Skip to content
Unguja Lodge, Zanzibar Island

Unguja Lodge

Unguja Lodge is an intimate and peaceful retreat away from Zanzibar's busier beaches. Owner-run by Ralph and Elies, it offers a very personal service with friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere. Accommodation is in characterful thatched villas that offer privacy and space to relax during the heat of the day, while the lodge's five star PADI dive center allows you to explore the vibrant marine life found beneath the waves. The lodge is well integrated into the Kizimkazi community and guests can sit and watch the local fishermen go about their daily business.

Our rating: First Class

Speak to someone
who's been there

Audley Travel specialist David

Start planning your tailor-made trip by contacting one of our Zanzibar Archipelago specialists

Rooms

There are three different styles of villa at the lodge, but each consists of spacious bedrooms with double or twin beds, mosquito nets and ceiling fans, as well as a sitting room, spacious shower room, separate toilet and a second floor with a double Zanzibari bed where you can rest and relax. Sea View Villas offer stunning direct sea views and private terraces directly overlooking the Menai Bay (it's worth noting that one of these rooms is set back 40 meters from the cliff edge); Baobab Villas are oriented towards the garden and the big baobab trees, although they still have sea views from the upper floor, featuring a private plunge pool and air conditioning in the bedroom; while Sea View Family Villas can accommodate up to six people, featuring a shared lounge, double bedroom an en suite bathroom downstairs, and two smaller en suite twin bedrooms (which can be converted into doubles).

Location

Unguja Lodge on Zanzibar's southern coast is fairly secluded, situated on a cliff looking out to sea. The sea comes right up to the drop off at certain times of the day, making for spectacular views as the sun sets. When the tide recedes you can walk from your room down to the soft white sand below.

Food and drink

Ralph and Elies put a real focus on the food served at Unguja. They eat in the restaurant most nights themselves, which is understandable as the chef is fantastic, combining traditional Zanzibari methods with ideas from other cultures. Breakfast and lunch are served in a buffet style and supper is a set menu. We can heartily recommend the lobster! The lodge also has a well-stocked bar, providing you with refreshing drinks as you enjoy the sunset.

Families

The family villas can accommodate up to six people in the three bedrooms, so is great for larger families. There's also no minimum age for children.

Facilities and activities

Unguja has a library, an outdoor swimming pool and a PADI certified dive center offering diving and snorkeling trips, including night dives. The location of Unguja was chosen specifically so that guests would have accessibility to good diving spots, many of which were discovered by this lodge and are rarely visited by other divers. As well as diving and snorkeling, you can enjoy surfing, dolphin watching, island visits and guided village tours. The lodge also offers a laundry service, and Wi-Fi can be accessed around the restaurant area.

Environmental and social responsibility

The lodge strives to have minimal impact on the local environment and made sure that the scrub land on which it was built continued to grow around the buildings rather than having it all cleared. This has meant that wildlife still uses this habitat, and you may be able to spot animals such as blacktail monkeys, red colobus monkeys and a variety of birdlife and butterflies.

Our opinion

Unguja is a relaxing, laid-back place to base yourself for a few days on the Zanzibari coast. The food is excellent and is one of the main reasons to stay, along with the excellent diving opportunities.

Zanzibar Island tour ideas

Nearby accommodation

Nearby places

Places & hotels on the map

    Alternative places to stay nearby

    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

    • Baraza, Zanzibar Island

      Baraza Resort & Spa

      Deluxe

      Baraza is a unique boutique resort built in a distinctive Swahili design. There are Indian and Arabic influences clearly present too in the curated antiques, handmade Zanzibari furniture and elaborate architecture.

    • Pool, Breezes Beach Club & Spa, Zanzibar Island

      Breezes Beach Club & Spa

      First Class

      A stay at Breezes Beach Club & Spa makes for a true Zanzibari experience. Set on soft white sands, it offers guests the chance to completely unwind whilst still providing a good range of activities for those who need a break from the beach.

    • Essque Zalu, Zanzibar Island

      Essque Zalu

      Deluxe

      The emphasis here is on luxury and high levels of service. The property has been beautifully designed with all modern comforts without losing a traditional African feel.

    • Kilindi, Zanzibar Island

      Kilindi

      Deluxe

      Overlooking the sparkling sea, sprinkled with traditional dhow boats, the focus at Kilindi Zanzibar is on great service, exclusivity, fantastic fine dining and rooms that are so lovely you won’t want to leave them.

    • Pool and view, Matemwe Bungalows

      Matemwe

      First Class

      Matemwe is a small friendly hotel, built on a low coral cliff overlooking the ocean. The beach has dazzling snow white sand and is very picturesque with its small fishing village.

    • Pool at Pongwe Beach Hotel

      Pongwe Beach Hotel

      Medium

      Pongwe is a peaceful, simple hotel. While perhaps not the best place for party animals, it is ideal for those who enjoy their food and want a relaxed beach experience.

    • Zanzibar Serena Hotel, Stone Town

      Serena Inn

      First Class

      The Serena has an unbeatable location overlooking the Indian Ocean but remaining in the heart of town. It is a superb hotel from which to explore and is a peaceful place to relax if the hustle and bustle of Stone Town gets a bit too much.

    • Shooting Star Lodge, beach bar

      Shooting Star Lodge

      Medium

      Pretty and peaceful, this beachside lodge on Zanzibar’s northeast coast provides simple but relaxing accommodation in spacious cottages. With friendly hosts and tasty Zanzibari food, it makes a rewarding end to a safari, but can also be a welcome escape in its own right.

    • Beach dining at The Palms, Zanzibar Island

      The Palms

      Deluxe

      The Palms is exquisite. It is small, stylish and the staff are excellent. It is perfect for those looking for an exclusive, romantic getaway. We warmly recommend it.

    • The Residence Zanzibar, Zanzibar Island

      The Residence Zanzibar

      Deluxe

      The Residence Zanzibar is a beautiful property situated on the southwest coast of Zanzibar near Kizimkazi village. The villas are spread out across the property, each with its own private pool and sunbathing decking area for complete relaxation.

    • Zanzibar Palace Hotel,Stone Town

      Zanzibar Palace Hotel

      First Class

      Tucked away in the Kiponda area of Stone Town, Zanzibar Palace Hotel is a boutique hotel in a beautifully restored Zanzibari house.