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“Love Mafia and Butiama.”
Review of Butiama Beach

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Butiama Beach
Ranked #1 of 9 Mafia Island B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Love Mafia and Butiama.”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Such a laid back and beautiful setting at Butiama. The food and staff were amazing. Can't wait to go back. I haven't seen coral this beautiful in a long time and I never saw so many whale sharks in one location. It's a MUST go if your a diver.

Room Tip: I can't think of one negative thing i can say about the island or Butiama.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Alex B
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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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2013

Like many visitors to Tanzania we wanted a break at the beach after climbing Kilimanjaro and viewing the country's incredible wildlife. We chose Mafia over Zanzibar after reading that is was comparatively undeveloped and also that whale sharks can be seen very reliably. We stayed for a few nights on Chole Island before moving over to Mafia for three nights of comfort and luxury, both of which were readily available at Butiama. Our last night on Chole we were quite sick and after no sleep, the boat and very bumpy tripod/taxi drive across Mafia to Butiama, we were quite exhausted. Maura greeted us graciously and kindly, making us feel well cared for and very comfortable.

Our room was beautiful, with everything you could need to relax such assarongs, beach towels, even a basket to carry items to the beach or pool). Before dusk staff come though to insect-proof the room.

Service was wonderful from housekeeping, insect-proofing at dusk to the lovely bar staff who take orders for lunch. Dinner is excellent (by any standards); three delicious courses with Maura's Italian influences as well as local and international flavours being served at a leisurely pace. There were also no problems with special diets - I am dairy free and it was catered for with utmost politeness and attentiveness.

From Butiama we snorkled with whale sharks (just a few minutes boat ride from the beach in front of the bar and an incredible experience) and dived (Moez is also connected to Big Blue Diving). Any activities can be discussed with Moez the night before at the bar or at dinner, making the whole experience very relaxing.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank nicolaoutdoors
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, England
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 11, 2013

We stayed at Butiama Beach as part of our honeymoon. It's a fantastic place. The bungalows are beautifully done up, the whole property is lovely and well spread out with lots of space. The food is really good, there's an excellent array of drinks and some great cocktails!

Maura and Moez are great hosts too, with nothing being too much trouble. Their approach is reflected in their staff, who are all friendly and helpful.

Moez also runs the Big Blu dive centre so it's easy to arrange dive trips through him and these can be done the evening before so everything is really easy. Big Blu is an excellent dive centre who really take care of you. It was my wife's first time properly diving (having got her PADI in the UK) and the first day we went out we went with Moez and just us while other groups went off in other boats. Moez knew my wife was a little nervous and was fantastic at putting her at ease and making sure she enjoyed herself.

If you are wanting to dive then be aware Butiama Beach is not in the Marine Park and it's a 30 minute drive to get to the dive centre. However, it's $20 a day to be in the Marine Park and if you are in a hotel within there you need to pay this every day, regardless of what you do. Therefore, staying at Butiama you only pay this when you go into the Marine Park.

It is also possible to do other activities such as snorkelling with whale sharks (a must), sandbank picnics, sea kayaking etc etc. The whale sharks are only about 1/2 mile out to sea directly from the beach. Or you can just laze around the pool, on the beach or in the bar.

The sea is quite tidal and so if you are on the beach the sea can go out about 30 metres or so but this isn't a huge issue.

Butiama is a fantastic, relazing place to visit and we can't recommend it enough. However, it's not outright luxury. If you are wanting full on luxury, where the staff speak perfect English, the food is like a top Western restaurant and there's an extensive wine list then this isn't the place for you. However, if you are wanting a chilled, relaxing, friendly place with a beautiful location then this is the place for you.

Room Tip: all the bungallows are located well but if you get a front one you will have an uninterupted view of...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Anthem158
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chicago
1 review
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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Helpful?
Thank chingiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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Helpful?
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.
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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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