Zanzibar Hotels

Matemwe Beach Village

The Matemwe beach village is a small guesthouse located on the North-east coast of Zanzibar.

Rooms are simple but very comfortable. All rooms are en-suite and have ceiling fans and mosquito nets. There are seven standard rooms near the ocean front and ten set further back which still give a glimpse of the sea. There are also a number of popular suites that offer a more luxurious night’s sleep including the Asali honeymoon suite with its own plunge pool and dedicated staff.

The guest house boasts a restaurant and lounge bar (all in one) which look out over the beach. Food is served in various parts of the resort which adds interest. Twice a week it is served in the ‘boma’ around a bonfire. Literally meaning ‘enclosure’ this is an area surrounded by a fence similar in style to the traditional thorn fences that surround Maasai villages. Sometimes dinner is served on the beach. Food comes highly recommended both for its quality and variety (though individual menus are not extensive they change regularly). The hotel uses fresh locally sourced produce. The bar is reasonably priced though wine tends to be more expensive. It is a very relaxed hub with books and games and comfortable cushions; a perfect chill-out spot.

Staff at Matemwe village are helpful and friendly. They offer an imaginative service with delightful attention to detail. In many rooms hats and sarongs are even provided for guests to use, and staff may also leave a bedtime story in your room for you to read each night. The hotel is clean and well managed and the staff’s more relaxed style of service ensures that they remain unobtrusive.

The hotel’s pool is ideal for swimming when the tide is out. Low tide in this region makes swimming impossible as the water is very shallow even 100m down the beach. There is a PADI dive centre on site at the hotel so this is a very popular activity among guests (dives must be booked in advance through Zanzibar One Ocean in order to ensure your desired dates are free). Gary and Gail who run the hotel are also expert divers (they run the dive centre) so hotel guests can be sure that they are in good hands. Scuba practice is encouraged in the pool.

Other activities on offer include reef walks and village tours. A number of excursions can be organised though not directly through the hotel. Every Thursday the Beach Village recreates the Forodhani food market, a Stone Town tradition that takes place in the Forodhani Gardens, around its pool. Guests can explore the stalls and try various traditional flavours from all over Zanzibar.

Excursions and water-sports are not cheap, but they are well-worth splashing out on! The services offered are professional, friendly and very well managed.

Getting to Matemwe Beach Village

The Matemwe Beach Village is approximately an hour from Stone Town by road. The lodge provide transfers from Stone Town at 0700 and 1000 and back at 0830 and 1130. The hotel will organize specific transfers for a charge of around USD 50 each way. Alternatively one can take the number 118 daladala (a mini-bus used by locals) from Stone Town, though this is not recommended unless you have a robust constitution. For those looking for a true experience of Zanzibari life it may appeal however.

The drive is mainly on smooth tarmac roads, but for the last twenty minutes may be a rougher ride. The approach to the resort can appear unnervingly rough, but don’t be alarmed.

The poverty of the areas that one drives through to reach the island’s resorts can be disquieting. Locals may be seen hanging on to the back of daladalas and stray animals often roam the roads. Though the tourist industry with its luxury may seem hypocritical, the work of development funds and eco-tourism projects ensure that the locals reap some of the benefits of tourism’s financial gains.

<< Azanzi Beach Hotel

Central East Coast Hotels >>