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“Great start into honeymoon!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa

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Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Chuini Ruins, Bububu, Tanzania   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bububu
Neunkirchen, Germany
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Great start into honeymoon!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2008

While planning our wedding abroad we came across the homepage of Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge and were instantly enthused: This was exactly the ambience we had in mind!
In short:
- every day great food by an even greater chef (Andi), the fantastic seafood was delivered freshly out of the sea every morning by the fishermen
- wonderful wedding day that was perfectly organised by Fritz & Rose (thank you so much!!)
- comfortable and clean rooms with a beautiful veranda and view
- we loved Hakuna Matata's relaxing and familiar atmosphere
- beautifully integrated into old ruins of a palace
- amazing sunsets at the beach
and last but not least: THE DONKEY FAMILY!!!!!
Just one thing: Prices for drinks and lunch -not included- could be more moderate considering the lack of alternatives in the area around.
All in all: We had a great time and we plan to visit Hakuna Matata again.

  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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415 reviews from our community

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  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2008

We had an excellent family safari to Tanzania. After 2 weeks of game watching in the North we had 5 days of relaxing at Zanzibar's Hakuna Matata. The new executive bungalow was perfect for us 4 (parents and children at the age of 18 and 9). The beach was lovely, quiet and very clean. But there is also a nice pool area within a beautiful garden we enjoyed very much. The whole place is very picturesque and kept its natural environment. The hospitality of Rose and Fritz was great and especially their cuisine is superb. The service of their staff is excellent. Everybody is very kind and they gave good advice, whether you want to make a short trip or you just want to know more about the country and its people. Close to Stone Town the lodge is a perfect base for all these little safaris / spice tours all over the island. Our daughter's favourite was the little donkey girl Anna living free in the garden. And if you are lucky as we were on that first Sunday in July you can see dolphins playing right in front of the terrace or you just enjoy this marvellous African sunset ...

  • Liked — Food and Picturesque Place
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2008

‘Off the beaten track’ – I have heard this phrase many times but not really ever experienced it-until you come to the ‘driveway’ for Hakuna Matata. “A few kilometers on dirt track” our driver told us-wow is the drive in bumpy!! Do not let this put you off, for at the end of the dirt track is a wonderful place called the Hakuna Matata. We arrived late evening to be greeted by Rose (German owner) and Andy ( new chef replacing Thomas) Would we like some dinner? After 4 hours in Nairobi airport (Tuskers cost a pound a bottle…it helped the 4 hours go a lot quicker!!) and a questionable looking sandwich on the Precision Air flight, yes we would very much like some dinner. Soup, chicken and crepes later we are shown to our first bungalow Bagamoyo. We only stayed in Bagamoyo one night until the previous guests of Tabora the bungalow we had booked for the rest of our stay left.

I’d chosen the Hakuna Matata after mainly reading the reviews on trip advisor. The holiday was a surprise for my other halfs birthday and I was so excited I could have easily have been disappointed after months of secret planning. Thankfully I wasn’t and don’t think I could have made a better choice!!
The property is built on the ruins of an Omani Sultans Palace. It’s also grassy and has well paved paths lined with all the old trees-mango, banana etc. It’s not a big resort so easy to explore. Bagamoyo is at the back of the property-although sea facing does not really have a sea view. Huge 4 poster bed, lovely heavy wooden furniture, separate toilet and shower room. Terrace on the front with table and chairs.
It was sitting on the terrace we first encountered Paul, Paula and Ana the resident donkeys. They are delightful! So nosey and friendly, they get everywhere. We spent hours just watching them wandering around the grounds.
We moved to Tabora the next day-their executive bungalow. It’s spacious, cool and has a perfect view of the beach and sunset. Divided into two-a large living room with 2 single beds, large writing desk and sofas with huge windows so you don’t miss anything-including the amazing sunsets! Then the bedroom, smaller 4 poster bed with the obligatory mosquito net although we weren’t overly bothered with mosquitoes here. They spray the room every evening and prepare the mosquito nets around the bed for you. Every bungalow has a ceiling fan and a/c. We found we didn’t need to use the a/c and the fans were enough. There was also loads of wardrobe space-ideal for a girl like me who just cannot master the art of traveling light!
There are no TV’s in the rooms but they do have an internet hotspot providing a good wireless connection. We took our laptop and a few DVD’s to watch and loads of books which suited us perfectly.
Housekeeping were brilliant, the bungalows were serviced daily and always spotless.
The food cooked by Andy and his team is very fresh-the first day we even saw the fisherman moor his boat and bring in the tuna we then had for lunch. Fish features heavily because they try to use local produce so this property may not be ideal for those who don’t like fish. The choice isn’t huge either-perhaps because the property is around 12km out of Stone Town, they don’t get passing trade so only cater for their guests-around 15 cover max per night. The waiting team is great, led by Vanilla, always smiling and asking what you got up to that day. It only took a couple of days before our regular orders of local cider (Mike) and pina colada (me) were flowing endlessly to our table. Each night they try to do a different theme-we had a Swahili cooking night (lovely food), beach BBQ, curry night and fondue night whilst we were there.
The resort has 24 hour security and the perimeter fences has broken glass bottles on them-I wasn’t sure of this was to keep out animals or people but we never ever felt uneasy or uncomfortable. They advise you not to leave the resort without a driver but to be honest, it’s a good 2-3km to the main road and there is nothing you’d want to walk to.

Mohammed the tour guide is there daily and organized some great tours for us-at reasonable prices too. The most memorable was the day we took the local boat out to a sandbank about 5 miles from Hakuna Matata for a picnic and snorkeling and then onto Prison Island. Sitting alone on that sandbank with nothing but ocean all around us sipping a bottle of champagne was magical. It was Mikes birthday and he turned to me and said ‘well, you’ll have to do something huge to top this next year!’ We also did a walking tour of stone town, east coast tour, north coast tour and spice farm visit interspersed with days just lying on the beach. The beach here isn’t as amazing as the east coast ones we visited but it’s clean, quiet and the loungers are comfy! It’s very tidal so its not possible to swim all day but they have a pool you can use.

We had 2 meals in Stone Town-one at a restaurant recommend by Mohammed that I haven’t seen in any guidebooks called Al Johari-just down from Africa House Hotel. The meal here was stunning, the food amazing and service lovely. We also went to the Italian restaurant which unfortunately was a huge mistake-the food was inedible, the waiters didn’t know what they were doing, the table behind us (4 pax) waited 90 mins for 4 pizza’s, the table in front of us (3 pax) waited 2 hours for their dinner. It took 2 hours for us to have a starter and a main course-both were awful and we were really disappointed after reading positive reviews in all the guidebooks. The manager (Italian) there wouldn’t even come and speak to us when we wanted to complain-not a good experience. Mohammed will sort out taxis for you if you wish to go to Stone Town-its currently $15 each way.

Rose and Fritz were always around, always asking if there was anything we needed. A really lovely couple who should be very proud of what they have created. All the staff are great and we couldn’t have asked for more.

This was out first visit to any African country and the poverty of the local towns in Zanzibar did humble and sadden us. But the people are so friendly and we met some local children in Paje village and gave sweets to them-a tiny gesture but it seemed appreciated. I was very glad we hadn’t chosen to stay at one of the bigger multi national chains in Zanzibar but had chosen to stay at a smaller, family run property using local people and local resources. If you are the sort of person who needs a power shower every morning, a huge breakfast buffet, 20 choices for dinner and a perfectly combed artificial beach then this isn’t for you. Having said that, I thought I WAS that person I have just described but I just couldn’t stop smiling all week! We would love to come back, Rose and Fritz have created a little peace of heaven and tranquility at the Hakuna Matata and we loved every second of being there.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — There are much better beaches in Zanzibar
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2008

We just got back from a 6 night stay (cut short to a 4 night stay) at Hakuna Matata. We had read all the fantastic reviews so had high hopes of the place. In addition, the place wasnt exactly cheap at $230 a night in a standard room half board. We started off in Zanzibar at the fantastic Shooting Star Lodge (which charges the same price for standard accomodation as Hakuna Matata), so our expectations were high.
All round, Hakuna Matata was a big let down, but I will start with the positives:
Rose and Fritz were lovely, polite and accomodating.
The donkeys were adorable.
The ruins(the lodge has been built around Chuini Ruins Palace) were very unusual and picturesque.

The negatives:
When we arrived, we were not shown around the hotel, merely taken to our room and told the pool was over there somewhere. An explanation and a small guided tour would have been most wecome and we were surprised this wasnt included, particularly given the unusual nature of the resort.
Our room was extremely disappointing, dark and dreary. It was clean although the bedding smellt damp and mouldy. There was nowhere to sit in the room - it was far too small, you literally stepped in and you were at the foot of the bed. the bathroom was very cramped too. The porch though was lovely.
The air con didnt work and we were told someone would come to fix it, no one did, although when we asked Fritz ourselves he did come fairly quickly to fix it.
There was no main light in the room! in the evening we had to make do with light from the small table lamp and the night lights.
The night lights were a foot over the bed attached to the back wall so every time we tried to sit up or moved in our sleep our heads banged on these lights.
I think I mentioned the bedding smellt damp. The pillows were not pillows - but beanbag style oversize cushions which were half empty. We did ask Rose and she kindly gave us pillows - unfortunately they werent much better.
There was never enough hot water for just one shower a day. Luckily we didnt go swimming in either the pool or the sea, so made do with one shower a day.
The pool was set amongst the ruins - from the website you would have thought it would be a very luxurious spa like pool, unfortunately - it was small and depressing and furnished with large white tiles that you usually see in public toilets in the UK. The whole time we were there we didnt see one person use the pool.
The tide came and went at odd times ( i know this isnt a criticism of HM and cannot be helped) but for information, if you are hoping to swim in the sea - HM is not the place to do it.
Billiards table, table tennis, was also advertised as being available - we were never shown where these were and couldnt find them. There was also a projector outside to watch movies - but during our stay not one movie was shown.
The staff - at first we thought they were rather odd - their mannerisms and comments were strange - one waiter liked to wait at our table - lean over us while we were eating not saying a word for a good minute or two, then would just say "tell me.." Erm tell him what exactly? We tried saying the food was good etc but he just continued to stand there. Eventually we realised he was trying to be polite and make conversation but had obviously learnt some odd mannerisms from somewhere...
Rose and Fitz were very nice, but sometimes it was suffocating at dinner to be asked over and over again how the food was,and then have the question repeated by the staff. This was especially more uncomfortable because we didnt enjoy a single meal at HM. Also it was fairly uncomfortable while sat at the bar, to see Rose and Fitz arguing,being rude to each other, and shouting at the staff.
The chef was very odd - he made an innappropriate comment to me (just before we were leaving) and also one day decided to tell a "funny" story to one of the waiters (loudly so we would hear) about how he had once cooked at some other hotel and made several people ill because he had served salmon which had gone bad.
The food ranged from fairly poor to very weird and just bad.
One night was fondue night were we had to skewer pieces of fish and beef (oddly) and boil it in a vat of hot water on our table. The food was unimaginative, bland, badly cooked. Curry night was the worst - we were served heinz tomato soup with a smatter of spices with undercooked rice. The vegetable curry was light green in colour, watery and the veggies were rock hard.
We were charged extra for dessert but were never informed when dessert was or wasnt included.
We ate lunch only once and ordered pasta with a side of fried calamari - instead we got large chunks of squid mixed into our pasta but were charged for 2 sides of calamari plus 2 pastas. The meal came to nearly US$50!! For two plates of pasta!
There is a small excursion desk and the (seemingly) nice Mohammed helps you to book tours. Unfortunately, he is very expensive and also lied to us when we asked him about the very popular Safari Blue tour - telling us the owners of Safari Blue were biased towards those of Italian origin, and telling us the tour didnt operate until the end of July. This was not true - and when we moved to another hotel, we managed to go on the Safari Blue excursion which was a lot of fun.

All in all not the best experience, we decided to leave early and finish our stay elsewhere as it was depressing at HM. There was no atmosphere and nothing to do, the food was bad, and the drinks expensive.
It was just a strange and uncomfortable experience all round. Shooting Star on the other hand is a true boutique lodge experience, with lovely friendly staff and fantastic food - and so much better value for money. The pool is fantastic - the views cannot be compared.
I know most people will do what I usually do and read the majority reviews, this review may well be disregarded, but please at the very least, divide your time between both the West coast and the East coast.

  • Liked — Sunset over the Ruins, donkeys were cute and friendly
  • Disliked — everything - room, food, atmosphere..
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

We came for a late honeymoon and ended uopon cloud nine.
Hospitality of -Fritz and Rose and complete staff is overwhelming.
Food worldclass. Always fresh fish
The Location makes you feel to be in paradise -
The sunsets just ahhhhh.

The personal care of Fritz and Rose makes you feel like at home.
You need something - they will be there.
Also not to forget Mohamed - thanks a lot for beautiful excusions and lots of information.
Paula in this time still pregnant and now mother of little Anna gave uns 1 more reason to come back - next holiday is already planed

Here you have an excellent value for money

Wolke 7

  • Liked — food , staff and sunset
  • Disliked — to go home again
  • Stayed October 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mecklenburg Vorpommern
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge offers the most relaxing place in combination with 5* Food. Expecting Thomas we met the new Chef Andy who is just great.
All rooms are new renovated , the beach offers a lot of space to relax. Just look Manjabu in the eyes and you will get a matress, bolster and towel in a minute.
The well educated staff takes care the whole day. Vivky the new Spa lady has golden hands - don´t miss a massage.
The missing eletricity on Sansibar just was not recognizable at Hkuna Matata but in Town you should be careful with water and food
Rose and Fritz created a small paradise .
Fore sure we will return.
Marianne and Manfred

  • Liked — all
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2008

Hakuna Matata Resort
Date: 22nd March 2008

We had a wonderful Easter break of 4 days at Hakuna Matata. The resort is small and secluded with lovely seaviews. It's well situated for day trips to other beaches and Stonetown. We stayed in a spacious bungalow consisting of 1 bedroom plus livingroom and terrace. The food is great, which is good, as there is nowhere else close by. Although it would be possible to go into Stonetown for dinner (if you could be bothered). The beach is very tidal, however you can have a lovely dip when the tide is in. They also have a very nice pool.
Rose & Fritz are great hosts, they even posted my forgotten shoes to Dar Es Salaam!
A great place if you need a quiet break.
Lyn & Rex - Australia

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa

Address: Chuini Ruins, Bububu, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Bububu
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Bububu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa. Located on the west coast of the exotic island Zanzibar under shady age-old mango trees, bordered by a secret private bay you will find our 4 star hotel Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa. Our beach hotel offers 13 comfortable bungalows - all with a spectacular view to of Indian Ocean. The new Villa Zanzibar is the highlight of all bungalows. Weddings and honeymoons - are you are looking for a romantic place to get married under palm trees, on the beach or next to historical palace ruins? Here, your dreams will come true. In our unique Day Spa you may revitalize your body and soul. Enjoy the breathtaking African sunsets. Let your eyes wander to the south, see the skyline of Stone Town, the small Chapwani and Prison Island, and just ahead the silhouette of the African continent. You will feel enchanted. The hotel is managed by the German owners Rose and Fritz. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hakuna Matata Beach Hotel Bububu
Hakuna Matata Beach Bububu
Hakuna Matata Beach Lodge & Spa Zanzibar/Bububu

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