Set on Matemwe’s pristine palm-fringed shoreline with stretches of white-sand beach for miles on either side, this idyllic retreat on the north-east coast of Zanzibar comprises just four wooden bandas or bungalows perched right on the water’s edge. Afforded direct beach access, guests are cared for by a private butler, with a staff to guest ratio of one to one. The vast array of water sports available on the island means it is easy to find a happy balance between sun-worshipping and adventure activities, which include snorkelling, scuba diving and kite surfing. Spice tours to local farms and visits to Stone Town – with its intriguing history and architectural heritage – are fascinating Zanzibari cultural experiences that should also not be passed up.
Wake in the morning to the salt-scent and comforting sound of the azure ocean lapping the shoreline which fronts your ocean-front bungalow. On the privacy of your porch, soak up the magnificent sea views and enjoy a breakfast of fruit, pancakes and however-you-like-them eggs. Set out by boat for a thrilling reef dive at nearby Mnemba Island where tropical fish, rays and sharks swim among colourful clumps of coral in this underwater wonderland. Back on terra firma, ask the friendly barman to fix you a tall drink and make a toast to east Africa from the raised deck, where you can also enjoy a massage overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Arrange a trip to see the endemic red colobus monkeys and Zanzibari butterflies in their natural forest habitat or take a spiritually-fulfilling dolphin safari topped off with an extravagant lunch on a sandbank. At high tide go out with a snorkel and swim among a luminous assault of tropical fish in the lagoon. That evening, the chef sets up a beach barbeque for a dinnertime seafood feast, brought in on the dhows seen majestically sailing across the blue from dawn to dusk each day.