andBeyond Mnemba Private Island
“Leave your shoes with me” the boatman says as he hauls me up out of the shallow waves on the eastern coast of Unguja – Zanzibar’s main island. We had just driven across the island dotted with small productive villages growing cloves, nutmeg and black pepper in spice plantations, and passing by historical ruins of palaces and Persian baths, to take the 20 minute speedboat transfer across to Mnemba Island.
When I stepped on to AndBeyond Mnemba Island it was apparent why he wanted my shoes – this is truly a barefoot paradise on which you will not require any footwear from the time you arrive until the time you leave!
I was taken to my open-air Banda which peeped out onto unblemished sands from the shade of the casuarina pine forest. I loved the comfy bed and waking up the sound of the ocean was bliss. The décor was luxurious but well suited to the environment and the lounge had a drinks bar, snacks and comfy oversized club chairs and loungers. The bathroom had to be seen to be believed!
Snorkelling, swimming, diving, kayaking or just relaxing on the beach… you will be totally spoilt on this island, surrounded by beautiful pristine, clear water. For the dive enthusiasts two PADI Dives per day are included! Our guides took us out to find dolphins in their natural environment and following an incredible half hour or so swimming among them, we moved onto the nearby Mnemba reef which boasts a wealth of marine life in its Marine Conservation Area. I was told it was also possible to see green turtles nesting or hatching on the beach where they return year after year.
As the sun set on paradise, we were taken out on a private Dhow cruise complete with snacks and bubbles! Talk about feeling special… This was followed by a sumptuous dinner on the beach with fresh cuisine seemingly straight from the ocean. After dinner, massive cushions were set up and two of the AndBeyond team played live music. It was a private little jam session on the beach around a roaring fire – a superb ending to a perfect day.
If you have ever harboured the secret wish of finding yourself one of the sole inhabitants of a private tropical island AndBeyond Mnemba Island is just the place for you!