More about Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel
Ras Nungwi Hotel and Stone Town
I recently returned from my honeymoon in Tanzania, having spent a week on safari in the Selous (Southern Tanzania fantastic!!) and then a week at Ras Nungwi on Zanzibar.
Zanzibar was just amazing and Ras Nungwi where we stayed at the North of the island was fantastic - the beach better than i could have hoped for...rooms were lovely and food and service was great - overall the hotel really lived up to all our hopes, exceeding them with the private dinner on the beach.
Although the hotel itself is out of the way of the crowds, there is also the added bones here of nightlife down the coast at Nungwi village. Id recomend it to anyone - especially the turtle rehabilitation centre down the coast (20 minutes walk).
In Stone Town we stayed at a new place called Beyt al Chai which is what Stone Town is all about and is well kept and very well run.
Overall we had a superb time on Zanzibar....Ras Nungwi is the place to stay!!!
Beaches at Nungwi and diving at Mnemba
Two days Stone Town was more than enough for me. Too hot! Time for the beach. Diving. Ras Nungwi...northern Zanzibar.
White beaches. Blue ocean. A friendly fishermen's village and kilometres of resorts along the beach.
I found a really nice s/c bungalow for $10/night at Jambo Brothers. The neighbour was East Africa Divers, run by a bit weirdish South African couple with a good library and fundives on offer every day.
My first two dives were at Mnemba Island, the first a bit disappointing because due to bad weather the colours of the stunning reefs didn't come out.
The 2nd dive -a deep dive this time- was really good; we saw at least 15 big green turtles and also some huge rays amongst countless other colourful fish amidst amazing soft coral. The sun turned the coral into unsurpassable beauty this time. It was fantastic, the great feel of diving was back!
The 3rd dive was a failure. Because of the fan I suffered from a cold and couldn't equalize for 10 minutes. When I finally succeeded my buddy had probs and we had to go up again. Waisted $30.
5 days Zanzibar, nice but more than enough for now. I took the nightboat to Dar and flew home the next morning...
Fantastic, but everything tasted of disinfectant!
Travelled up to Ras Nungwi from Dhow Palace in Stone Town (don't pay more than $37). Roads are poor, so the 90 minute drive was quite uncomfortable - find a 4 wheel drive to take you! It was my first time in Africa and I was quite shocked at the poverty and mud huts observed on this drive. Puts things into perspective.
Ras Nungwi resort is beautiful. All the pictures on thier site show the place how it is. Pretty beach (smallish), good pool, dining area very comfortable. Our room was OK, bed comfortable, etc.
Place was full of honeymooners which gave a strange atmosphere. Very quiet (people whispering to each other at dinner) and people trying very hard to have a good time.
Staff were excellent. Local staff very friendly and helpful, and the expat dive staff were brilliant, especially Andy. Had a great dive too. Nice sunset cruise too.
The only low point was the food. For some reason everything tasted of disinfectant. I'm guessing the kitchen staff were being a little over-zealous. Real shame though - bread, fresh fruit, veg and salad all tasted of Dettol and everytime I got a taste/whiff of this I wanted to retch. I've never been so thankful to get my hands on a Snickers bar and a bottle of Coke.
I really hope they sort this out.
Do make your way down to Nungwi village to have a look about if you are new to Africa, like me. You can see how the locals live and it had quite an effect on me.
Magical! Do you remember when you were a kid and you could spend all day at the beach chasing crabs and looking in shells? That's exactly how this felt. Ras Nungwi has a fantastic beach! When the tide goes out you can find every sort of creature in the tidal pools and there isn't a single shell that doesn't have someone living in it. You don't have to dive or even snorkel to have an amazing time in the water (though I’d still recommend the diving - we saw a WHALE SHARK!)
At some point of course you have to come out of the sun and that’s fine because the hotel itself it just great. It has a very personal atmosphere - almost like visiting friends with a really fantastic place at the beach rather than staying at a resort (where you're hounded about time shares and feel like your on display at the pool). Here you are encourage to linger and there are any number of quiet little places that you can tuck your self away and relax, read, or just nap.
The staff is completely unobtrusive and would never disturb your nap, and yet they are also extremely accommodating. For example, one afternoon I was at the bar and decided to have coconut milk and rum, something my favorite Thai restaurant at home serves and I thought wouldn’t it be delicious with fresh coconut. When I asked for it the bartender said just one minute, and before I realized that he didn’t have any at the bar, he had a staff member out getting a coconut from a tree on the property! He even served it to me in the shell with fruit and flowers on the rim, it was perfect.
For us, after the thrill of safari and the culture shock of Stone Town, the blissful unwinding we were able to do at Ras Nungwi was the perfect way to round out the trip. If you are going to be on Zanzibar or in East Africa I’d definitely recommend a visit.
Nasty Beach Plus Maintenance Problems
We arrived to find the AC in our cabin broken. We were given the use of an adjoining room for the rest of the afternoon -- but couldn't move in and unpack until evening. Our romantic Sunset Cruise was ruined when our boat had to tow another of the resort's boats back to the resort. The tow took so long that the temperature dropped and the seas rose. While wading ashore in waist-deep water through heavy, cold waves (this place has boats but no dock) my prescription sunglasses were lost. For the above miseries we received 1 bottle of wine each -- but no refund for the "cruise".
The accommodations and public areas were OK, but the food was just average and the service bordered on rude.
The beach absolutely sucked! It disappeared at high tide and swimming at low tide involved a painful trek far outward over an uneven rocky seabed. At all times the "beach" was covered with slimy, smelly, pestiferous seaweed that the resort made no attempt to clear.
The hammocks were nice, but don't spoil your visit to Zanzibar by staying at the Ras Nungwi.
Coming from Holland and been traveling quiet a lot, my friend and I decided after spending few nights in Dar es Salaam and other places in Tanzania that it will be a good idea to spend time in Zanzibar. Beginning September was a very good timing for us. Never been there before, we asked people around us where we should go and Ras Nungwi came up a lot in the conversation. So we book directly our stay there and took one of those small planes. I had already a good feeling of the place (people were very friendly on the phone and that was a very good sign compare to other places that we went)
When we arrived on the Island, transport was there and waiting for us. It took us at least one hour to arrive at the Hotel.
Arriving at Ras Nungwi, we were greeting by the General Manager and a very nice lady, who offer us a nice and refreshing drink. First impression of the place was very good, I will say. The place was very warm, a good atmosphere, with wood, thatch roof and very friendly staff always there to help you. They took us in the room and what I can say, room was just fantastic. It what just what we were expected. Typical Zanzibar Style, what else would you expected when it is just what you wanted?
In the afternoon, we went to the beach and if you dream about the perfect moment, well that was it. Like on the postcard. We went for diving and people were amazing again very professional and very helpful. If you are not a diving person well you can always have a nice massage on the beach or have a nice drink and watch the sun comes down.
After a busy and amazing day, we just went to relax a bit and prepare ourselves for the dinner. Atmosphere again great, it feels like you are home. We had nice conversation with the staff and the General Manager came and we spend a very good moment with him. He was a very friendly and professional person always there to assist us if we needed anything. We had a great evening, with typical local music and the food was excellent.
What we can say is that if you are alone, couple or in family, we will definitely recommend that place. Is got his own unique character but what makes the difference is the staff. From the General Manager, Front Office, Houskeeping, waiters, instructor you got everything in one place. We enjoyed our stay very much and we hope to return it back soon.
Thank you all for the wonderful stay and beautiful memories.
We hope to see you all again soon.
Probably the worst hotel on the island
Having previously stayed at Ras Kutani on the Tanzanian Coast and then at Beho Beho in the Selous, we were seriously looking forward to our stay at Ras Nungwi, having chosen it personally from looking at their brochures and their website. On arrival we were greeted by the receptionist who spoke very little english and seemed more interested in getting our passports for photocopying and making us fill in endless forms (this appears to be the only place on the island that does this). After a welcome drink of what was carton juice, we were shown to our room n0 14, by a member of staff who dropped our bags and left very hurridly.
This is not surprising considering the state of the room which was seriously dated and had horrid seventies tiles on the floor , of which the grouting in between was brown with dirt, there was also a distinct lack of furniture in the room along with the full length mirror that made me (6ft tall) look 3ft tall and very fat. Our next surprise was the bathroom that was so small you could only get one person in at a time, the bathroom probably hadn't been updated for 30 years and age was taking it's toll, filthy mouldy grouting cracked tiles, rusty shower rail with a cheap old browning shower curtain, soap dish falling of the wall, the loo uncleaned and a general air of dirtiness. This is not what one expects for $380 a night, oh and the sea view is just visible over the rooftops of the balcony that realistically seats one.
Having viewed the room I rang my travel agent to complain who spoke to Chris the General Manger, who then in turn came to speak to us. He is probably the most arrogant and unfreindly person I have ever met in the Hospitality industry ( I have since learnt that he went to Ras Nungwi with no previous knowledge of the service industry and is disliked by many others in Hospitality on the Island ). He told us that the room we were in had not been updated and that it was due to be done so in three days, not much use to us, though he did say that he would be able to upgrade us the next day and told us to give the Hotel a chance and try their lovely cusine and hospitality. Well, dinner that evening was a buffet and was the worst food we have had on the island everything was highly overseasoned, and was either overcooked, undercooked or just foul. The service was non existant and very unfreindly and all the staff had serious hygeine problems and nearly gassed you every time they came near with their body odour (no other place we have stayed at has had this problem), I understand from staff at another establishment that Chris is forever fighting with staff and in turn this does of course create serious problems throughout the ranks, not the way to treat your staff.
As we went to bed that night the bed hadn't even been turned down or the mosquito net placed around the bed, there was no mosquito spray or torch in the room. On getting into bed the mattress was uncomfortable and the pillows lumpy, so a disturbed sleep on all accounts.
The next morning having a proper look at the bed, it was just a piece of cut foam as a mattress and the pillows were absolutely filthy and stained and had mildew marks all over them, the sheet was stained and had several holes in it, this is not what one expects of an establishment that claims to be 4/5star and also happens to be the most expensive on the island.
Seeing Chris (the Gm) in the morning I asked him to come to the room so that I could show him the problems, he seemed very happy and on the way told me he had owned the place for 8 years (actually Tim Hendricks and others own it). On going into the room I showed him all the problems ,he seemed very disinterested by my comments and told me that the room was being updated in two days and it would all look better then, he also said that the foam mattress was perfectly acceptable and that if we wanted a sprung mattress it would be very hard to find one anywhere else on the island and it would be almost impossible for him to get them, why is it then that the Serena Inn, Betyl al Chai and Matemwe Bungalows and I'm sure many other hotels on the island have them.
Another lady from the management with blonde hair( also rude and very abrupt, with a serious chip on her shoulder) showed us to our new refurbished room no 6, and what a surprise were we in for, the only difference was a superking bed which took up so much of the room you couldn't walk round it properly and guess what no changes to the bathroom which was still just as dated and filthy, we thankfully declined their offer and checked out immediately.
We heaved a great sigh of relief on leaving the place and were actually smiling as the taxi drove out of the gates, we since went onto Serena Inn in Stone Town and Matemwe Bungalows both of which are superb have much higher levels of comfort and better quality food with super freindly staff at half the cost.
A very poor show for all involved at Ras Nungwi especially the management team headed by Chris, who are both curt, rude and probably the most unprofessional people I have met in the industry. Highly recommended if you want a miserable holiday.
We have noted the very mixed reviews of Ras Nungwi over the last two years; I hope that the managers read and consider how they might deal with some of the (often trivial) difficulties.
The location is good (if isolated; however, that is part of the charm), but it does mean that once at the hotel, most activity needs to be centered around the site.
The public areas are excellent and well presented using local design and materials. However, the bedroom are in serious need of upgrading - we had a room with sea view (possible by lying prone on the balcony), and the bathroom was in urgent need of renovation/retiling/scrubbing. This has been a recurring theme of comments over the last two years and it is disappointing that little appears to have been done to address the issue.
The beach and pool were very good (in response to previous reviews, swmming from the beach was enjoyable, and subject to tide, but this is not unusual at the seaside). We enjoyed dhow sails and snorkelling - the staff involved were helpful and friendly. However, there was a sense that the staff (including the manager, Chris) were more interested in their own use of the watersport facilites than in ensuring that guests could experience all that was on offer- there is an emphasis on scuba diving, and the winsurfing/kayaking and other options (that could be really excellent) were rather underplayed). After 6 days we were pretty bored, and the hotel needs to look at the type of leisure options that are avaliable (given that not all of their guests are on honeymoon). I suspect that teenagers would be very bored.
Finally, the food and local staff were both exellent and made efforts to make the stay enjoyable. the senior staff did make efforts to interact with guests in the evening - however, this cannot really compensate for accommodation that is basically motel standard.
Simply fantastic beach!!!!!
Although we got rained on for a day we had a really great time....the beach was just unbelievable and much better than everywhere else we saw on the island when we hired a jeep for the day.
Food was really good, especially our private dinner on the beach that they organised for our last night. the staff were brilliant and very friendly, albeit much better than us at the board games!!!!!! Overall id recomend it very highly, we had such a great time.
Good, but not brilliant
After a quite fantastic week on the mainland (staying at Ras Kutani and the Selous Safari Camp) we took the flight from the mainland for a week relaxing on Zanzibar.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Ras Nugwi, in fact the beach was perfect and the food was consistently great, but it lacks the 'boutique' personal feel of the smaller safari camps and of Ras Kutani.
In terms of negatives, the rooms were a little 'tired' and old fashioned, and when it rained (and it did rain quite a lot) there was not a huge amount to do (the journey to and from the hotel from Stone Town was enough to put us off venturing out to do a spice tour..)
If you are honeymooning, or looking for a romantic break in very boutique and personal surroundings this is not the place. For a cheeky week in the sun, its perfect. The problem is that the prices reflect the former rather than the latter.
Get fresh fruit at the market
Sign to Baraka's Aquarium
Travelling from Stonetown to Ras Nungwi
We fly into Zanzibar next week, arriving around 11.00am, and we are staying up at Ras Nungwi. We would appreciate some advice on the best way to get to the other end of the island. We have read there are buses but that they take ages - are there any other options? Thanks
Nungwi Beach Resort in Zanzibar
Has anyone stayed at this hotel? Our tanzanian travel agent through whom we made reservations for the kili trek and safari recommended this hotel. We are interested in diving off the island. I looked at the hotel's website at http://www.rasnungwi.com/ and it looks good, but lonely planet's tanzania guide does not recommend this hotel. Says its overpriced and plain and definetly not worth it. Any suggestions? thanks!
Re: Re: Nungwi Beach Resort in Zanzibar
No. We are using Destination Africa tours (www.climbingkilimanjaro.com). The agent that I have been corresponding with has been extremely useful. I did see the thread in the forum about Good Earth and it's interesting because as I was planning this kili/safari/zanzibar dive trip I requested a price quote from several different tour companies including Destination Africa, Good Earth, Drifters Adventure, Sagawa, East Africa Shuttles, ewp and Trans Kibo. I corresponded with a person called Narry Ernest at Good Earth. The reasons we chose Destination Africa were the price, the level of service (I went by email response for this one) and the flexibility offered. I'll post how my experience with destination africa goes once we get back (early dec).
Re: Re: Nungwi Beach Resort in Zanzibar
Correction. I think our reservations are at the Nungwi Village Beach resort which is different from Ras Nungwi - Any information on any of these would be appreciated. Thanks!
Re: Nungwi Beach Resort in Zanzibar
We stayed at RN in December. Beautiful beach but very South African. South African staff, SA food, SA music etc. It is the same as being on holiday in South Africa except you are paying expensive bills in Dollars!!
If Zanzibar is your destination, go to Chumbe Island. It is fantastic and the staff were supurb. We had a fantastic time and if we had know it was going to be so great we would have booked at longer at Chumbe.
To see their website, do a search under Chumbe.
All the best
Where to go
Hi I am thinking of going to Tanzania in February. Am thinking of going alone. I am not interested in a lot of touristy stuff, but would like to do a
Safari and maybe end up at a beach area Zanzibar?? for a couple of days
Looking to go for 10-14 days. I hear South Tanzania has good beaches, good safaries. Does anybody have any advise or recommendation for a solo female traveller, I do want to feel safe.
Any feedback, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
RE: Where to go
February-March is low tourist season in Tanzania so you won't feel too touristy anywhere. I would highly recommend a Northern Circuit 1 week safari convering Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Manyara. Great wildlife watching opportunities. You will probably be joining someone else for the safari (safari for 1 can get very expensive!!) so you'll definitely be safe there.
In Zanzibar take your time to visit Stone town (1-2 days enough for seeing the town, taking a Spice tour and maybe seeing some ruins). For quieter beaches you may want to consider the East coast rather than Ras Nungwi that is more crowded. Matemwe and Jambiani are great.
South Tanzania is off the beaten path but I heard it is great. Still 10-14 days will be a bit tight so I would go for the Northern Circuit and Zanzibar. You could also substitute Zanzibar for Kilimanjaro Climb.
Hope this helped and happy travels!
RE: RE: Where to go
Thanks a lot for your response. I checked out your travel pages,your pictures are fantastic, and I found your travel pages very helpful, it will get me started. Wish I can go longer seems 2 weeks is not a very long time...
RE: RE: Where to go
Dont worry 14 days is the norm, circa 7 days safari on the northern circuit,
Feb is very busy because of the wilderbeest migration, a spectacular sight, this is roughly a classic itinerary.
(Day 1)Tarangire national park.
(Day 2)Lake Manyara np
(Day 3)Serengeti np
(Day 4)Serengeti np
(Day 5)en-route Serengeti-Ngorongoro crater
(Day 6)Crater tour return to Arusha.
(Day 7)Flight to Zanzibar
Beach time :-)