Traditionally part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a unique destination in its own right. For centuries, Pemba’s clove plantations and spice fields provided the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar with money for trade and military dominance over the surrounding areas.
To this day, the island is still a major spice producer in the archipelago. Visitors flock to Pemba’s shores, dotted with desert islands and throngs of coconut palms, for some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel drops off steeply just off the west coast and the diverse species of marine life and coral are truly exceptional. Because tourism is still in its early stages, a trip to Pemba’s unspoiled shores and pristine waters is the underwater adventure of a lifetime.
Fundu is on Pemba Island, the sister island to Zanzibar lying across the Pemba Channel to the north. The hotel is situated on a remote and beautiful beach on the south western side of the island and is only accessible by boat.
There are sixteen rooms, consisting of designer tents, set under makuti (thatch) roofs on wooden decks and each with a view over the sea. The rooms are equipped with large double or twin beds, mosquito nets, ceiling and standing fans, and indoor and outdoor seating areas. Each has an ensuite bathroom with fresh hot water shower, toilet and basin. The rooms are connected to the main buildings by wooden walkways or paths through indigenous forest. Some rooms are situated along the beachfront and the remaining on the hillside. All have amazing views, especially the ones on the hillside. Four of our sixteen rooms are suites with their own private chill out deck and plunge pool.
The main areas are all built under thatch and are large and airy and overlook the sea. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the main dining area or at the jetty bar with a three course lunch and dinner, all with a choice of dishes of a high international standard. A rustic jetty stretches way out into the sea and the jetty bar is situated about a third of the way along, offering a wonderful place to relax. The barmen are happy to mix your favourite cocktail for you, or teach you to play the local board game, Boa.
Mafia Island is a popular destination for visitors to relax after their safari and the island’s relaxed and secluded beaches offer privacy and comfort for discerning travellers. Mafia’s incredible and unspoilt dive sites have remained a well-kept secret of diving aficionados and beach recluses for years, but now the island is fast becoming a preferred destination.
For centuries, the island was a trading stop for Shirazi merchants travelling up towards Persia and under the rule of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar, vast coconut and cashew plantations flourished. Today, all that remain of the island’s prestigious past are the coral ruins on Chole Mjini, the small island just off Hore from Mafia where the Arab landowners lived a sumptuous life removed from their plantations and slaves.
These days, Mafia’s remote location means it receives only the most selective visitors, but things are changing. The recent gazetting of Mafia Island Marine Park – the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean – to include surrounding villages in its conservation efforts means that the millions of fish and coral species that thrive in the warm waters of Mafia’s beaches will survive for decades to come.