Facing the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania, Zanzibar is an archipelago consisting of two major islands, Unguja, called Zanzibar, and Pemba, as well as myriad small islands and islets. As a focal point in the commerce of gold, ivory and spices as well as having been part of the slave trade, Zanzibar has many foreign influences which have added to the region’s cultural wealth. Persians from the kingdom of Shiraz, Bantus from Africa, Arabs from Oman followed by the Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the British all succeeded each other leaving a little bit of themselves behind.
In the 16th century, the island fell into the hands of the Portuguese before becoming a possession of the sultans of Oman. Splendid palaces were built in the capital with delicately carved doors. Merchandise was shipped throughout the Indian Ocean, and Zanzibar became a starting point for the great European explorers including Burton, Seke, Livingston and Stanley all of whom left to discover the African continent.
On the small streets of the old quarters of Zanzibar City, like Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage, we find a wide variety of local markets and numerous mosques. We are in the heart of Swahili civilization combined with Persian, Arab, Indian and African blood. Zanzibar however, is also known for its white sand beaches, transparent lagoons, its famous spice plantations and primary forests like Jozani, the preserved zone of the very rare red colobus monkey.
Perched on a rock and surrounded by the island’s most beautiful beaches, the Matemwe Lodge’s bungalows look out onto the Mnemba atoll. In this peaceful and timeless setting, only a few traditional fishing boats known as ngalawas stop here to stock up on fish.
The 12 bungalows made with coral stone are surrounded by splendid gardens and blend in perfectly with the environment. Each suite has a private terrace with a hammock and a comfortable sofa ideal for relaxing and enjoying the view of the Indian Ocean’s turquoise water. Local materials are used for most of the room decoration such as palm wood for the doors, dao driftwood, which comes from traditional boats, for the furniture adding a Bohemian chic to each item. Arab and African elements are blended together. The history of the island is recounted through the sculptures, cases, low tables and floor cushions.
A bit further north, facing the Mnemba atoll, the Matemwe has three exceptional villas for guests seeking even more privacy, known as the Matemwe Retreat. Here again, we see driftwood from traditional boats, Arab influenced pastel colored walls, arches, woolen rugs and African touches in the crude wood furniture and large openings. Each villa has a private swimming pool, a butler and made to measure gastronomy.
Using locally caught fish, and fruits and vegetables from the market, the Matemwe’s main restaurant serves originally prepared traditional dishes. Opening onto the outside, it offers guests a magnificent panoramic view. A swimming pool on several levels, open air massages, white sand beaches, a lush garden and made to measure service make the Matemwe Lodge and the Matemwe Retreat dreamlike places to stay on the enchanting island of Zanzibar.
The materials here are all local, but the concept of sustainable development goes much further with the use of solar panels, filtering sea water pumps and its own garden for growing fruits and vegetables.
Five-star class / Luxury / Fine white sand beaches / Open-air restaurant with African, European cuisine & local seafood / Poolside bar / Outdoor swimming pool / Spa treatments / Aquatic sports / Butler service / Environmentally committed
Open all year
- 12 bungalows in Matewme Lodge
- 3 private villas in Matemwe Retreat
Double occupancy from 800 euros
Zanzibar Airport (ZNZ) - Zanzibar
MATEMWE LODGE & RETREAT
Approximately 10 hours
+ 1 hour in summer / + 2 hours in winter
Tropical temperate climate inland and on the high plateaus
Humid equatorial climate on the coast
Valid passport six months after return date
Visa required (purchased upon arrival or at an embassy)
No required vaccinations although yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A shots are advised
The Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
Swahili, English and different local dialects
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+33 1 75 43 70 26 *Our reservation department is always happy to assist you via phone or via email. We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 18pm (GMT +1).