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“Wonderful relaxing getaway from Dar”
Review of Kimbilio Lodge

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Kimbilio Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 5, 2013

I happened upon Kimbilio when looking for a place to stay in Kilwa for a long weekend getaway with friends from Dar es Salaam. Hakim, the manager, was extremely helpful and was able to accommodate our group at the last minute. We had great, fresh food (including a massive grilled fish for dinner one night!) Hakim also helped to assist us making arrangements to visit the ruins in Kilwa (a fantastic experience for those who want something a little different than the typical Zanzibar vacation). The property was simple, but clean and well maintained (which is not easy in this tropical climate!). The beach was swept clean of seaweed every morning, and the porch is a relaxing unique locale to take in the sunset. I would whole-heartedly recommend Kimbilio when you are visiting Kilwa.

(also regarding the review below about cash and ATMs - Hakim was very clear with us about the price (which was VERY reasonable) and that we would need to pay in cash.) If you do any traveling around Tanzania (or East Africa for that matter), you should know that functioning reliable ATMs are not always found outside of main cities and credit cards, if they are taken, will incur additional fees!

Stayed: October 2013, traveled with friends
Thank afc513
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 - 58 of 115 reviews

Reviewed November 24, 2013

Beautiful location, excellent service, delicious seafood. Very interesting ruins nearby some dating to the Eleventh century. Average diving as the reef is a bit damaged. Beach is good for swimming. It is a good place to relax

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Henrylambert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2013

The location is stunning - we had our own banda on the beach. The water was lovely as is the property. I felt safe and it was easy to make plans for excursions.

We would have liked them to take credit card. It is expensive and with no ATMs we found two other people who left early to go somewhere that takes credit. We found out we paid double for what we would have paid to stay in the hotel beside us. We felt that prices were not consistent and somewhat arbitrary (we talked with others at the lodge and were surprised by the differences in price).

Nice place, good location, but too expensive considering the competition. For what we were charged all meals should have been included.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank FraserCarrie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elisabetta d, Manager at Kimbilio Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 9, 2013

Dear customer, I would to thank you for the nice comments, and in the same time I would like to answer about the negative issues you underlined. Of the 7 lodges present in Kilwa only one has credit card facility. We told you, as we tell to every customer booking in Kimbilio, about the fact that only two payment options are available: cash or to prepay with a bank transfer. Many customers prefer to prepay with a bank deposit, but you decided to come with cash.
About the different prices you talk about, this is absolutely normal: we do offer “Resident Rates” to Tanzanian residents, normal “Rack Rates” for customers coming from outside Tanzania and booking with us using internet-tripadvisor-agents, and we do offer “last minute rates” for customers showing up at our gates with no booking: in this case the rates depend from season and availability. In my experience most of the lodges all around the world follow this same strategy.
Your main complain about Kimbilio is about the general overprice and is the most difficult to understand. You knew well in advance our rates. We have many reviews here in Tripadvisor and this is the first time that people complain for our rates. It is simply not true that close to Kimbilio there are Lodges with much lover prices than us: there are only 2 lodges walking distance from Kimbilio, both of them cheaper than us but only by a bit: it is enought to place an offical request of rate with them to find out the true. We offer a private bungalow directly on the beach, at 4 meters from the sea. Of course, prime position has a cost. It is difficult for us to see how can be considered overpriced a beach bungalow with private bathroom and hot water at 65$/pax (based on double occupancy). Finally, most of our customer consider a real bargain staying in Kimbilio because for only 20$/pax they can have a seafood dinner on our deck directly on the sea. We do have a pretty good reputation for our food, as you can read herein. Sadly, you decide to have no one single meal in Kimbilio.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2013

Stayed at Kimbilio for 3 nights at beginning of September and it was memorable. The white sandy beach, walking out on the reef at low tide, watching the fishing boats come and go as well as those fishing on the reef, all the perfect way to pass the day. The meals were always a highlight of the day as the food was truly magnifico. The accommodation styled on the African hut is excellent - spacious, full of all the modern conveniences, full of character (made you feel you were staying somewhere special contributing to the overall experience) and the view - picturesque and peaceful. Alfredo, Betty and Akim do truly make you feel like part of a big family, they are warm, welcoming and full of interesting conversation. The trips to Kilwa Kisiwani ruins and the Hippos with Osman both exceeded my expectations. Taking the dow across to Kilwa Kisiwane is a must as it contributes to the serenity of the ruins and enhances the whole experience. Osman was fabulous - his knowledge and his passion are inspiring. Asante sana to all at Kilwa :-)

Room Tip: If you like the sound of the waves against the shore as you go to sleep choose the front huts but if...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Pamela B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2013

This was my second stay at Kimbilio having spent a very pleasant week there last year. I now feel part of the family and was made very welcome by Betty, Alfredo and their staff. The accommodation was spacious, clean and comfortable, the highlight again was the food, plentiful seafood and shellfish prepared in a special mix of Swahil and Italian cuisine.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

My business partner and I just returned from a 3 day trip to the Kilwa area, visiting Kilwa Kisiwani (the site of the UNESCO ruins), Kilwa Masoko (the town where most of the accommodations can be found) and Kilwa Kivenje (the old fishing village where ruins can also be found). Of our three nights in Kilwa Masoko, we spent two at Kimbilio Lodge, and wish we had stayed there all three nights!

Our trip was partly to tour the ruins (not to be missed) and also to check out accommodations in the area, as I am working with a Tanzanian partner to start a safari tour company. I prefer beach locations off the tourist path, so wanted to check out Kilwa. I highly recommend Kimbilio Lodge as THE place to stay if visiting the Kilwa area.

Kimbilio Lodge has an idyllic location on Kilwa Bay, on the white sands of Jimbiza Beach. 6 bungalows dot the well maintained landscape, 3 right at water's edge and 3 set just a bit further back but all with views of the water and direct access to the beach from your own pathway. The beach was spotless, even though the water was a bit rougher than usual (unusual high winds the 2 days we were there). Unlike at the other lodge we visited while there, when the tide goes out, the beach still exists at Kimbilio!

The Italian couple who manage the lodge are welcoming and friendly. We joined them for dinner on the first night, which was fun. We had the place to ourselves due to it being off-season. Dinner and breakfast were delicious, with fresh seafood excellently prepared for dinner. All the staff were gracious and professional, always with a smile and the friendly "karibu" for which Tanzanians are so well-known.

The spacious bungalows are very nicely decorated, with large, comfortable beds, mosquito nets, and huge bathrooms and showers with enough hot water. We stayed in 2 of their accommodations, which were furnished similarly: the waterfront one being a bit larger and had AC (not that we needed it) and a ceiling fan. The slightly smaller unit set back a bit from the waterfront was similarly equipped, without AC but with a huge ceiling fan. There is a backup generator which supplies power in the event of a power outage.

Elizabeth (Betty) and her husband, the lodge managers, introduced us to Osman, one of the local tour guides, who escorted us around Kilwa Masoko, arranged the half-day trip Kilwa Kisiwani to the mosque and palace ruins, and the next day took us to Kilwa Kivenje to see the fishing village and the ruins there.
I highly recommend Osman as a tour guide for the area: his knowledge of the history of the area is astounding and his English is excellent! We traveled to Kisiwani by sailing dhow, an experience in and of itself! We toured the ruins from mid-afternoon to almost sunset, and the timing was perfect. Allow 3 - 4 hours to see all the ruins at Kisiwani at a leisurely pace.

From Arusha, we flew on FastJet out of JRO to Dar Es Salaam, and then rented a car for the 5-6 hour drive to Kilwa. Most of the road to Kilwa is fully paved now; there are just a few sections still under construction so there are a few diversions. We had a Rav 4, but never needed the 4-wheel drive, but rainy conditions might necessitate using 4 wheel drive.

For anyone looking for a paradise beach location away from the crowds, I highly recommend the Kilwa area, and definitely stay at Kimbilio Lodge! There are other activities to do there as well, such as diving, fishing, etc,; we just didn't have the time to indulge.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Kathy F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

I had a great time in Kilwa and my stay at Kimbilio was wonderful. Since it wasn't during the diving season I virtually had the place (and the beach) to my self. The chalet was huge and very nice with great facilities. The food in the restaurant was wonderful. Even though I had miscalculated my budget and brought too little money the very friendly staff and management managed to find ways to arrange everything within my budget (I think I might have got a bit of discount on some things). Highly recommended!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Viktor E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kimbilio Lodge

Address: Kilwa Masoko | Tanzania Coast, Kilwa Masoko, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Lindi Region > Kilwa Masoko
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Kilwa Masoko
Price Range: $63 - $100 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kimbilio Lodge is a very small, italian managed, romantic lodge situated on a lovely white sandy beach in Kilwa Masoko. Only 6 bungalow, directly on the beach, fitted with mosquito nets, ceiling fans and hot water. African style mixed with italian touch is present in the bungalows decor as well as in the cuisine: our customers will try swahili specialites as well italian dishes. The restaurant serve only seafood. Great snorkeling just in front of the lodge (equipment available inside the lodge for the guests) and boat excursions on the outer reef are possible. Excursions to the UNESCO world heritage site of Kilwa Kisiwani are easily organized, as well as excursions to the archeological site of Songo Mnara and excursions to see hippos. The Lodge has been conceived to offer relaxation, leisure and culture in a peacefull and romantic setting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kimbilio Lodge Tanzania/Kilwa Masoko

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