Thanda Island

4.9 /5
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Thanda Island is a private marine reserve situated between Mafia Island and the mainland of Tanzania, reachable only by boat or helicopter. This beautiful jewel, sparkling in azure waters surrounded by protected coral reef and spectacular sea life, is home to a large family villa and two bandas – perfect accommodation for a group of friends or family travelling together for an unforgettable holiday or special occasion. The island is for the exclusive use of one set of guests at a time, meaning you have the villa, the bandas and the facilities all to yourselves.

‘Thanda’ means ‘love’ in the Zulu language and this paradise offers up plenty to fall in love with. Between October and March, dive in search of massive but gentle whale sharks and five species of sea turtles (Thanda Island is involved with Eco Ocean, a research unit that uses GoPro footage to identify individual whale sharks for conservation while green and hawksbill turtles nest on the island).

When you are back on land, the choices seem endless: enjoy the indoor aquarium, tickle the ivories of the Steinway grand piano, savour something from the wine collection and cigar humidor, take a dip in the glass-rimmed infinity pool (or a soak in the copper beach bathtubs), drop a few aces on the tennis court, hit the gym or take a bird walk to watch nesting egrets protect their fragile baby-blue eggs… When you feel peckish, the chef and butler can rustle up anything from a barbeque with cocktails to a gourmet pizza straight out of the oven.

And although Thanda Island is all about indulgence, it has a serious side, too. It is 100% off-grid, harvests solar energy, collects rainwater, reuses greywater for irrigation of the kitchen garden and has an on-site desalination plant.

The villa has five bedrooms with king-sized beds (extras can be arranged for children) while the bandas each have their own king-sized bed. Excursions to Chole Island, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam can be arranged. The Mafia Island Marine Park is the largest reserve in the warm Indian Ocean with at least 15 metres / 50 feet of visibility around renowned dive sites like Kinasi Pass, the Milimani Coral Gardens and Chole Wall.


  • Private island retreat in marine reserve
  • Perfect for families or groups of friends
  • Tennis court, gym, spa & extensive support team
  • Phenomenal waterlife for snorkelling & diving including turtles & whale sharks in season
  • 100% off-grid with solar energy & rainwater harvestin


  • Day tours
  • Spa treatments
  • Beach activities
  • Boat excursions
  • Diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Bird watching
  • Restaurants within walking distance
  • Scuba diving
Thanda Island offers a truly pristine paradise for you to enjoy in complete privacy with friends & family, providing a true Robinson Crusoe remote island get-away
Monique Wilson

Monique Wilson

Africa Safari Expert

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Each of the five bedrooms in the main villa is spacious and beautifully furnished in cool tones of white, stone and sand. The king-sized 4-poster beds with romantic netting face the Indian Ocean while hand-picked art graces the walls. The bathrooms are en suite and have deep free-standing tubs, some with a view of the beach, as well as outdoor tubs and showers.

Extra beds for children can be arranged on request.


Thanda Island is a playground for adults and children alike. Outdoors there is a glass-edge infinity pool, copper bathtubs on the beach, a floodlit tennis court with an artificial lawn, a yoga sala, a telescope for stargazing, a beach volleyball court and the helipad.

Indoors, music lovers can play piano (a Steinway grand) or guitar, or hook up their mobile phones to the wireless Bose amplifier. There is a library with an extensive collection of classic Ernest Hemingway novels, a cigar humidor, table-tennis facilities and an aquarium. The air-conditioned gym has equipment for running, cycling, weight training and boxing. At the spa treatment beds, Healing Earth amenities are used, which contain African ingredients like mongongo nuts, anti-oxidising Pinotage grape (a uniquely South African cultivar) and the hydrating Kalahari melon from Botswana.

Island destinations are synonymous with water sports and Thanda offers snorkelling (PADI on request with a dive instructor who can speak English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, Dutch and Swahili); sailing; kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.

There is Wi-Fi and mobile phone connectivity.

Depending on your needs and the number of guests in your party, Thanda Island has an extensive roster of staff available including a chef, butler, hostess, housekeeper, babysitter, barman, boat crew, snorkelling guide, PADI instructor, tennis coach and a masseuse.


Think tropical island and fragrant coconut-milk curries, fresh papayas, deep-pink watermelons and sweet pineapples immediately spring to mind. In addition, the chef at Thanda Island can whip up homemade ice-cream, refreshing sorbets, and handmade yoghurt and muesli. In the evenings, head to the traditional pizza oven for authentic pizzas made with flour imported from Italy and topped with prosciutto di parma. On other nights, tuck into traditional Swahili grills and curries or Arabian flavours under the Bedouin tent.

There is an alfresco cocktail bar, barbeque area, outside breakfast boma and a bonfire pit for enjoying nightcaps.

General facilities

  • Air conditioning
  • Laundry service
  • Spa
  • Wi-fi available

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