The short version
Good vibe/ feel
Excellent food and location
Good dive shop
Very nice beach
Staff very relaxed
4 persons in suite, only aircondition for 2
2 adults (aged 43) and two children (11, 9) traveling to Zanzibar without doing a safari first (this seem to be the most common combo). We simply wanted some nice R&R and sunshine, combined with a bit of snorkeling/diving, and as little hassle as possible. We arranged all stays our self via direct mailing to the hotels.
The longer version
Located on the east coast of Zanzibar, like most of the beach hotels, Matemwe Beach Village, MBV, is an about one hour drive from Stonetown (ST).
The beach is tranquil and very beautiful, with very few tourists. Perfect for walking and viewing, less so for swimming.
Transfers can be arranged via MBV or in ST. We negotiated with a local mini bus and paid 43000 ts for the trip.
Arrival and check in was smooth.
We had booked a Shamba Suite (SS). The smaller rooms are located near the water but none of them directly facing the ocean. Thus individual difference in location is less important.
The SS, for 2-4 persons, is a large round structure, located a bit back from the beach. There are
5 SS in a circle. On the top floor there are two hammocks in a nice windy area, perfect for reading
When the sun is too hot outside. The lower floor has a master bedroom, a toilet and a shower area plus a living room/second bedroom, where our kids slept. As only the master bedroom had aircon our kids had to sleep with fans provided and though this worked out, it was not perfect.
There was an empty minibar that was filled one day before we left, though we did not miss it.
Decor is basic but white with small local touches like hats etc.
The pool area is nice and laid back but lacks shade and the pool was were dirty during our stay. Food is locally made, all from scratch by the very skilled chef. Half board however means that you will likely spend money on the daily lunch menu or the fixed snack menu. Lunch items run from 5-10$ pr dish, water 2$ and evening cocktails from 5-8$. This will add up during the days.
The on-site dive center is very good and friendly, though a bit expensive at 130$ for a two dive daytrip to near by Menemba.
In summary, MBV is a nice beach bungalow operation with good food, for the "up scale backpacker", it is in no way a resort. I would recommend it for families and couples looking for relaxation.
A few words on Zanzibar in general.
ST is on the west coast and in my view not worth staying more than a maximum of one night in! It is very similar to Essaouria in Morocco but less charming and dirtier.
The north is the more developed part with a party scene, the entire east coast a long stretch of different resorts. The south was our favorite, it seem less developed.
Zanzibar is expensive compared to Asia. A family room will run from 150 to over 500 us depending on quality and weather food is included. A typical transfer from Stonetown to south-east or north will be 40-60$ pr car
Currently, February 2015, there are quite few tourists! This seems to be caused by the Ebola outbreak (3000 km away!) and fear of Islamic terrorist attacks like Boko Haram in Kenya. However, the fewer visitors mean you should be able to negotiate a good price on hotels.
Be aware that you will to bring malaria medication and have a valid vaccine against yellow fever.
Visa can be bought for 50$ per person on arrival, bring cash !
- Also Known As:
- Matemwe Beach Village Hotel Matemwe
- Matemwe Beach Village Zanzibar