelling guides can point out the best spots for exploration near the island. Resident dive instructors are on hand to take guests to the number of magnificent dive sites easily reached from &Beyond Mnemba and to point out the colourful tropical fish and other underwater marvels.
The Very Best Training
Training is a way of life at &Beyond – we train chefs, butlers, housekeepers, security and workshop staff with the same dedication that we do our field staff. While our staff is trained to provide the best possible service, their special way of creating extraordinary guest experiences comes straight from the heart. On &Beyond Mnemba, choice dishes will be cooked for your pleasure by a highly-skilled chef, perfectly trained butlers will attend to your every wish and expert dive instructors at the Island’s two dive schools will be standing by to share the marvels of the sea with you.
At &Beyond we seek to maintain a low impact on the land while deriving high yield for our conservation initiatives by creating very small luxury lodges that support enormous tracts of biodiverse land, which remains untouched. At every lodge we seek out small (and sometimes not so small) but meaningful ways of putting our values into action every day. Each &Beyond lodge supports the conservation of wildlife and contributes to its neighbouring communities in one way or another. In addition, we seek to limit our impact in terms of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy, water and waste management, and recycling.
At Mnemba Island Lodge seawater is desalinated for use on the island and local fishermen are sponsored to protect the surrounding reefs.
Experimental Fish Aggregating Devices
Mnemba Island provides financial and logistical support to an experimental program that has introduced six Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) into the waters west of north-eastern Zanzibar. These devices consist of a concrete anchor, nylon ropes and pressure floats, which combine to attract pelagic (deep ocean) fish. In time, it is hoped that local fishermen will be able to obtain sufficient catches of tuna and other species from the FADs, and reduce impact on the fragile coral reefs.
Fun Conservation Lessons at Mnemba Island
In order to protect and preserve the rich and fragile ecosystem of the Zanzibar Archipelago surrounding &Beyond’s beautiful Mnemba Island, the lodge has embarked on an ongoing campaign to inform and inspire the youth from the nearest community through interactive and exciting Conservation Lessons.
Mnemba Island Protects the Suni Antelope
Over 50 of the diminutive Suni antelope which live on Mnemba Island were captured and translocated to the Jozani Forest Reserve on the main island of Zanzibar. In the absence of any predation, the Suni had multiplied on Mnemba and were occurring at too high a density. Mnemba’s donation of these little antelope has improved the species’ status at Jozani.
Protection and Monitoring of Green Turtles
Mnemba Island provides a safe breeding refuge for Green Turtles which lay their eggs above the island’s high tide mark. Mnemba staff monitor and document all turtle breeding activities, and make their data available to local marine biologists. A number of individual turtles have been tagged under the auspices of the Zanzibar Dept of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Supporting Environmental Sustainability at Local Villages
Mnemba Island has no resident community but works closely with the villages of Matemwe and Kigini, situated on the main Zanzibar island. In addition to supporting schools and helping to develop vegetable gardens, Mnemba has erected a windmill and sponsors beach clean-ups. Financial support and housing for MIMCA staff has been provided and ways are explored to prevent over-utilisation of reef fishes.
A DAY AT MNEMBA
Days at &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge can be as active or as leisurely as you want them to. This private island paradise, with its white beaches and balmy Indian Ocean waters, invites you to lose all track of time. Activities and meals can always be tailor-made to your wishes and there are many ways to spend each ideal, sun-washed day. The following is just one suggestion for a perfect day at Mnemba.
- Breakfast – At a pre-arranged time, a friendly knock will sound on your door and morning tea and coffee will be delivered. As soon as you are ready, this will be followed by a delicious breakfast delivered directly to your banda. Feast on a selection of fruits and cheeses, as well as toast, jam and a selection of hot dishes cooked to order.
- Morning – Spend a leisurely morning on the beach, snorkelling along the nearby coral reefs or simply enjoying the sunshine. Keep a sharp lookout for a coconut crab, the largest arthropod that lives on land.
- Lunch – The guest areas provide a cool, shaded sanctuary for a light, refreshing lunch.
- Afternoon Dive – After a brief siesta, it’s time to meet our diving instructors and venture into the balmy ocean waters. A short boat ride takes you out to the reefs, where you can explore the colourful marine life. If you happen to spot a pod of dolphin, simply jump in and swim with these sociable sea creatures.
- Dinner – Back from your dive, wash off the salt in the glass beaded shower. There’s time to relax before a succulent seafood dinner, served right on the beach, with your toes in the sand. Stroll along the ocean’s edge before you drift off to sleep with the haunting sound of the waves playing in your head.