Zanzibar Hotels

Matemwe Lodge

Formerly known as Matemwe Bungalows, Matemwe Lodge comprises 12 luxury bungalows situated on a cliff edge, and overlooking the Indian Ocean. Run by Asilia Camps and Lodges, the resort has managed to avoid the lack of personality that is the fate of many chain resorts. Traditionally decorated and furnished with carved coconut wood pieces, the bungalows aim to be both comfortable and unique. The hotel’s package is usually full-board.

Accommodation and Service at Matemwe Bungalows

The bungalows vary in size. Even split-level family accommodation is available. However, all suites are large and airy. All suites feature private verandas with hammocks and large en suite bathrooms with bath and walk-in shower. The accommodation is designed to be eco-friendly and is built from local stone and wood. Water is heated by solar panels and electricity is solar also. There is no air-conditioning but the bungalows receive a sea-breeze and so this is usually not a problem. Rooms nearest to the ocean can get damp on occasion during wetter months due to their open-plan design.

There are no televisions at the resort, but there are a number of family games such as UNO and Trivial Pursuit that can be used. Traditional games of Bao can also be played. There is a computer for internet access.

Matemwe offers first class service. Staff are friendly and go out of their way to ensure guests are enjoying their stay. Normally you will be greeted on arrival with fresh coconut milk. Western etiquette is also observed, giving the resort a more luxury feel than is to be experience at many hotels on the islands. The rooms, pool and restaurant areas are well cared for and clean.

Food and Drink at Matemwe Bungalows

Food at Matemwe is locally sourced, fresh, high quality and generous. Local seafood, meat and vegetarian options are available. The chefs can cook according to guest’s tastes and special requirements. The resort also offers a well-stocked open air bar. This is reasonably priced (though wine tends to carry a more hefty price-tag) and offers extensive happy hours. Some nights there is live entertainment at no extra cost.

Things to do at Matemwe Bungalows

The hotel offers/can help arrange a variety of activities for guests. Guests can go sailing in the local Ngalawa - traditional fishing boats. There is also great diving and snorkeling to be had along the Mnemba reef. Diving can be arranges and kayaks may be hired from the PADI recognized dive centre on the local beach. Walks along the beach and through the village, as well as cycling trips, are very popular but be sure to take a lot of sun cream. Excursions can be arranged to Stone Town, spice plantations and the Jozani Forest.

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.

How to get to Matemwe Bungalows

The Matemwe Bungalows are approximately one hour from Stone Town by road. The drive is mainly on smooth tarmac roads, but for the last twenty minutes may be a rougher ride. One can take the number 118 daladala (a truck-come bus used by locals) from Stone Town to Matemwe Village and organize a transfer / taxi from there. However, this is not recommended unless you have a robust constitution. For those looking for a true experience of Zanzibari life it may appeal. Easier is taxi or transfer all the way.

The poverty of the areas that one drives through to reach the island’s resorts can be disquieting. Locals may be seen hanging 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 supported by resorts like Matemwe ensure that the locals reap some of the benefits of tourism’s financial gains.

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