Zanzibar Hotels

Ras Nungwi

Located on the northernmost tip of Zanzibar, Ras Nungwi is a four-star resort offering accommodation in Lodge Rooms or Chalets, and is one of our very favourite options on the island. The packages on offer are just short of luxury. It is the resort’s idyllic location and its careful attitude that give it its rating and its price tag. Accommodation is half-board (breakfast and dinner included) though the restaurant offers lunch at an extra cost.

Accommodation and Service at Ras Nungwi

Standard Lodge rooms do not have a sea view and overlook the hotel gardens. While pleasant, this can prove a disappointment to those travelling to this part of Zanzibar; renowned for its beaches and its oceanic scenery. All rooms feature, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, hair dryers, electronic safes, balconies and en suite bathrooms. The Chalets have an ocean view and are fitted with mini-bars also. Superior Chalets are also equipped with CD players. The more expensive the chalet, the nearer to the ocean it is. The most extravagant accommodation offered by Ras Nungwi is its flagship Ocean Suite. This is a 200m2 self-contained apartment with a private terrace and plunge pool, direct beach access and stunning ocean views.

Rooms are clean and comfortable. Their simple and traditional décor lends them a peaceful atmosphere. Telephone and internet services are available in communal areas/ at reception. Staff are diligent and conscientious, though those used to luxury holidays may be under-whelmed by the level of service on offer and Ras Nungwi. Service is less attentive and personal, and more characteristic of the laid back regional attitude than one might expect. An example of this being that the (mainly) local staff have limited English (as they do in many resorts in this region) and individual requests, if not directed to management, may get lost or misinterpreted.

Food and Drink at Ras Nungwi

The hotel is proud of its top quality restaurant serving locally sourced sea food among other things. The menu is various and well thought out. The resort’s extensive wine-list comprises of award-winning wines from South African vineyards and a selection of Champagnes (wine list available here). While the evening meals at Ras Nungwi are excellent, breakfast is less exciting. Though fresh and filling (the buffet is extensive) it does not reflect the overall attention to superior food that the resort boasts.

What’s on offer at Ras Nungwi

The resort offers and promotes a variety of activities to its guests. Excursions to Stone Town, Spice Plantations and the Jozani Forest and mountain bike hire are on offer, as well as dhow trips, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, kiting and other water-sports (all organised through the hotel’s own water sports centre, which we feel is one a very small handful of clear leaders island-wide). The hotel also has a Spa which comes highly recommended, though is not cheap. Rates for all water sports are easily found online and the hotel is refreshingly open about any extra charges which guests are likely to incur.

The unspoilt beaches are great for bathing, catching the sun or strolling along. On site past-times include, pool, satellite television, board games, table-tennis and darts. There is a boutique in the resort as well if you need to buy gifts (prices may be higher than at local shops / markets).

The hotel works extensively with the local community. The Nungwi village is home to some 8,000 residents. Like many of the larger resorts the hotel supports a local development fund and sponsors local football teams. It has also aided local conservation work through lobbying.

How to get to Ras Nungwi

Nungwi is approximately an hour’s drive from either Stone Town or Zanzibar Airport and the hotel will happily arrange transfers for guests for an extra cost of around USD 40 one way. Alternatively, a shared mini bus runs from Stone Town daily for around USD 10 or one can opt to travel in a daladala (route 116). These bus-come-trucks can take far longer (up to three hours) and are not comfortable. However, they are cheap and if you are looking for a real-life Zanzibari experience you might consider them.

The drive winds through poor parts of Zanzibar and can be disheartening to tourists, especially considering the almost hypocritical luxury on offer at many of Zanzibar’s resorts. It is important to remember that this country is still developing and that some disquieting scenes are to be expected.

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Ras Nungwi's restaurant and lounging area offers access to one of the better Internet connections on the island.