Safina is Swahili for "Ark". It is located near South beach in Nungwi, which is on the northern tip of Zanzibar. It's not really accessible from the airport or the ferry unless you have a car, but has the advantage that it is in a more isolated section of Zanzibar and not overcrowded. I stayed here for a couple of nights while in Zanzibar.
There is nothing too fancy about this place, and it is a simple bungalow style complex nestled inside some nice gardens with all varieties of tropical plants and trees. The rooms are basic with ceramic tile floors, reasonably comfortable beds (with mosquito netting) and a functional bathroom with sink, toilet and shower. My room also had an overhead fan that worked, which was nice for moving the air around a bit.
There were a few negatives I noticed. Some tiny little ants in the room, but they seemed only on the floor, so didn't bother me much and I kept my belongings off the floor. The door locks are padlocks with skeleton key, but the door latches and bolts from inside don't seem all that strong. It would be easy to break in, so I kept important stuff with me. This is always good practice anyway.
Well, despite a few negatives, the room was very cheap (~$40 USD). There is free breakfast, but nothing substantial (bread, fruit, coffee/tea & juice). Pretty average and simple place for accommodations, but it's cheap and close to the beach (a couple minutes walk). There are some souvenir shops to look at on the way. The beaches are really nice here, and I include a photo to show the beach area here.
I asked the manager a couple times for a brochure on the hotel, but he never gave me one. The information on the main sign (at least the website) is outdated. I'm not sure they have one. There are a few restaurants to eat at in the area and some other more upscale (and more expensive) hotels nearby. If you don't mind paying a little more these might be a step up for a bit more comfort.
Nice village atmosphere and close to the beach
I think it is very telling that I didn’t take any pictures of this hotel. It was dark, dingy and my room was an oven. Even with the loud ceiling fan. I had a strange room in the shape of a ‘C’ and the best thing about it was the hot water shower. Except that you want a cold shower here in Zanzibar and in the rooms here. No air-conditioning at all. The beds are poor and the mosquito nets looked a bit worn. You can get in here for less than $40 by haggling. They will negotiate.
Stone town either has luxury hotels at a luxury price or cheap places that leave a lot to be desired. This is not a luxury anything.
There are 2 redeeming values about the ‘Mer.
1) Its location – right in the heart of Stone Town attractions
2) Its bar. They always made me popcorn and the beer was ice cold
If you are looking for something in Stone Town, this is not it. There are cheaper, better and cooler guesthouse a little less central than the ‘Mer.
Beware lodgers were not at first believed and then compensation was an unrealistic "come back and try it again for free"
We were a party of four from New England plus one from Dar, that rented "Spur of the Moment" in Bweju for 1 week. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity while my daughter works in Dar es Salaam. We knew the rental was a duplex with an adjoining house (and thank goodness- the tenant helped us get water!). We rented the place because it was listed as having an equipped kitchen and we wanted to cook for ourselves. We were surprised and disappointed. The water cistern had not been filled when we arrived so we were without water and the stove cook top was not hooked to the fuel. Once the cistern was filled and the taps began to run, silt filled the system and we were without water again. The guys were both familiar with gas hookups but could not get the stove top hooked up to work. We had to hire a cook who cooked with kerosene inside (which gave us headaches). The lack of water and water pressure forced us to flush toilets with a bucket of ocean water. We ended up being totally without water for 3 days and the bathrooms began to smell of sewage and it was impossible to clean the kitchen.
We had hoped the owner would make some compensation for our not so wonderful experience, which she did after much debate, but it was an unacceptable offer of coming back for free within the next year. Am not going to try to afford to go there again in a year!
Location was nice. Beach was beautiful. Water was warm. Snorkeling and and diving excellent!
Location was nice. Beach was beautiful. Water was warm. Snorkeling and and diving excellent!
Small budget hotel Some large rooms for group sharing. I had a 2 bed room (big beds) and small bathroom. Old and a bit dreary but it was fine as I wasn't there too much. Staff friendly - cared for a sick friend very well.
Always had hot water. Adequate security.
Rooftop bar and restaurant was nice. Close to lovely walks around Old Town areas.
I had a lovely three days of R & R here at Amaan Bugalows. On the beach with restaurant and bars overlooking the water, the rooms were nice, clean and with A/C (not all rooms had A/C).
Staff were friendly and always helpful. There are a couple of small shops, a cafe and tour desk.
We were in a shared room so cost was not to bad - cheaper than some of the other beachside hotels and as you can use facuilities of other hotels this place suited us well.
There were no extra amenities here but as the beach was a few metres away, as were shops, other bars and restaurants nothing else was needed but a nice bed and bathroom!
Airport transfers were available but expensive - go for the local bus or share vehicle.
Even before I walked into the Serena Inn, I could tell I would love the place. Its a building with character and its location overlooking the sea couldn't be better. The surrounds in the hotel make you feel like you are going back in time and I like that.
Its a place where you can just relax by the pool or if you feel adventurous, just head off into the maze of streets in Stone Town.
Located in Nugwi Village on the North side of the island the Langi Langi is a comfortable place to stay . I would rate it at a 4.5 star . It’s is great value . We were upgraded for no extra to a sea view room ( and I would highly recommend these rooms).We had just breakfast included but actually ate every night at the hotel . The view is incredible from the oceanfront outdoor restaurant. Pretty good food too. The owner Sele invited us to a complimentary dinner to celebrate Ramadan. It is BYOB at the restaurant…which was good by us. Nice pool and lots of other restaurants nearby.
When you are at the Ocean Paradise Resort you feel like you are relaxing in the lap of luxury. This (nearly) all-inclusive resort is on the east side of Zanzibar near Kijangwani and is approximately a one hour drive from the Zanzibar airport. Believe me, though, the one hour is worth it! With romantic beach-side bungalow accomodations, the price of which includes breakfast and dinner buffer (you are on your own for lunch), the Ocean Paradise is nearly as perfect as the Zanzibar beaches it overlooks! The resort is next to a public beach, but also has its own fenced-in private beach, which includes a volleyball court, lots of tanning beds, and two hammocks - perfect for spending hours and hours relaxing on.
During our stay we found the staff to be very helpful and friendly. We found the food to be pretty good (different dinner themes each evening, served near the pool) and the location perfect. Please note, that this is not a place to go with a group of friends, but rather a romantic get-a-way for two. The resort all but completely shuts down at 10:00 PM, as most guests appeared to be on their honeymoons.
The resort also takes great pains to plan various free and paid activities for its guests. An itinerary is published each morning, which included volleyball, Swahili lessons, darts tournament, beach activities, etc..
The price for accomodation is relatively expensive, but it is absolutely worth every penny. Considering bringing your own wine or fine liquor, as the cost of alcohol was a bit expensive. Overall, however, this is definately a place I plan on returning to!
Absolutely beautiful beaches and friendly local staff, make the Ocean Paradise a must visit!
Vast tropical paradise resort with expansive gardens and recreation areas. Rondavel type rooms with all the mod cons. The big swimming pool located at the central area seems to be the focal point. Plenty of bars and dining areas. Food is great and plentiful. I gained weight here!
Stone Town was about an hour away though, but they have taxis that will take you there, albeit quite expensive.
Rondavel rooms overlooking coconut trees, the fancy swimming pool and the blue green Indian Ocean. It's very relaxing place and the food is terrific especially the seafood and mangoes. They have lots of activities for kids and adults.
The Casa Del Mar is a nice small hotel in the middle of the village of Jambiani and borders several other hotels. It does have lots of great reviews, but I am afraid I did not stay here. I did, however, find them one very hot day as I walked down the beach. They have a circular and open sided restaurant that is very close to the beach and offers some great views of the Indian Ocean. They do not serve alcohol, but the cokes are ice cold and the staff were very friendly and professional. The hotel certainly looked up to a high standard and they keep their beach and sandy paths cleaned.
Even if you do not stay here, I would recommend at least one evening meal here, just for the atmosphere.
*** CASA DEL MAR IS OPEN IN THE RAINY SEASON ***
Casa Del Mar is a nice small hotel in the middle of the Village and borders several other hotels. It does have lots of great reviews, but I am afraid I did not stay here. I did, however, find them one very hot day as I walked down the beach. They have a circular and open sided restaurant that is very close to the beach and offers some great views of the Indian Ocean. They do not serve alcohol, but the cokes are ice cold and the staff were very friendly and professional. The hotel certainly looked up to a high standard and they keep their beach and sandy paths cleaned.
*** CASA DEL MAR IS OPEN IN THE RAINY SEASON ***
Please note the fantastic pictures are with the kind permission of the nice people who own Casa Del Mar Hotel!
This is by far, the best hotel/resort in Jambiani. It is excellent value for money. Your first impression when you arrive is that the complex is like a small botanical garden. Immaculate sandy paths connect every part of the complex and there is really no need for shoes. Hakuna Matata is the pace of life here. The hotel is run by a colourful collection of Rastafarians who make you feel very welcome. Please be patient and ask for things about 1-2 hours before you need them. If you want dinner at night, you need to tell them at lunchtime so they can prepare.
Rooms are large and comfortable. Large comfortable beds have huge mosquito nets and a ceiling fan. There is plenty of closet space. Bathrooms have hot showers, are clean and basic. Leave shoes outside to keep sand out.
The restaurant is very open and overlooks the beach. Breakfast is included and is excellent. Dinner offers very good food in a relaxed environment.
The beach bar is massive and offers games and a book library. They can make any drink you want and have ice-cold beers. Music plays continuously, mostly Reggae, but they take requests or will play your own CD if you ask. Next to the bar is a hammock and several sun beds. On some nights they build a fire on the beach.
The complex is walled in except for the beach. Security is provided by 8 dogs that are let out between midnight and 6am.
The whole complex is a photo opportunity. At night you can walk the beach and see more stars than you will probably ever see anywhere in the world. There is virtually no light pollution and the view at night is incredible. You do not need a torch to walk around at night because they are so bright.
Staff can organise excursions across the island to places like Jozani Forrest, but you have to bargain for prices!
The hotel is owned by Zion Jumba who will organise transfers from the airport, just email him.
*** OPEN DURING THE RAINY SEASON ***
I had a lovely two days here that could easilly have turned into 2 weeks i reckon!
Paje by Night is a resort just set back off the beach at Paje, with beach style bungalows set around a courtyard that has a logfire and enough hammocks and laid back seating areas for any type of party.
The bungalow we had housed 2 bedrooms, sleeping 5 in total, with a large bathroom and coconut shower! Cold water tho. It cost U$15 each per night.
There is a really sociable bar here, and they play really groovy music! They also have a TV area, Playstation2, free internet for all guests and a delicious BBQ! The pizzas are also pretty tasty and i'd recommend the Zanzibar Pizza!
Clean but good basic rooms, you get a fridge, fan and mozzie nets. Its an unusual building and looks fairly unappealing when you first walk in, but once you get used to its quiry charm it really grows on you. Plus its in a great location, very near an internet cafe and all the cultural touristy spots, plus has the best safe in town and you can leave your bags here for a mere 1000 shillings whilst you hope off around the island. Definately check this place out.
Breakfast is included and you get bread rolls fruit and coffee/tea. Don't come here if you're after great views and a pool though, and it has neither!
At the end of a crescent of powder-white coral sand, with just 16 bungalows, a dive centre and a good restaurant, this is the perfect place to chill.
The bush babies which come down to the bar at sunset and eat pieces of banana ... the superb gardens ... the coffee and biscuits left on a tray on your balcony at dawn to keep you going to breakfast ...
The hotel is located right at the Indian ocean, most rooms have a wonderful view and all are beautifully decorated. The staff is very friendly and truly make you feel welcome. You are in walking distance of anything of interest in Stone Town.
great view on the Indian ocean
very good restaurant
very friendly staff
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