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“Absolute Perfection!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Unguja Lodge

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Unguja Lodge
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Kizimkazi
Certificate of Excellence
Omaha, Nebraska
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
“Absolute Perfection!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2013 via mobile

We were fortunate to stay here for 3 nights following a whirlwind 2-week trip in Eastern Africa. We were looking for a place to relax and unwind before making the trip back to the US. Unguja was perfect! There was absolutely nothing that we wanted or needed during our visit. Food was excellent, staff are incredibly attentive, and the layout of the lodge and rooms is perfect. We took advantage of a snorkeling trip as well as an evening dhow cruise--don't miss this chance if you visit! Highly recommend, and definitely are making plans to return again in the future. Thank you, Nick and Mwona!!

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Amy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UngujaLodge, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, November 15, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us after your safari and for your wonderful review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and the activities on the water and we look forward to seeing you back in Unguja Lodge one day. Special greetings from Mwona and Nick.
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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261 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
72 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2013 via mobile

We spent 5 nights here after a wonderful safari. We were ready for sleep, peace, quiet and isolation. This places delivers on all fronts! It is stunningly beautiful and the service is outstanding. Ralph and Elias are great hosts and you feel as if you are at someone's house. The villas are beautiful and we spent many hours in our sea view one, out on our terrace gazing out to sea. The open air shower is lovely, soaps are fantastic and the beds really comfy. Come here to abandon your TV, your iPhone and your hair dryer, to leave behind noise, hustle, bustle and busyness. Pack only your bikini, shorts and flip flops, you will soon be wearing the local Kikoy anyway! Come here to relax by the pool, walk along the beach (at low tide) swim in clear blue sea, Snorkel amongst untouched reefs and sail on the traditional wooden dhow! Enjoy watching the monkeys, lizards and butterflies around the lodges and restaurants. If you want polish and glitzy glamour this is not for you. The magic of it is preserved by the informal, rustic beauty. This place is truly good for the soul and will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed. We hope to go back sometime soon.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Slmorris1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UngujaLodge, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, November 15, 2013
Thank you very much for staying in Unguja Lodge last month and for sharing your experience. This is very much appreciated. We are glad you enjoyed our nature, sea, reefs and quietness as much as we do! We look forward to welcoming you again one day.
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.
Lancashire
Level Contributor
74 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 25, 2013

My husband and I have just returned from 6 days r & r following 6 days wonderful safari in the Selouse and Ruaha game reserves.
Elise and Ralph welcomed us on arrival with a lovely light cocktail and cake. 4.00 is high tea time every day with tea and cakes or pastries, whatever the chef makes on the day.
There are 3 types of villas and the ones with the Ocean view are just wonderful as are the ones set back amongst the 'jungle' of shrubs and trees - monkeys hurtle about most of day in small numbers and you can sit for ages just watching these funny little creatures antics. The bathrooms are open to the elements, so you can imagine my husbands comments when he said he was sat on the loo one morning and looked up to see a monkey on the wall sat just studying him - what a star. Food is brilliant with a choice for every meal. Drinks not expensive and well worth treating yourself to.
My husband needed urgent dental treatment and Elise contacted an English trained dentist in Stone Town and he was treated without any problem.
Bit of advise make sure you take loads of anti bite spray, they even bite through your clothes.
The sea is just paradise, warm and a lovely pale turquoise with almost white sandy beaches. The Dive school run from Unguja Lodge is excellent - from a plain old snorkel to full dive or wind surfing.
Honeymooners are treated to a special evening overlooking the sea and everyone at some point get a bottle of bubbly in their rooms to watch the fabulous sunset.
Have a massage, arranged by the Lodge - one of the best I have ever had!
Thank you again the family run Unguja Lodge - we hope to return one day.

Room Tip: Make sure you request an Ocean View if you want one.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Clogtown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UngujaLodge, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, November 15, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us last month and for writing this very nice and informative review. I really hope your tooth is better now. We are very glad you enjoyed your stay with us and all activities. By the way...we give the bottle of sparkling wine for special occasions like honeymoons, birthdays etc. We look forward to welcoming you back one day!
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.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2013

We stayed at the Unguja lodge for a week following a 4 day safari in the Selous as part of our honeymoon. We loved every second. The Unguja is a small, boutique resort with only 12 villas which gives the place a very intimate atmosphere. The pool was lovely and there was plenty of shade provided with lots of sun loungers and fresh towels.

My husband and I stayed in a Baobab villa with a plunge pool and air conditioning which was stunning. The design was wonderful-light and airy but cosy with lots of unique touches. The restaurant and bar area was similarly well executed.

The staff were abosulutely first rate-Ralph and Elies were very welcoming and the bar/waiting staff were great. We particularly enjoyed chatting to Omary and Sese who went out of their way to teach us swahili and tell us about their life growing up in Zanzibar. The food was lovely and the drinks were reasonably priced.

The small touches helped to make Unguja really special. The pre-dinner nibbles, the bottle of cava waiting in our room to help toast our honeymoon and the fact sheets about the local wildlife each evening all really added to the experience.

We didn't go on any of the trips as we were happy using our time to completely unwind and enjoy doing nothing more strenuous than a few lengths of the pool. Having spent a few months working in a small village community in Malawi, we weren't inclined to go to the village although others did enjoy it. However, we did go snorkelling and the coral reef was shallow enough to see plenty without putting our PADI training to use. My husband also went surfing with Nick and found the experience to be very different from our native North Sea.

Our one criticism would be that we both thought that the water sport centre was overpriced. We have done a fair bit of travelling and have dived all over the world between us. Had the prices been lower, we may well have done some diving or other water sports but we felt that the prices didn't reflect the experience. $35 pp for 1 hr of snorkelling or $80 per dive is much pricier than other, equally beautiful areas of the world.

It would also have been nice to have other couples are own age at the resort. As it was, we were the youngest by 20-30 years but I think we were just unlucky in our timing.

Overall, we had an amazing time and we would love to return. I would highly recommend the resort to family and friends without hesitation and we would like to extend our sincere thanks to all who work at Unguja for helping to make our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Natalie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UngujaLodge, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, October 26, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us for your honeymoon and for writing this very nice and informative review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay and we would like to thank you for taking the effort in learning some kiswahili with our waiters. Omari and Shehe very much enjoyed it too!
We fully understand your opinion about the prices of the water activities. Although we do not have to make a profit on the water activities (they are only for Unguja Lodge guests and we make sure our prices are comparable to other PADI dive centres on the island), it is quite expensive to operate a PADI standard dive centre on Zanzibar.
We hope we can welcome you again one day...maybe for an anniversary!

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.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2013

The accommodation villa things are way too big and could easily sleep 30, we only used about 10% of it. Nobody needs 4 sinks and there's even a superfluous extra double bed up some stairs for 'day use', whatever that means. The glaring design fault is that all of it, bedroom excepted, is accessible to monkeys. This means that you can't spread your stuff out, even bathroom things, all your possessions have to be locked in the bedroom at all times in order to avoid monkey pillage. There is tea and coffee provided but bizzarely no kettle. To obtain hot water you have to walk to reception {there's no phone} and arrange a hot water delivery, silly system. Restaurant, Bar, Pool and food are all good and the staff are friendly, diligent and polite as you would expect for the price. If you are in the restaurant or bar and need the toilet there isn't one, you have to make the return journey to your own one and when you get there the seat doesn't stand up and you have to manage one-handed whilst holding it up, more bad design. A cage full of captured wild crows near reception should be out of view in my opinion and a short 1km walk to the nearest village resulted in hassle and pester from about 30 locals so I didn't go out again. The owners seemed nice, if a little money driven, but he walks round with a dress on at night which could go some way towards explaining the above missing basics.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank paul n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UngujaLodge, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, October 25, 2013
Thank you very much for your effort to write this review. Your critical remarks are appreciated. It helps us to improve our quality and standards. We were a little surprised by your review however because in the questionnaire you left in the lodge you rated all aspects of your stay with 'excellent'.

The villas we built are very spacious indeed. All villas have a big enclosed (DBL) bedroom with double sink to brush teeth. They also have an open plan sitting area, an open plan shower area, with a sink, and a separate toilet (with sink to wash your hands). Upstairs is a loft with extra DBL bed for if our guests prefer to sleep upstairs or for children in case of a family. The open plan areas are often visited by our family of black tail monkeys. They are very playful so if you leave small shiny things (sun glasses, jewellery etc) in the open areas unattended, the monkeys might play with it. In our welcome talk we always explain this to the arriving guests.

We also explained in our welcome talk, that the night watchmen put a thermos with hot water on your door step early in the morning. You can take it in when you wake up and make your own coffee and tea before coming to breakfast. So no need to come to reception for hot water.

We do have public toilets close to the restaurant (2 signs!) and we show the guests were they are when we take them to their villa after the introduction.

We apologise for the inconvenience with the toilet seat not staying up in your villa. I can only explain this because I walk around in dresses and do it the female way. On a serious note: we are always around in the lodge and ask our guests to let us know of anything not to their expectations. In most cases we can fix things immediately.
We provide a kikoy (for men) and a kanga (for women) in the rooms for guests to use, and many guests follow my example and wear them in the lodge.

The Indian house crows are a pest on Zanzibar. Unguja Lodge joins a program to reduce their numbers so the indigenous birds get a chance to survive. We have been very succesful so far. Many very interesting birds have come back.

Unguja Lodge is located close to Kizimkazi Mkunguni. Our relationship with the village is very important to us. We do understand that many guests are a little overwhelmed by the enthousiasm of the many local children wanting to have their picture taken or practise the little English they have learned. A nice way of getting to know the village is to go with Rashid on the guided village walk. Rashid is our oldest staff member, lives in the village and gladly shows our guests the village. This way you might feel more comfortable as Rashid will help you with dealing with the people from the village.

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.
Stephenville, Texas
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 7, 2013

My wife and I just returned from a 10 day holiday split between the Masai Mara and Zanzibar. While trying to decide which place to stay at on Zanzibar I set high goals: small resort, unique location with private rooms/villa on the water, eco-friendly, fresh water pool, superb food, dive services and newer facility with wifi access, not in Stone Town = Unguja Lodge.

I initially enquired about the services, prices, transfers, vegetarian options, diving and sailing by email directly with Elies and Ralph at Unguja. She replied answering all of my questions within an hour - I am in the same time zone, currently working in Nairobi. I had several follow up emails for her regarding timing of the visit and such, all answered promptly. I have never had that kind of personal attention - by the owners/managers of a lodge. It continued after we landed. We were met at the airport and transferred painlessly and were relaxing by the pool in no time.

As many have stated already - the villas are spectacular, highly recommend the sea view villa for the nightly sunsets which we would enjoy sipping wine on our private veranda overlooking the beautiful turquoise Indian Ocean or walking along the beach.

We did the spice tour and a personally guided visit through Stone Town the second day - both outstanding. I recommend lunch at the new 6 Degrees South in Stone Town, it was excellent. Getting a guide for Stone Town is highly recommended - much more efficient and informative than on your own.

Next day I did a fabulous deep water dive with the PADI dive crew at 0730, back for breakfast at 0900, then off to a sandbar island by boat for a private lunch with my wife and back in the midafternoon to relax the remainder of the day by the pool = paradise.

All meals were fantastic and there was vegetarian for my wife. On the last day we did the local village walk with Rasheed as others have recommended - saw the clinic, visited the school, met the headmaster, saw the tourists loading up for the dolphin tour - (I saw dolphins on both my boat trips, no need to book if you are already on the water), met multiple delightful locals and visited Rasheed's house and family - highlight of the trip.

I am already planning a follow up visit with my daughter who also dives later this year. If your goals are similar to ours, you will not be disappointed. Just make sure you spend at least 5 days here, 4 was not enough!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank humanitarian_travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you very much for staying with us and for writing this nice and very informative review. We are glad you enjoyed Unguja Lodge, the diving and the other activities. We would like to thank you for taking the effort to do the guided village walk with Rashid. We ask a donation of $5.00 per person to our guests who do the village walk with Rashid. We give this money back to the village in projects that are needed. We just donated wheel barrows, brooms, gloves etc. to the village committee in charge of cleaning up Kizimkazi Mkunguni.
We look forward to seeing you back with your daughter!
Warm greetings from all of us at Unguja Lodge
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here following a 4 day safari in Selous and there was absolutely nothing u could pick fault with! Upon arrival it became apparent that the colleagues were friendly and the location and luxuriousness of the place is breathtaking! We were very kindly upgraded to an ocean view lodge although that said the one we had was still of 5 star quality.. The food was of the same quality u would get in a Michelin star restaurant in the UK with plenty of choice.. We will definately return one day!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Scottie2103
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
elieshagedoorn, Owner at Unguja Lodge, responded to this review, October 18, 2013
Thank you very much for staying in Unguja Lodge last month and for writing this very nice review. We are glad you enjoyed our food. We try our very best to use local and seasonal produce as much as possible. The fish we serve is caught in the morning by the local fishermen and is on your plate in the evening.
We look forward to seeing you back one day.
With warm greetings from all of us at Unguja Lodge.
Report response as inappropriate
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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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