Unguja Lodge

Unguja Lodge is a small, owner-run, luxury hide-away enjoying a private and tucked away beach location in Kizimkazi on the southern tip of Zanzibar. Resident owners and hosts Ralph and Elies completed the design and building of the lovely Unguja Lodge in June 2007. They achieved this using mostly locally sourced materials such as coral rock, makuti and the distinctive wood from the coconut tree for all its expertly handcrafted furniture.

The large main building has a huge makuti roof which drops down to provide shade within the dining, lounge and bar area. Just next to the main building is the swimming pool area which is ideal for a quick dip to cool off; it has a shallow area which is ideal for kids and for those who would just like to sit up to their neck in cool refreshing water and relax.

Villas at Unguja Lodge

There are 12 villas in total, 7 Sea View Villas, 3 Baobab Villas, and 2 Family Houses all with their own private plunge pool. The Sea View villas and the Family Houses have a direct sea view, and each has a private terrace overlooking the Menai Bay. The Baobab Villas are built a few meters further from the shore beneath a huge baobab tree. They are oriented to the garden, which make them ideal if you want even more seclusion and privacy.

Each spacious villa features mosquito nets over the bed, ceiling fan for cooling, a private safe, open plan sitting room (baraza-style), open plan spacious shower room, separate toilet, loft with extra DBL bed and a private terrace.

Day Trips & Activities at Unguja Lodge

Beach activities

There are some great rock pools nearby where curious kids and interested adults can discover all sorts of fascinating sea life. It’s also possible to watch the local villagers gathering shellfish, and sometimes even catching octopus from these pools. Snorkeling is easy to do from the beach, as there are coral towers within a short swimming distance, just ask us to point you in the right direction.


When tide is high it is very pleasant to swim from the stairs going down from the lodge to the water. We provide you with a tide schedule in the room so you can plan your activities according the tide just as the villagers do. There is also a small permanent village beach that can be found following a short nature trail to the south of the lodge.


Kizimkazi area is known for dolphins. However the increasing popularity of Zanzibar’s dolphin tours and lack of knowledge of many of the tour operators is turning this attraction into a threat to the dolphins. If you are patient you can sit on your veranda and likely to see dolphins passing.

‘Robinson Crusoe’ trip

You can spend a full day on the water where Unguja Divers takes you out on the traditional dhow for a picnic lunch on a deserted sandbank or island at sailing distance. On the way you can snorkel or dive, see the dolphins, practice sailing and relax in the sun on the beach or the water.

Sunset cruise

If you want to experience the romance of a dhow ride as the sun sink we can arrange a special sunset cruise for you. What could be better than enjoying a sundowner on a traditional Arabic sailing boat as the sun sinks over into the sea.

Guided village walk

We organize guided walks to explore the village and surroundings. You will see traditional coral block built houses, meet fishermen repairing their nets, and women making rope from coconut fiber. Rachid Ali Hassan, one of our senior staff members, shows you around and explains the traditions and culture. We ask a small donation for the village walk which we spend together with the village on school or medical projects.

Jozani Forest

From Unguja Lodge it takes about 20 minutes to Jozani Forest. It is the only remaining indigenous forest on Zanzibar and here you find the largest population of the Red Colobus Monkeys, which are unique to Zanzibar. A visit to Jozani Forest consists of three parts. A guided walk through the forest. The guide shows you plants and trees of interest. You are also likely to see black tail monkeys. A visit to the Red Colobus Monkeys: the guides know where the groups of monkeys are and they will take you there. Although they are wild animals, they are not shy and you will be able to come very close. And a guided walk through the mangrove forest of Chwaka Bay Conservation Area. For this part of the visit you buy a separate ticket. A beautiful boardwalk has been constructed, so you are able to walk deep into the mangrove forest.

Zala Park

Zala Park is located about 20 minutes from Unguja Lodge and a visit can be easily combined with Jozani Forest. Zala Park is actually an educational centre, Groups of schoolchildren from Zanzibar are taught about indigenous animals and learn that they are harmless and should not be killed. Tourists are welcome and Zala Park is well worth a visit. You can observe indigenous animals, mostly reptiles like snakes, lizards and chameleons but also tortoises, dik diks, monkeys and hyrax. The zoo is run by the very enthusiastic Mohammed Ayoub. From Zala Park it is also possible to walk through the forest and mangroves to the shore.

Spice Tour

Zanzibar is famous for its spices. For a long period, production and export of spices, mainly of cloves, was the main income source for the island. Spices remain very important for Zanzibar. Zanzibari people use the spices in their cooking to treat ailments, for makeup and for dying. A spice tour takes you to a spice farm where you will learn about the different spices: how they grow and how they are used. It is also a good way to visit rural Zanzibar, see something beyond the beach and the sea. A local lunch, of course cooked with different spices can be included.

Visit to Stone Town

When you are on Zanzibar, a visit to Zanzibar Town is a must. The town reflects the Island’s rich history of trade. In the nineteenth century Zanzibar was the main trade center on the east African Coast. Especially the old part of the town, known as Stone Town, is very nice to visit. It consists of a web of narrow streets and alleys where you can wander about for many hours. You can choose to explore by yourself or we can organize an experienced guide for you.A combination of a spice tour and a visit to town makes for a great full day outing from the lodge.

Diving at Unguja Lodge

Unguja Lodge has a well equipped PADI dive center within the lodge, The resident dive instructor Nick and his staff can take you out for some beautiful diving, snorkeling or trips in the Menai Bay Conservation Area. The lodge offers all the PADI courses and has all the equipment you will need whatever your level. Night dives are also offered.

Unguja is fortunate to be the only location on Zanzibar with a ‘house reef’ within swimming distance , right in front of the lodge. Boats are kept outside the reef at low tide. This means that all the water activities are unrestricted by the tide.

Only a short boat ride away there are several unspoiled coral gardens, easy to dive, and offering an abundance of sea life. For the more adventurous divers there are several spectacular deeper and wall sites where the bigger fish thrive. Diving at Unguja Lodge is very personal and efficient. The dive center is located adjacent to the pool and the access to the beach. Diving is always in very small groups and either a spacious traditional dhow or a smaller fiber boat is used depending on the dive sites and weather conditions.

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