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“Maura and Moez are fantastic hosts”
Review of Butiama Beach

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Butiama Beach
Ranked #1 of 9 Mafia Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
chicago
1 review
“Maura and Moez are fantastic hosts”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

My wife I took are honeymoon in Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, go on safari in the Serengeti and and at the end relax on the beach. Instead of going the usual Zanzibar route we decided to go Mafia island to swim the whale sharks, and we certainly not disappointed.

We hoped to see a few whale sharks and maybe get close to one of them, but on our first outing we saw dozens and actually managed to swim with one more-curious giant for a full five minutes. It was an amazing experience and would highly recommend it to anyone.

The resort itself was far above our expectations for the prices we paid. Our bungalow was beautiful and faced the beach and the ocean. The beach is every bit as beautiful as advertised.

Maura and Moez went well beyond the normal duties of hosts to make us feel at home. Everyday Moez asked us if there were any activities we would like to do the next day, but he never pushed us and in fact recommended we just relax on a few occasions. The activities we did pursue (sunset cruise on a dhow, snorkling, picnic in the marine park, whale sharks) were all superb. At the end we discovered Moez and Maura didn't even charge us for some of them. They even threw in some nice surprise touches. One night we were told we weren't dining in the main dining area, but would have a candlelight dinner on the beach.

The food was fantastic, and it featured freshly caught fish from the ocean and a wide array of local fruits every day. Butiami's chef isn't scared to expand beyond the usual resort fair: We had Octopus one night. Everything was not only delicious, but quite sophisticated. I'm a former line cook and a bit of food snob who eats out at some of Chicago's best restaurants. I looked forward to dinner at Butiama every night.

The lunch menu (which you pay for a la carte) was less adventurous, but if you're looking to try the local fare, talk to Maura. One day she asked the chef to prepare Pilau for us, a heavily spiced rice with bits of locally raised beef. There is no rating for food, but it would definitely get five stars from us.

The resort is outside of the Marine Park so you don't have to pay daily entrance fees, but you can go into the Marine Park anytime you like. It's also right next door to then main village Kilindoni if you want to do some exploring.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank chingiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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219 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
273 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
Reviewed December 23, 2012

Picked up from the airport, 10 min drive. Welcome drink. Fantastic hosts. Great views, wonderful food, although you must like fish! Nothing too much trouble. Great attention to detail. Lovely rooms, private, but there are people around when you want them. You can do as much or as little as you like here. Terrific place to just unwind. Shame to leave. Very good value for money as well.

Room Tip: Any one gives you good views, the front if you want uninterrupted sea views.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank eggybreadUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Level Contributor
42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed November 10, 2012

We visited Butiama in October for 7 nights (only). This was just perfect from the first minute till the last, everyone were very friendly, helpful, great service, no crowd, but great opportunity to find new friends, overall excellent value for money. While swimming with the whale sharks was the very best activity, the beach is lovely, marine park visit and snorkeling was also excellent (very good price, too) and we regularly took the kayaks and paddled to the rivers/lagoons - both were beautiful, also good excercise opportunity. Birding was fairly good, too, saw nice egrets, plovers, fish eagle, kingfisher, sunbird and many more. I would like to highly commend the service and the flexibility and professionalizm of Maura and Moez and their staff. Clearly a place we wouldlike to come back soon.

Room Tip: Room # 10 is very good for a family
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Ferenc B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wimborne Saint Giles, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

After being on Safari in Ruaha arriving at Butiama was very welcome - with direct access to the beautiful white sanded beach and the turquoise waters. This resort has a very upmarket feel but is very intimate and friendly, the staff team headed by Maura and Moez are attentive without being intrusive and run a very tight ship - the place is spotless and kept spruce throughout the day. The bungalows are spacious and have privacy whilst being a part of the resort, good showers and nice little touches like the beach towels and beach bag and sarongs for guests use. I could go on about the resort but I have to keep some back for the amazing Whale Shark experience - we were fortunate enough to be here at the right time and spent an amazing 3 hours swimming with natures largest fish - I cannot convey how special this was but it will stay with me for a long time and be retold many times. We also went snorkeling which was excellent and we had a picnic with red snapper being cooked for us on a small island - again a special experience. Would like to return at some time and would certainly recommend. for a peaceful special holiday.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank JayneandGraham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worcester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I visited Butiama in July of this year and loved it so much I decided to take my wife there when she visited me in Tanzania. I was worried that it wouldn't live up to my rose tinted memory or the hyperbole that I had used to describe it to my wife. I needn't have worried, it has got better if that is possible. Maura and Moez were their usual accommodating friendly helpful selves. Gardeners are hard at work beautifying the walkways and gardens giving the whole resort a " greener" feel. Purely by luck our trip coincided with the Whale Sharks being just off the coast and we had the privilege of swimming with them for about 3 hours. This was the highlight of our whole 2 weeks, the size and majesty of these beautiful creatures is indescribable. To swim with them and see them coming towards you with mouths open, appearing from nowhere in the plankton rich environment is thrilling, but never threatening and thrilled everybody that swam with them. The food and service is excellent, the staff are friendly and courteous. We slept with our doors and windows open, feeling quite safe in the little paradise. The flight over, the small intimate airport, the transfer in the old Land Rovers through the villages where children run out to wave to you, all add to the fantastic experience. Perfect!

Room Tip: All of the Bandas have a view of the Indian Ocean as they alternate, but the ones at the front of th...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Grabone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delft, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
76 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed October 29, 2012

We stayed in Butiama Beach for five nights after our Serengeti Safari and were very sad to leave. This beach hotel is as good as it gets when it comes to food, service, beach, activities and overall impression. The whole place is perfectly balanced and a joy to the eye. The food, especially the dinners (set three course meals with a lot of fish and shellfish) is great, very good quality. The bar is a nice relaxing place, with every cocktail you like, but also a choice of good wines. Relaxing can also be done at the pool, the beach or in front of your own bungalow. No fighting over beach chairs here! The staff is very friendly, they're all local people, trained by Maura herself (because of a lack of good education on the island).

Around dinner Moez walks around to see if the guests want to do something the next day. We did a snorkeling and lunch-on-the-beach trip on the Butiama side of the island and visited Chole bay with some snorkeling on the east side of the island on another day. The trips are very reasonably priced (about half of what we payed last year in Belize) and well organized. The west side of the island probably has better snorkeling, but Butiama has no doubt the better beach. The trip to the east side for some snorkeling is compensated by the fact that at Butiama you don't have to pay the marine Park fees every day.
Kilindoni town is within walking distance of the hotel, and it's nice to walk there to see the fisherman going about their business. The town is a non touristy place (no souvenirs available), so you won't be bothered by anybody.

Butiama is the place for a relaxing stay in paradise with enough activity so you won't be bored. Don't come here for parties or shopping.

Room Tip: There are eight separate bungalows, the front row is closer to the beach and has a slightly nicer vi...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Carla S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 15, 2012

My wife and I spent in the last few years some time travelling around the world, we have seen a lot of beautiful islands, beautiful beaches, beautiful dive spots, but Mafia Island and especially the Butiama Beach as well as the diving center Big Blu are topping all of our holiday dreams. The hotel bungalows are big and with good infrastructure (Most important: the mosquito net over the bed. Most practical: one bedside adapter for electrical outlet. Most surprising (for Tanzania very rare): 24 hours electricity). The hotel bar is a must, the best pina colada ever!! The food is very pleasant (fresh cought fish as sushi!! The dessert could be improved a bit). Most of all the welcome and service are sensational! Maura and Moez like to spend some time with their guests (we are indeed guests, not clients), the waiters come mostly from Mafia and were trained by them with perfection, the barman Ali is very creative. The beach is unforgettable, some sand flies, that didn't bother us very much (September 2012), the pool is a welcome alternative if you have seen enough of the sea.

Diving at the big blu (Moez is the boss) was very nice, although not easy every day due to some currents. On low tide the visibility is low (5 meters perhaps), on high tide you feel that you can see everything under the water, wonderful. Lots of fishes and really beautiful corrals, and: you get to like the small colourful slugs. We didn't see wale sharks, we saw some wales and mostly heard them sing... Some sharks also (black tip), some beautiful sting rays.

If you like diving but you also like quiet places where you can really chill out, then this is the place you are looking for.
In my opinion nothing for people looking for Ibiza-parties.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Raphael D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Butiama Beach

Property: Butiama Beach
Address: Msufini, Kilindoni | PO Box 47, Mafia Island 0202020, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Pwani Region > Mafia Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Mafia Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come and experience true relaxation with us at Butiama Beach. Our unspoiled location in a tropical palm grove on the beach has everything you need to unwind, let go, and be yourself. Watch the whale sharks come to feed as the morning sun glints on the turquoise surface of the Indian Ocean. Sail to a pristine sandbank in a traditional dhow, snorkel and dive at some of the richest reefs in the world. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Butiama Beach Hotel Mafia Island

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