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“Wonderful stay” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mnarani Beach Cottages

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Mnarani Beach Cottages
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   North Coast | P O Box 3361, Nungwi, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 17 Hotels in Nungwi
London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Wonderful stay”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

we have just spent a lovely 5 days here. situated right on the beach. the tide goes out very far so it's not really a beach you can lay on but there is a lovely decking area with sunbeds and hammocks and a great pool to swim in. if you want the big sprawling beach then get a cab to Kendwa which is only a few dollars.

the staff go out of there way to be helpful. precision air lost my luggage and the staff at the hotel were great with checking on its progress and in the end actually took me to the airport themselves so as i could collect it. the airport is an hour away so this was really kind of them.

The food is pretty good as long as you like buffett style and they also lay on entertainment some nights which is good fun.

A very relaxing place if you are after a chill out.

Only slight criticism is due to the energy supply the air conditioning is a bit hit and miss and without it the nights are unbearably hot. the staff are very good at trying to fix the units sometimes with success and sometimes not!

Would definitely reccommend this hotel to friends and family.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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279 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
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English first
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

We spent a week in mnarani about a year ago and this place is simply fantastic. It was our first time traveling into Africa (we're from Cape Town, South Africa which is really totally different to the rest of Africa) and were not sure what to expect. On arrival, the pics on the website literally come alive, that includes the smiles on the hotel staff's faces. We had a basic but all you need on an island beach bungalow which looks out to the amazing blue sea and white shore. The staff are all really lovely and helpful, humble people. They go out of their way to accommodate and are super friendly. They are also very honest about prices, advising you how to best get around the island if you ask etc. The hotel serves lovely zanzabarian suppers and lovely breakfasts too ( we stayed half board as most days we were out on trips), nothing over extravagant but lovely...I still daydream about having my spice tea and pancakes on the veranda overlooking the morning fisherman walking out the sea with their spears and fresh catch :) Another major perk of this hotel is its location, it's next to the lighthouse and turtle aquarium where you'll meet the most awesome guy (Suleiman) running the aquarium. He too can hook up private Dow trips for snorkeling, going to kwenda beach (best swimming beach),private dolphin tours where u can actually swim with these magnificent creatures,private hand line fishing trips and Braai / bbq your catch by bonfire if u like. Mnarani hooks up tours too, their trip out to mnemba island on their own Dow was awesome. We used both the hotel and other tours because as a couple, we wanted to do some tours on our own. Mnarani has a great pool area and hammocks all over. During low tide, you can't swim in front the hotel but it's great to walk the beach front during low tide. I would advise taking a pair of swimming shoes / crocs as there are some sea urchins, very few on the north of the island compared to other parts where beaches are sometimes unswimmable but rather safe than sore! They also have an awesome little massage parlour outside and if you walk to the piere right next to mnarani, you can lunch at a super fancy little restaurant on the piere, right in the sea and go swim or snorkel right there...again, great location :) the evenings are peaceful and quiet, we would spend them laying on hammocks looking up at an unpolluted sky bursting with fiery stars and watch little fireflies pass by, it was magical. Things to remember is that zanzibar is an Islamic island, visiting means you must respect the people 's beliefs and way of life. If you want to walk around in a bikini on the beach & lounge around topless, best you go elsewhere. North Zanzibar & Mnarani is a simple, natural, earthly getaway. It's a totally different experience to the Thai and Eastern islands in that it's totally uncommercialised in that area. Thanks to Mnarani for the most awesome holiday, I'm sure we'll see u again! Alleyah & Eesa

Room Tip: 1. I think beach bungalows are better than garden bungalows as you look out to the sea from your por...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nassor_Maharouky, Owner at Mnarani Beach Cottages, responded to this review, November 24, 2012
Dear Alleyah and Eesa,

Thank you for your detailed and informative review! How nice to know that you are still keeping fond memories of your stay with us, and we are looking very much forward to welcoming you again at Mnarani!

Best wishes,

Nassor Maharouky and team
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St. Petersburg, Russia
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 28, 2012

It was our first visit to Zanzibar after the long safari in Kenya and Tanzania, we were tired and all the way down to the island we were excited to spend our fabulous 7 days in the sun enjoying clean white beaches and clear water. Well what we saw when we arrived was the opposite. Dirty, smelly beaches, no way you could swim in that water and even if you could, first you would have to go 2 kms straight by feet because the water stayed far away till 3-4 pm and remember, it's getting dark pretty early in that country. Imagine now, this was just the half of the problem we had with this hotel. The other part is more of a domestic criminal case. Africa is all about money, it's really expensive and the prices are literally taken from the sky, they are made up the same very minute you show your interest in something so negotiation is important. With this hotel we agreed on details and prices by mail, we did not sign any contract and we asked for a free transfer to be arranged from the hotel to the airport because we decided to check other hotels on our arrival and then choose where to stay as we were short of money. First the situation got suspicious when we arrived from Kilimajaro and I saw a guy standing with the piece of paper and my name on it. I passed by this guy as my friend was getting a good deal on taxi but as there were no more white people arriving that evening, the guy figured it was us, 4 girls and began to push us to go to his car. I explained him our deal with the hotel, he made a call and i talked to some other guy who said it was okay to take a free transfer now and on our arrival to nungwi we can do whatever we want. We arrived very late, we got in the room, i filled the form saying we are staying for one night and moving out tomorrow. On the next day when we were totally disappointed with the hotel, we found a taxi and did a check out, we payed, we took our luggage and got in the car. The next thing we know they don't open the gates. So we are stuck. They demand to pay 50% of all the nights we promised to stay in our e-mail and to pay for a transfer. Obviously we refused because there was no any cancelation policy whatsoever and we didn't sign any contract!!!!!!! We call the police. The police arrives. They do nothing, just some blablabla, they walk away on us. In panic we are trying to run, but the security grabs our bags, they don't let go, we are trying to climb over the gates and scream for help but they unleashed their dog. They blackmailed us, threaten us all the way through, we were prisoners. Nobody could help. Eventually with lots of time wasted over there, our way out costed us additional money plus money for the transfer. We wasted the whole day on zanzibar fighting and crying for help. We were tired and broken. IT WAS HELL NOT A PARADISE. These people don't care about their reputation and their clients, all they see is money. And now i understand why they picked us from the airport, they could not lose money. We are back home now but we still can not forget what we got into on Zanzibar. THESE PEOPLE ARE DANGEROUS. PLEASE IF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR LIFE, NEVER NEVER NEVER CHOOSE THIS HOTEL.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilimandege, Inhaber at Mnarani Beach Cottages, responded to this review, November 1, 2012
Trip Advisor is a valuable source of information and advise for travelers. It is unfortunate if it is being instrumentalized for a personal vendetta - which you told us clearly you are going to wage against us in your attempt to "destroy" Mnarani (your words).

For the sake of clarification and balance, we did publish our version of the events in our reply to the previous comment from Lenor_12.

We are wholeheartedly doing our very best for our guests, and in all the years never had a scene like this; we also still think it's normal to pay for services received.

Nassor Maharouky
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Basel, Switzerland
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

This is our 4th visit to Mnarani, and it seems to get better every time. Nassor, the owner, is constantly improving his place, upgrading the rooms and facilities and thinking of new ways to offer his guests an ever better holiday experience.
The bungalows are surrounded by a beautiful, well tended garden atop a cliff, but with easy access to the beach. There are swings, beach beds and hammocks everywhere, and friendly, smiling staff is doing their best to make us feel welcome and comfortable.
Being set in its own small bay, the place has a private, cozy feel to it, but a 10 minute walk along the beach at low tide takes you right to where the action is (and the loud music, and the beach boys and peddlers, too).
The crowd at Mnarani is very mixed, families, couples and small groups from all parts of the world, so we meet interesting people every time.
All in all, clearly recommended!
We will come back again!

  • Stayed August 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
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012

What a wonderful place to stay! I couldn't believe the setting when we arrived - it looked like a film set with hammocks & loungers on a wooden deck above the bluest sea I had ever seen; dhows sailing to the reef; palm trees & golden sand! We had a 'superior' room overlooking the sea which was split level with a double 4 poster bed upstairs & a single bed below in a large living area with fridge & kettle & 2 outside sitting areas. The food was good with a large buffet being offered most nights. Mnarani is in the quiet bit of Nungwi but it was only 10 mins walk along the beach (at low tide - inacessable at high tide) to the main drag of hotels & restaurants on the western side of the point. We loved the aquarium, which is just opposite Mnarani, where one could swim with the turtles & tropical fish. We also enjoyed a day trip to Mnemba island with snorkelling & a fish lunch on the beach & were lucky to see dolphins close by!

Room Tip: The standard rooms were very small. It is worth the bit extra to get a sea view superior room
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2012

My husband and I just returned from our 2 week "Bush and Beach" honeymoon, starting with a budget safari in the Maasai Mara and ending with a wonderful stay in Zanzibar at Mnarani Beach Cottages.

Let me tell you that I obsessively researched different resorts/hotels in Zanzibar, using Trip Advisor most of the time. We settled on Nungwi (the northern tip of the island where Mnarani is located) because it is not as quiet as the east coast (which I have been to before and loved, but my husband and I were looking for a little more adventure and goings-on). We settled on Mnarani because, while located in Nungwi, near Kendwa (the more populated. "party" areas), it is about a 20 minute walk from the most populated areas. For us, this was PERFECT. Close enough that we could be in on the action if we wanted to, far enough away for us to feel that we were the only resort on the island. For a honeymoon, we definitely wanted a little bit of that secluded feel, which we certainly got at Mnarani. We also liked that Mnarani was mostly couples and families, not a lot of young backpackers. We ourselves are usually the young backpackers (if you want to be with that crowd, hit up Kendwa for sure), but again, for our honeymoon we wanted a little something different!

The beach front at Mnarani is exotic, stunningly gorgeous and definitely swimmable! We swam every day! If you are looking for a place to lay out on the sand for hours with plenty of tourists and zero rocks and seaweed, maybe head to Kendwa for the "golden mile" of beaches. But again, this is more populated, and full of "beach boys" and fake Maasai trying to sell you things. We went by this area on a friend's boat and the beach was littered with young people laying out and loud music thumping from the beach bar. VERY cool, if that what you are looking for (aside from the aforementioned beach boys and fake Maasai). We loved feeling like the only people in Zanzibar while at Mnarani. :)

We loved Mnarani and would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, romantic, adventurous get-away. The staff was SO friendly, warm and welcoming. We met Nassor, the owner, and he was walking around and getting to know the guests. The manager, Sula, was also getting to know people and was just lovely. Coco, another staff member there, was warm and funny and enjoyable to be around. Even the housekeeping staff always had a smile on their face as they greeted you daily with a warm, "Jambo!" The food was delicious and wonderfully presented, with pride and wonderful ambiance. They even decorated our bed for us with flowers, and gave us a private table right over the beach for our honeymoon dinner.

Final thought - I noticed someone complain that Mnarani was next door to a "local slum" - this could NOT be more far from the truth! Mnarani is located in the Nungwi village, where local people live and thrive. To hear someone call their village a "slum" is disheartening. Almost every man in this village is a fisherman, and without them Mnarani would not have the delicious seafood selection they do. They also get many of their staff from the village. It is obvious that the village locals help to support the hotels and resorts in Nungwi, and without them the Zanzibari charm would just not be there.

Room Tip: They honeymoon suite in the Zanzibar House was more private than the cottages - highly recommend it!
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  • Stayed August 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kilimandege, Owner at Mnarani Beach Cottages, responded to this review, August 31, 2012
Dear Jaime & Donovan,

thank you so much for your detailed and positive feedback both during your stay with us and here on Trip Advisor.
We are doing our very best for all our guests, and to see them enjoying their stay the way you did is both gratification and incentive for us.
It was a pleasure having you here!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

I was here in July and stayed in Mnarani for two nights in a family room with sea view. The room was very spacious with two levels and due to that a veranda and a balcony! We slept on the first floor with the door open and could enjoy the sounds of the Indian Ocean.

The personnel in the hotel was very friendly and helpful and the food was great. Breakfast is a buffet and you can order eggs (omelette/fried/scrambled etc) and in the evenings also a buffet with enough choices. Try to book on Tuesdays because then it is Swahili night with great local food and after dinner a acrobatic show that is very entertaining.

The hotel has a nice pool and enough pool beds and even a few hammocks with view on the ocean where you can comfortably read a book or chill out. Due to the tide you either have a nice beach where you can walk towards the Lighthouse or the natural aquarium or you can dive into the Ocean with high tide for a nice swim. It is possible to rent a kayak.

The atmosphere in the hotel was very relaxed and I had a great time!

  • 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
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 Mnarani Beach Cottages

Address: North Coast | P O Box 3361, Nungwi, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar > Nungwi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Nungwi
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Nungwi
#9 Family Hotel in Nungwi
#11 Romantic Hotel in Nungwi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mnarani Beach Cottages 3.5*
Number of rooms: 27
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mnarani Beach Cottages is a beach resort hotel, located on the northernmost tip of Zanzibar Island in the village of Nungwi, next to the old lighthouse.Mnarani has been independently recommended by The Lonely Planet Guide, The Bradt Guide to Zanzibar and many other East African travel guidebooks. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mnarani Beach Cottages Hotel Nungwi
Mnarani Beach Hotel
Mnarani Beach Resort
Mnarani Beach Cottages Zanzibar/Nungwi

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