It’s the place to spend a relaxing break after you’ve gone on a safari in Tanzania: it’s just a 15 minute boat ride from the Zanzibar coast to Mnemba Island. Better still, this private island hideaway isn’t the exclusive reserve of honeymooners, but welcomes families with children of all ages.
We left our shoes in our case for the duration of our stay: there is something so wonderfully decadent about barefoot living.
On the island: Activities include snorkelling, diving, kayaking and fishing, and the island offers a safe and secure environment for children to play, whether that’s swimming in the sea, taking part in the island treasure hunt, playing footie on the beach or collecting shells along the seafront.
In the sea: Snorkelling is a real highlight, and the island’s dive masters are also masters at teaching children how to get used to the mask and searching for tropical fish. Here, kids can find clownfish (of Finding Nemo fame), angelfish, snake eels, starfish and some stunningly beautiful coral – and that was just on out first venture into the house reef. If you have children that love underwater wildlife, snorkelling will feature highly in your stay. We could hardly drag our daughter Molly out of the water.
Boat trip: We also took a boat out to the southwest of the island and spotted a pod of dolphins. My top tip here: take your snorkelling gear with you. We dived off the boat and joined the beautiful and playful mammals as they swam around us, which was really very special and Molly didn’t stop squeaking with joy for days.
The beach bandas were a real rustic-lux combo and had a colonial feel to them: dark wood furniture and cream/white fabrics. Waking up to the sound of the water lapping just metres away, drinking tea in bed – bought to you by a personal butler – while looking out over the sparkling blue ocean is idyllic, and the perfect way to unwind after a safari trip, before heading home.
There are just 10 beach bandas, meaning there are never more than 25 guests on the island at any time, and the aforementioned butler will look after your every whim, including filling your mini bar with your preferred tipples. Laundry even disappears each morning and miraculously returns washed and pressed later in the day.
Price: Rates are from £506 per person, per night including all meals, drinks, laundry and activities (excludingscuba tuition).
Travel time: A flight from London to Zanzibar takes 10 hours and 15 minutes. It then takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Mnemba Island.
How to get there: Emirates flies from London to Zanzibar International Airport; from £614 return. The lodge will collect you from the airport, where you will travel by boat to the island. Getting to the resort requires a little wading to shore, so be prepared if you have small children.