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Ariel view of Mnemba Island | © Shayne Thomas/Flickr
Ariel view of Mnemba Island | © Shayne Thomas/Flickr

How You Can Holiday on One of Tanzania's 7 Private Islands

Picture of Gill Lange
Updated: 11 December 2017

While the allure of wild African animals is one of the most popular reasons to travel to Tanzania, there is plenty more to do on this piece of the continent. To the east of the mainland, one will find the warm, calm waters of the Indian Ocean where white, powdery sand forms a border between the azure sea and verdant, tropical flora. Here an idyllic island playground awaits, tempting travellers with exclusive resorts lavishly spread across tiny, private atolls. So come on, treat yourself and take a break on one of Tanzania’s secluded, luxury islands.

Exclusive luxury is within reach

Six of the islands fall within the Zanzibar archipelago, and Zanzibar itself is a favourite destination for travellers looking for a tropical break. However, those wanting a bit more exclusivity need not look much further, as Zanzibar is surrounded by a host of tiny islands. Some are uninhabited, a few important are nature conservation areas, and a handful can be booked for the ultimate private escape. The seventh island  is located on Lake Tanganyika, and offers equally fabulous and discerning accommodation with awe-inspiring lake and mountain views.

What are the options?

The islands of Mnemba, Thanda, Fanjove, Bawe, Changuu and Chumbe can all be hired for a private vacation in utmost opulent exclusivity. This does come with a substantial price tag of course, but also gives you ‘I hired my own private island’ bragging rights for as long as you want. However, if your bank balance doesn’t quite match the asking price then don’t despair, as individual villas can be booked too. In this case the island will not be entirely yours alone, but at least you are guaranteed no crowds.

What are the advantages?

Besides absolutely gorgeous and scenic views, waterside living second to none, and all the peace and serenity you could wish for, there are other advantages to hiring a private island. How about your own personal butler? Or a helicopter pad and indulgent spa treatments at your whim? Nothing is too much to ask the attentive staff at any of these establishments.

While some offer additional features such as a beach bar or games room, others provide extensive libraries, magnificent marine life on your doorstep, and fully equipped boathouses for leisure activities.

Conserving their natural heritage

Conserving the pristine and natural environment of the landscape they inhabit is high on the list of all these private island establishments, and buildings blend in seamlessly and unobtrusively with their splendid surrounds. Many of the islands are ensconced by exquisite marine reserves, and are totally self sufficient and off the grid. However going green doesn’t mean that you will be cut off from the rest of the world, and WiFi and mobile reception is available at most of the resorts.

The scrumptious meals that are served all incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients while fresh and sustainable seafood is caught in the abundant waters that surround the islands.

Just in case you aren’t convinced yet

If all the above has not quite piqued your interest yet, then here are a few more absolute indulgences that are thrown in with the price tag. Romantic candle lit dinners on the beach, old-style copper baths with views to die for, executive chefs and complete bohemian, carefree living – even if it is just for a few days – are all some of life’s little indulgences to look forward to.

Lupita Island, Lake Tanganyika, Kipili, Rukwa, Katavi Region, Tanzania,  +255 784 278 639

andBeyond Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania, +27 11 809 4300

Thanda Island, Shungimbili Island, District of Mafia Island, Tanzania,  +27 32 586 0149

Fanjove Lodge,Fanjove Private Island, Tanzania, +255 22 260 1747

Bawe Island Resort, Tanzania

Changuu Private Island, Tanzania

Chumbe Island Resort, Tanzania