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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

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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 toward 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).


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.


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.

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