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“Heaven!”
Review of Unguja Lodge

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Unguja Lodge
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Heaven!”
Reviewed September 5, 2013

I just came back from four night at the Unguja Lodge in Zanzibar. All I can say about the hotel: fantastic, awesome, unbeatable. It starts with the warmest welcome, then you see your amazing and absolutely stunning villa. At the pool/bar/restaurant you are greeted by the loveliest staff. The food is delicious. Enjoy this outstanding and intimate setting and relax. I will definitely come back!!

Room Tip: As I was travelling on my own I asked for a room/villa in the centre of the resort and Ralph and Els...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank DJ_S877
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us this month and for writing this very nice review. We would love to see you back one day. Karibu tena!

With warm regards from all of us at Unguja Lodge.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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263 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 31, 2013

We finished our 3 week honeymoon with 4 nights at Unguja Lodge and it was the perfect idyllic ending we hoped for. The sea facing 'room' was open with amazing views of the sea and beach when the tide was out. The early morning delivery of hot water enabled us to open the doors of the bedroom (the only enclosed room) and enjoy coffee from the bed while gazing out to sea. We enjoyed lazing by the pool, watching the cheeky monkeys eating the flowers. The staff were so friendly and helpful, thank you Omari 1, 2 and 3 and Happy! Elies and Ralph were very welcoming and have built a paradise, whilst caring for the natural habitat. The walk into the village with Rasheed was eye opening and extremely interesting - make sure you have plenty of space on your camera as all the children want their photos taking and then want to see the results!! For the meal on our final night we were led to a private table under the stars by the sea...a lovely idea and the perfect end to our honeymoon in an amazing place!

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Mrs-S-Reviews
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Thank you very much for choosing to stay with us as part of your honeymoon and for writing this very nice review. Also a big thank you for supporting the village of Kizimkazi by doing the guided village walk with Rashid. We are now supporting the village by donating garbage collecting materials (bins, wheelbarrows etc.).

With warm regards from all of us at Unguja Lodge.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moshi, Tanzania
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 26, 2013

Ralph and Elies make staying here a great experience. It's not just that the quality of everything is excellent, from the construction of the rooms and the restaurant, to the pool, to the food, but that there is a relaxed atmosphere and the staff are friendly without being overbearing. It is impossible not to relax here. The rooms are absolutely massive, so comfortable, and beautifully done, unlike any other room I have stayed in. The restaurant is also very tastefully done, without any unnecessary frills or fanfare, and like everything else here, quite open-air - there is not a single window in the whole place!

The food is excellent, truly delicious. Every evening it is different, with a seafood option every evening. The portions are satisfying and certainly not pretentious, but also make each meal special. Every afternoon you can get up from your slumber by the pool or down by the beach (if the tide is out) and go up into the restaurant to get some coffee and whatever the delicious snack of the day is.

All in all, a fantastic experience that made an amazing holiday even better.

Room Tip: Baobab villas have their own plunge pool, while the seaview villas have a view to the sea... from yo...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Rafael H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Thank you very much for choosing to stay with us and for sharing your experience with the world. We are glad you enjoyed your stay. We do our best in making Unguja Lodge a truely special place and we are happy that you experienced it this way.

With warm regards from all of us at Unguja Lodge!
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2013

We stayed here after a 10 day safari in Tanzania followed by 2 days in Stone Town and 3 in Paje on the other side of Zanzibar. We actually stayed here TWICE because our flight home was cancelled and we couldn't get another for 3 days so we returned the day after we had checked out - which was definitely how to make the most of a bad situation!
I booked it as a much needed piece of luxury for my family after being bone-rattled and wind-burned and suffering from some illness on the mainland during our long safari (I had no idea it was possible to get SO hot and SO cold all in one day in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro but that's another story).
Unguja Lodge is wonderful! Situated in the far south of the island in Kizimkazi, you won't get there for less than $45 in a taxi. The views are breath taking. The villas are huge, open plan, clean, luxurious... We didn't bother using towels after taking a hot shower but stood, open armed and let the warm sea breeze dry us. Boiling water is delivered before sun rise in a flask so you can make an early morning cup of tea or coffee. Monkeys clamber through the rafters and, on one occasion spent half an hour bouncing on the tops of my children's mosquito nets! I have photos of a red colobus stealing a drink from the swimming pool and there was a daily assault on the breakfast buffet by the long tailed monkeys. The night time is punctuated by the strange call of tree hyrax and bush babies. Every evening a letter from the staff was on our bed giving us information about the island, the wildlife or the festival of Eid (which was in full swing when we were there).
Fabulous food and some cracking cocktails. The night of the fresh grilled, marinated tuna was one to remember.
We were incredibly lazy and didn't use the dive centre facilities but other clients appeared to have had a great time snorkeling and diving. But we did enjoy the village walk through Kizimkazi with Rashid - an eye opener for my pampered children!
A huge thank you to Ralph, Elies and the staff of Unguja for BOTH of our stays during August - we were so impressed with what you have managed to create.

Room Tip: We had sea view rooms (7 and 2) and both were superb. Just make sure you do not leave anything out...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank squashballs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, September 18, 2013
Thank you VERY much for staying with us twice and for writing this wonderful review. This is much appreciated. Also a big thank you for taking the effort to do the guided village walk with Rashid and so helping the village of Kizimkazi.
We look forward to welcoming you and the family again one day.

With warm regards from all of us at Unguja Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2013

From our drive from Zanzibar airport to Unguja we were treated to a visual feast of Zanzibar - from the recycling shops selling goods we've taken to our local recycling centres, to buses overly full of people and produce, to the most vibrant clothing and interesting driving! We were treated to an "Unguja welcome" by Elies and Ralph the owners and most superb hosts. Elies explained everything to us and made us feel most welcome as did some of the local wildlife.
The accommodation was spectacular - incredibly spacious, clean and luxurious.There were a couple of sockets all standard uk three pin.
The staff were friendly and professional.
The meal choice and food quality was superb-beautifully prepared and very tasty.
A note about drinks- they are very reasonably priced - soft drinks were $1.50 and a bottle of South African Sauvignon Blanc approx. $21
The camp's approach to tipping was very inclusive with a tip pot equitably shared by all the staff.
All the activities on offer are well priced.
Activities on offer included water based - diving, snorkelling, surfing and SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS - an incredible experience. Land based - fantastic village tour led by the entertaining and informative Rasheed, trip to Stone Town and most importantly superb RELAXATION.
An experience we'll never forget!!!
Thanks to all at Unguja and Imagine Africa.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank TimDebCity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Thank you very much for choosing to stay in Unguja Lodge and fro writing this very kind review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and all activities. We especially like to thank you for supporting the village of Kizimkazi by doing the guided village walk with Rashid.
We hope to see you back one day.
With warmgreetings from all of us at Unguja Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

After 4 remarkable but tiring days on safari we were looking forward to a bit of relaxation and a bit of diving. Unguja Lodge provided us with exactly what we needed.

We stayed for 8 nights, 5 nights in lodge 2 with the glorious sea view and 3 nights in number 9 with the monkey-filled jungle garden. Both lodges held equal charm, although opening the bedroom door to the deep blue Indian Ocean was very special.

We visited in the depth of the Zanzibarian winter so we did experience a bit of cloudy weather and a little rain, but the temperature remained very pleasant. The squall that briefly blew up on the way back from one of our dives was impressive but short-lived. The changing tides meant that we could only use the beach on 2 or 3 days of our stay, although when we did the white sand and warm water were fantastic. At a calmer time of year the beach would be brilliant for snorkelling and swimming, but bring your beach shoes as there are a lot of sea-urchins waiting to spike the unwary.

The lodges are huge and very nicely appointed– our little house would fit within the free standing roof of each one – and very nicely designed. The curving cream internal walls contrast nicely with the straight lines of the palm-thatched roof and the tribal-style decorations are not overbearing. The sea-breeze was quite brisk at times, which made getting out of the shower a slightly chilly affair. But when there is only the wind between you and the passing hump-back whales, who cares?

The food was of a very good standard, particularly the fish. We asked if the chef could arrange a fruit de mare platter, which was provided that next night for a very small surcharge. It was superb – lobster, 3 difference fillets of fish, shell fish, prawns, squid and octopus. My favourite evening was a buffet of local sea-food curries – each quite different from the last and all carefully spiced. Octopus curry – brilliant.

I completed my Advanced Open Water scuba qualification with Nick at the dive centre, catching up with my wife. Nick was good enough to allow Lucy to join us on the boat for the qualifying dives I did at a much reduced rate. The deep dives we did were particularly good: 3 green turtles on one dive and 40 minutes of whale song on the next! Nick and his staff made life very easy for us as divers and his tuition was of a very high standard.

The transfers between Unguja and the hilarious little airport were efficient and straightforward. Driving across Zanzibar and through Stone Town gives you a glance of real African life, which came as something of a shock to this naïve traveller.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our time at Unguja Lodge and would definitely recommend it to others.

Room Tip: Lodge 2 is the furthest from the pool and right on the sea front. The view is superb but the sea bre...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rundle1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us as part of your honeymoon and for writing this wonderful and informative review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and the diving.
For our future guests: the beach in front of Unguja Lodge is tidal and the tide difference also changes during the month. A few days the water hardly moves (maximum 50 cm) but on other days the difference is between 4 and 4.5 meter, which gives a beautiful wide white beach.
We wish you a lot of happy diving together and hope to see you back one day!
With warm greetings from all of us at Unguja Lodge and Unguja Divers.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2013

We have a wonderful 8 nights at Ungjua lodge following our safari in Selous. Elies and Ralph are so warm and welcoming you feel relaxed as soon as you arrive. The family villas are very spacious with a bathroom to each room as well as the outside shower - I won't forget looking out to an uninterrupted view of the sea whilst showering and cleaning my teeth. The visits from the monkeys were enjoyed by the whole family even Elizabeth who left her hairbrush outside only for it to be taken off to the monkey treasure trove - wherever that may be! Beach combing when the tide was out was also a great way to spend a couple of hours - beach shoes are a must as lots of sea urchins which our daughter Jessica discovered on arrival! The food is excellent and our compliments to the house chef! Thank you again we won't forget our stay!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EJEH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Thank you very much for staying in Unguja Lodge and for writing this very nice review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us. It is true that we have a lot of sea urchins sometimes: especially in the rock pools and when the wind is been from the South. On Zanzibar we see so many sea urchins because there are too little adult parrot fish left that eat the sea urchins. Fortunately the needles that you can not get out of your skin,usually quickly dissolve. And it is definitely recommended to use reef shoes on the beach.
With warm greetings from all of us at Unguja Lodge.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Unguja Lodge

Property: Unguja Lodge
Address: P.O. Box 675, Kizimkazi, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Kizimkazi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Unguja Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Eleven spacious private villas. From your ocean view terrace you can watch the local fishermen sailing the Indian Ocean. A breathtaking sunset is yours. All villas are beautifully decorated in Zanzibar style. In our beautiful garden with old mango and baobab trees many indigenous animals find their home. The rare Red Colobus monkeys often come and play. In the middle of the tropical garden, a large specially conditioned swimming pool is situated. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Unguja Hotel Kizimkazi
Unguja Resort Kizimkazi
Unguja Lodge Zanzibar Island/Kizimkazi

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