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Shooting Star Lodge, Zanzibar Island

Shooting Star Lodge

Shooting Star is owned and run by Elly Mlang’a, who is a warm, friendly host originally from mainland Tanzania. Together with his British wife, Lesley, he has grown a small beach restaurant into a popular boutique property, offering accommodation in beautiful cottages spread across well-tended grounds. 

The atmosphere is intimate and relaxed, with thatched, whitewashed buildings complemented by wooden furniture and brightly coloured fabrics. The tropical gardens are filled with flowers and lush green foliage, with fountains and shaded hammocks creating a tranquil place to relax. Guests can unwind in the infinity pool, which looks straight out over the sea, or on the soft sandy beach.

Our rating: Medium

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Rooms

Rooms are simple but pretty, offering high ceilings, large windows and polished stone floors. Each room features hand-carved Zanzibari four-poster beds, fresh flowers and en suite bathrooms, as well as mosquito nets, air conditioning and ceiling fans. 

Garden Lodge rooms offer private, furnished terraces looking out onto the tropical gardens. Sea View Cottages have spacious verandas with sea views, with some spread across two levels to accommodate families. The two-bedroom Monsoon Villas are set apart from other rooms, perched on a hill and boasting wonderful sea views from their roof terrace, which comes complete with daybed and private pool. Spanning three floors, the upper bedroom offers panoramic coastal views.

Location

The property is situated on Zanzibar’s northeast coast, around a ten minute drive from the villages of Kiwenga and Pwani Mchangani. There are coral reefs within easy reach offshore, providing excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities, and a number of watersports and cruises are offered by nearby operators.

Food and drink

Set just back from the sea, the restaurant and bar is in a thatched, open-air building. The restaurant serves simple Zanzibari food, using fresh ingredients and fish sourced from local fishermen, while the bar stocks a good selection of beverages. For a more romantic dining experience, private dinners can be set up on the beach.

Families

There are several accommodation options for families here, with the two-floor Sea View Cottages featuring a double bedroom downstairs and a twin or triple bedroom downstairs, while the Monsoon Villas offer two en suite bedrooms – a master double room upstairs and a single or twin room downstairs.

Facilities and activities

Star Spa is located beside the beach, allowing for cooling sea breezes as you enjoy a massage or rejuvenating treatment. Alternatively, relax by the infinity pool, on the sandy beach or in the comfort of your private veranda. Elly and Lesley are happy to help arrange other activities for you, from diving and snorkelling to more energetic watersports such as kitesurfing and parasailing.

Local excursions

A number of activities can be enjoyed in the area, including romantic dhow cruises out to a reef, scenic flights over the island and trips to other parts of the island, including spice farms where you can taste some of Zanzibar’s finest home-grown flavours, ruins and historic buildings left behind by the sultans and Jozani Forest, where you may encounter the endemic red colobus monkey.

Our opinion

Shooting Star is simple and quiet with warm, welcoming staff. Set in beautiful gardens, we think it’s ideal for those looking for peaceful relaxation on the beach alongside good home-cooked food.

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