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“gracious hosts and lovely property” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ngalawa Beach Village

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Ngalawa Beach Village
Chwaka Bay (East Coast) | P.O. Box 3557, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 121 Zanzibar B&B and Inns
Naples, Italy
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“gracious hosts and lovely property”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013

After early morning wake-ups during a wonderful 10 day safari with Maasai Wanderings (ask for Evarest or Simon), walking down the steps to an oasis of beauty was another moment to be cherished in Tanzania. JoAnne and Sadru welcomed us like family, their hospitality endless. They endeavor to integrate into the culture and support local industries; Sadru was born in Zanzibar. He and JoAnne are both Canadians.

The rooms are spacious, grouped in sets of 4 (up and down), local décor, all with decks favoring sea and garden views.

The pontilla, extending over the beach is the perfect place to lay back, observe the daily life of the Zanzibaris, and have a drink. Afternoon tea, coffee, and snacks set the pace for winding down.

The staff are friendly, and serve to remind us we are in Zanzibar, as they maintain their culture. Many speak Italian better than English due to the propensity of Italian tourists. The Maasai, who provide security, were a nice addition, and more than happy to converse.

Cuisine is one of the highlights of staying in Ngalawa Beach Hotel. Presentation and content were exceptional, each meal a work of art, and never repeated (except for breakfast).

When in need of movement, walking along the beach in either direction is simply a pleasure. There is a small fishing village nearby, with an am vegetable market and pm fish market. Everyone I came across during my twice daily meanders, were friendly and very polite. As mentioned, most spoke Italian.

The beach itself is not good for swimming, due to the drastic change in tides, soft (and sinkable) sand, intermittent sharp rocks and sea grass. It’s fine to go and sit for a while, letting the warmth of the Indian Ocean soothe weary bones. The pool offers a nice alternative to cool off.

A travel partner had an aromatherapy massage, ($50) with a view of a palm tree just outside the window. She could only describe it with a smile.

The property is isolated, perfect for a place to be still. Books, suntan lotion, and an appetite is all you’ll need!

Room Tip: Ground room floors have easy access, 2nd floor rooms have more privacy and better views
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoAnne T, Owner at Ngalawa Beach Village, responded to this review, April 22, 2013
Jambo from Ngalawa!

We do thank you for sharing your experience with us ..naturally we are thrilled that all of your expectations were met and more!

For us it is thrilling to see our guests really "get" the African experience,and be so willing to venture in to the village,watch the beautiful Colobus monkeys and Sykes Monkeys that make themselves at home .

The warmth of the Indian Ocean is fantastic on this side of the island due to the tides and the hot sand warming the water.
I believe you really enjoyed learning the local Bao game a well.Our Barmen are excellent teachers.

We do apologize for any extra kilos that may have been put on due to our very talented Chef!!

We hope you had an uneventful Safari back home, and from all of us ,thankyou for choosing Ngalawa Beach
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106 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

Have just spent a week at Ngalawa beach village, from the moment we arrived we felt totally at home . The location was great, our hosts made us feel totally at ease , the food was beyond great, and we left totally recharged. Everyone involved contributed to a wonderful holiday, this place should be available on medical aid!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitehorse, Canada
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

We just recently stay at this paradise after 4 weeks of travelling in Africa and hiking Kilimanjaro. It was such a great place to relax and do absolutely nothing or options exist if you want to get involved in activities. The rooms were very nice and the little detailed touches were refreshing. The staff were amazing in making us feel like a part of the family. Joanne and Sadru are the owners and went out of their way to meet any of our needs and connect us with the right people in Stone Town when we wanted to do some shopping. It was really hot there and the airconditioning in the room wasn't powerful enough to keep the room cool, so overnight with A/C and a fan still was difficult to sleep in comfort. Meals were included and were so good that weight loss is not an option. Beach was nice and very private but January/February tides brought a lot of seagrass to shore.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoAnne T, Owner at Ngalawa Beach Village, responded to this review, February 16, 2013
Greetings from beautiful Zanzibar!
Thank you for choosing our litle hideaway for your time to rejuvinate from your Safari and Mnt Kili climb.

You were both delightful guests, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking you fabric shopping and showing you some of our historical Stonetown.

In regards to the airconditioning we would have been more than eager to rectify this issue had we been informed.These things normally just require a simple solution, and just a few minutes to adjust or repair.

In regards to the sea grass..that time has already passed on this side of the bay, and mother nature remaines kind bestowing plenty of sunshine and tropical breezes.

Thank you for your kind words in your reference to our food .We are very proud of our team and their culinary skills , we realize how important good food is to guests and are thrilled we met or exceeded your expectations.

Once again, thank you for choosing Ngalawa Beach Resort, and from all our team

Safari njema
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Melbourne
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

Ngalawa Beach Village on the east coast, is one of the most peaceful, restful places I’ve ever been to, nicely isolated from the bustle of Zanzibar town. We did not know anything about the resort before Maasai Wanderings suggested it as an extension to the safaris we’d already booked through them for October.

The entire place is so peaceful – from the gardens that flow down from the entrance, past the high bamboo and thatched roof open air restaurant, sweeping around the buildings that edge the resort, past the semi-secluded pool and on to the open air bar overlooking the water with steps down to the beach. The food was restaurant quality and the owners and staff go out of their way to make you feel welcome.

The steps at the side of the bar led to a long and almost isolated beach that afforded many a blissful walk at any time of the day, whether we went to watch the fishing boats come in from a nearby village, or a moonlight stroll. The beach is not brilliant for swimming as the tide recedes a hundred meters to sandy mud flats, however, this is more than compensated by the lovely swimming pool.

There were frangipani and other flowers decoratively placed around our room when we arrived and our expansive room had a lovely balcony overlooking the gardens. It was a wonderful place to gaze from or read a book.

One of our favourite things to do was to have a drink in the open air bar in the afternoon overlooking the ocean and play bao (or any of the other readily available but unobtrusive coffee table game options). The moon was also beautiful over the water.

I can’t speak highly enough of this place, nor can I find the words to convey the all-encompassing sense of peace I felt there. A must if you want to get away from the world in Zanzibar.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

I am sorry to say but we were sorely disappointed by Ngalawa Beach Village. We stayed two nights, booked for 7 and simply decided to cut our losses and move somewhere where our "dream island holiday" will materialise. Ngalawa is a quaint little complex, with the dwarf goats and friendly staff, but they'll have to seriously address some issues if they want to keep the customers coming.
The "beach" in their name is deceptive as you will not get a beach holiday as you may have imagined. It's more of a holiday around a well-kept pool. Their advertising is also deceptive as they claim to have "international chefs" - really? Or simply a cook not from Zanzibar itself?

I have a few suggestions to make to the owners:
1) Drop the transfer rates - $70 per trip is a rip-off. Make it worthwhile for guests to stay in the middle of nowhere, and you'll retain your customers. Or warn them in advance (then they might not come, agreed)
2) Consider having a buffet, or at least a menu that can be booked in advance for instance. The breakfast should DEFINITELY be a buffet.
3) In an all-inclusive package one definitely expects more than only Sprite and Coke on offer, as well as at least free Kilimanjaro beers, say, at lunch. Do you have ANY idea what other resorts offer when they claim "all-inclusive"? Another deceptive advertising trick.
4) Increase the entertainment area's facilities. What about sun-shades around the pool and a yoga-mat or two?

I will not recommend Ngalawa Beach to my friends or family and I've already advised my travel agent I won't be using them anymore.

Simply not what we believed we were to expect. .

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoAnne T, Owner at Ngalawa Beach Village, responded to this review, May 1, 2013
Greetings of the day
It is with sincere concern that I reply to your valued review.
I have taken the time to very carefully study each issue you seem to have had, and as well to read reviews that you have posted about other properties….. It is with pleasure that I will attempt to address each point.
Here is why things may not have gone quite as you had envisioned.
Firstly thank you for giving us a try…and thank you for the kind things you did have to report.
The beach. World Dictionary…noun. .Beach...an extensive area of sand, the part of the shore of an ocean or lake or river washed by the tides or waves. We have a gorgeous long beach that leads to a lovely quaint village with the market and local villagers. Along the way there are stunning shells of all sorts to pick thru. The tide does go out, as on any island and on the way in the sands are hot and warm the water for swimming. There is nothing deceptive about it...and you will get a beach.


Yes we do have a well-appointed pool, and literally 3 steps next to it facing the Ocean, we have the heavily treed upper beach area.it is shaded by massive Neem trees and additional sunbeds .including sunbeds on the beach .As well the sun moves as you are aware, leaving not all of the pool in total sun all day long .also every morning our staff place beach beds on the beach .
We also have every day, beach volley ball and locals or other guest join in, games on the pontilla like our African Bao game and our Barmen are excellent teachers, scrabble, chess, so many books ,lovely hammock in the beach garden and a swing.

Our Chefs…this is an area that we excel...we are known to go out of our way to ensure you receive high end cuisine created by our team...we have our Executive Chef who is NOT from Africa and is educated in International cuisine…yes really. His team is from Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania and we feel so fortunate to have found them. We usually do a buffet only on African food nights and Arabic, Indian food nights.
Our lunches are 3 courses including fresh homemade bread basket, Dinner is 4 courses and let’s not forget about our wonderful tea time, and the lovely baked goods and savories ,on the Pontilla at 4:30 every afternoon. Not once in a two week stay would a guest ever have the same meal twice including our soups and starters. Truly a culinary delight for foodies!! We have had chef’s as our guests from Europe, Canada, U.S and S.A. who have been thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by our Executive Chefs talents and hard work. At any time our Chef would have been more than happy to create any dish for you had we known. Again, upon arrival you are asked if you have any favorites ,allergies or special requests

Breakfast…we offer a very full menu for Breakfast and your choice of as much as you wish…or as many items as you wish …no limits..
Full board and All inclusive…
There is nothing deceptive about our advertising or our web site.., however I can see where you may have gone abit astray by not having a full understanding of the difference between FULL BOARD and ALL INCLUSIVE.
We are full board as your travel agent would have made you aware, and it is on our website.www.ngalawazanzibar.com. This means all of your meals and nonalcoholic drinks and Tea Time is included. This does include all soft drinks and fresh juice tea and coffee. And yes…thank you we know what other hotels are doing as we network together.
Transport….Our hotel does not set the rates…. We do not have our own taxi s and buses, so must depend on the reliable and safe drivers we have known of over the years with proper licenses and road insurance, good tires and A.C .However you can take local transport or find your own way via random drivers, but that come with a new set of issues just to save a bit and if you have children with you that must be considered .You had a choice.
As well during the day you can see what other guests have planned and join in to save costs if cost is an issue..
Upon your arrival you are given amap of the Island and a list including prices of the top ten most popular activities to do in Zanzibar, including the costs of transport .There are no surprises as you claim.
We hope this has clarified where you may have misunderstood , and we are most willing to speak with your travel agent or cc this to them if this will assist you.
Warm regards
The Team at Ngalawa
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Johannesburg, South Africa
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

We recently spent a wonderfully happy and relaxed seven night holiday at Ngalawa Beach Village in Zanzibar. This is a small, elegant boutique hotel that was designed, built and is personally managed by delightful hosts Joanne and Sadru Taja. Their hospitality and commitment to excellence is outstanding. Together with their helpful and cheerful staff, they ensure that their guests’ every need is personally catered for.

On the scheduled day of our departure to Zanzibar, an unfortunate passport mishap resulted in our being delayed by four days. Following a hurried long-distance phone call from our tour operator, Sadru graciously rescheduled our booking at short notice so as to ensure that our holiday would not be spoiled, and that we would meet our ongoing schedule.

Joanne is a qualified chef, and she personally supervises the catering staff. Fresh ingredients are sourced from local suppliers and the meals are all expertly cooked and attractively and tastefully presented. Lunches are three course affairs, while dinners comprise four courses. After meals, one can relax in Lily’s Bar and enjoy the cooling breezes which drift in across the bay. At high tide the waves lap underneath the bar. Joanne and Sadru take their meals with the guests in the hotel dining-room and ensure their guests’ comfort and wellbeing.

The reception is always open, and Sadru will gladly help guests to plan sight-seeing excursions.

There are 18 rooms, all of which are well-appointed, spacious and comfortable, and equipped with air-conditioners and fans. The gardens centre round a large circular swimming pool. The gardens have shady trees and comfortable loungers. During dinner in the evenings, the attentive staff turn down the beds and adorn the rooms with petals from fragrant tropical flowers. A very nice touch!

Thank you to Joanne, Sadru and the whole staff for a great holiday.

We would certainly visit Ngalawa Beach Village again. It would be like going back home!

Noel and Pam, South Africa

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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at sea
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2012

Ok, lets settle the beach question right away...if you are looking for a broad white beach with breakers rolling in and surfing galore, then this is not your destination. But...there IS a beach and yes its white and nice sand for walking or laying on. When the tide is out...its a long way out....but when the tide is in...you can swim in clean water a few metres off the beach.....IF however, you are looking for good food, a sense of peaceful relaxation and very comfortable accomodation then NGALAWA is a good choice. It is not a long ride from Stonetown and other destinations on this island. The owners take a very "up front" role in running the resort and insist on only the highest levels of standard, so that you as a clent can relax and enjoy the huge pool, the well kept property. the over the water bar and lounge area is great for anyone that is looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a drink and read or play a local game and enjoy the view out over Chakwa bay. If you are going to compare, then be fair and compare with other higher end resorts. this is a small Boutique resort, where you are a person and not a statistic. Go and enjoy all that joanne and Sadru have to offer. You will only be disappointed if you do not take advantage of what this resort has to offer.

Room Tip: choose a room closer to the beach to enjoy the prevailing breeze on your balcony, but keep your door...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JoAnne T, Owner at Ngalawa Beach Village, responded to this review, November 10, 2012
Greetings from Ngalawa!
It was such a pleasure to,have you as our guests , We are as always so,proud of our small piece of chosen paradise !
We look forward to perhaps having the joy of serving you again in the future !

All the best

The entire staff of Ngalawa
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Additional Information about Ngalawa Beach Village

Address: Chwaka Bay (East Coast) | P.O. Box 3557, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 121 B&Bs / Inns in Zanzibar
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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Also Known As:
Ngalawa Beach Village Hotel Zanzibar

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