Mnemba Island Lodge
Pure exclusive luxury on a private island
- 10 Zanzabari Bandas
- Scuba Diving
- Fly fishing
- See Green turtles laying their eggs (in season)
- Deep Sea Fishing
Mnemba, a small island 4.5 kilometres off the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar, is heaven incarnate. Which makes Mnemba Lodge this nirvana’s only resident hotel and a true desert island escape. The lodge is actively involved in various conservation efforts in the region, including monitoring and protecting the small population of very rare Ader’s duikers found here, and carefully taking care of the coastline and ocean.
Ten luxury Zanzabari banda houses are hidden into the island’s Casuarina pine forest whose cooing wild doves and adorable Suni deer make it a very romantic Swiss Robinson world. Each of the bandas are designed to let as much of the outside in with an open plan set out, walls made of coconut matting rolled up to reveal Indian Ocean views, big beds and sofas dressed in plumped-up white linens, handmade furniture, a dressing room, private verandas and an en-suite bathroom. What’s more, apart from the deer and doves the only other people you share the island with are the other guests and staff.
The lodge has enchanted a string of impressive guests from royalty to Silicone Valley tycoons, and it isn’t hard to see why. Dinner is always served on the beach (weather permitting) and both the food and staff are magnificent. Also if you’re afraid you’ll get bored on Mnemba, there’s always the lodge’s good list of activities to sway you: choose from learning how to dive with the lodge’s instructors, to watching turtles nest, fly fishing or kayaking.
The tiny suni antelope were originally brought to &Beyond Mnemba Island from Jozani Forest with the aim of diversifying and increasing the population of these rare little animals. Life has been so good for the suni on Mnemba, where they have no natural predators, that they have been breeding twice, rather than once, every year. With numbers increasing so rapidly, periodical relocations of the species have ensured that there is enough space and food for the suni. Over the years, more than 250 suni have been moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar.
The rarest antelope species in Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) estimates that there are between 300 and 600 Ader’s duiker remaining in the wild. In 2005 five of these antelope were introduced to & Beyond Mnemba Island, the ideal location for a breeding project due to having no natural predators and a good supply of food. Between 2005 and 2013, the duiker have tripled their number, with a population of 15 now living on the island. Notoriously secretive, Mnemba is believed to be one of the only places in the world where these little animals can be spotted in the wild. Working with WCS, &Beyond has collected information on the duikers’ diet and behaviour and they hope that this will allow them to improve the breeding programme, leading to a further increase in the numbers of the species.
A partnership between &Beyond and Africa Foundation, Oceans Without Borders strives to catalyse positive change across the marine footprint at &Beyond’s Mnemba, to leave our oceans a better place by applying their proven care-trilogy to the ocean, marine wildlife, and coastal communities.
In 2005, &Beyond worked with the Zanzibar Department of Fisheries and members of local Zanzibari fishing communities to form the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area (MIMCA). In addition to other measures, this protected area officially demarcated specific areas for snorkeling, diving and fishing. The agreement also resulted in the introduction of a daily recreational fee for the use of these areas. The revenue generated by this levy was used to fund local community projects and benefit local fishermen. One of the main objectives of the establishment of MIMCA was to reduce the incidence of net fishing in the shallow waters off the coral reefs and encourage fishing for fewer and larger species further out, in deeper waters. Several measures were introduced to encourage this practice. &Beyond continues to work with local villagers to implement localised and sustainable conservation plans, as well as to implement more effective netting techniques that don’t damage the reefs.
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