The accommodation on Chumbe Island takes the concept of eco-architecture to unparalleled levels that has seen award-winning global recognition for its innovation and conservation principles. As far as Tribes is concerned we wish all accommodation was built on the principles found at Chumbe Island.
Chumbe describes itself as what Robinson Crusoe could only have dreamt about, and we have to agree. The seven eco-bungalows are exceptionally romantic making them ideal for a honeymoon or anyone with a passion for natural beauty. All bungalows have double or twin beds under the palm-thatched roof, solar powered lighting, large living rooms with hand-made furniture and colourful fabrics, self-contained bathrooms with solar heated showers. All bungalows overlook the sea and it takes just 30 seconds to stroll from your hammock to the warm tropical ocean.
The island never gets crowded even when fully booked and it is worth spending at least three nights here to unwind fully. Take a book, laze about and watch the dhows sailing by. The whole of Chumbe Island is a nature reserve and you can explore it with the resident park rangers or at your leisure with nature walks in the forest and guided snorkelling in the coral gardens.
There are no phones (except of course for emergency contact), no TV, no newspapers, no hassle, no humdrum. Excellent food, great staff, good weather, and above all fantastic style! What more could you want? I guess Robinson Crusoe really would dream about a place like Chumbe Island!
Open: Chumbe Island Lodge is open from June till April. The precise dates vary slightly from year to year.
Location: Chumbe Island Lodge is on its own island 8kms off the coast of Zanzibar. The island is a nature reserve and the ocean contains beautiful coral gardens and a shallow reef. The nearest airport is at Stone Town in Zanzibar. A boat transfer operates to Chumbe from Zanzibar.
Rooms: The 7 thatched guest bungalows overlook the sea and have double or twin beds, large living rooms with wooden furniture, hammocks and colourful textiles and artwork. They have en-suite bathrooms with showers with solar-heated water. The bungalows are within a minute's walk of the beach.
Activities: Popular activities include swimming, guided snorkelling on the reef (scuba diving is prohibited here), guided walks in the forest reserve where you'll see a variety of birds, crabs and, if lucky, the shy Ader's Duiker, the rarest antelope in the world.. At low tide it's possible to walk around the island exploring rock pools. You can climb to the top of Chumbe Lighthouse for fabulous views and look around the visitors' centre of this historic monument.
Facilities: This eco lodge use solar power for lighting and heating water. The restaurant serves Zanzibari cuisine using fresh vegetables, fruit and seafood. Meals are usually served buffet-style and you can enjoy views over the ocean as you dine. There is a bar.
Dining: Meals are taken at individual tables.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is free Wi-Fi internet access in the office.
Spend a week on a tropical Indian Ocean island. Submit to the gentle rhythm of life, easy and unhurried.
Chumbe has won various awards for its protection of the marine park which surrounds it, and the very eco-friendly nature of its buildings. This is one of the earlier truly environmentally-friendly beach lodges, and we still rate it and love it.
"A fantastic spot, and a wonderful concept. The bungalows are cleverly designed to minimise impact on the environment. The reef is spectacular, and the boat driver took us for a trip on his(self-made)local sailing boat. The lunches and dinners were very good, but breakfast was a bit hit and miss. We were offered a menu on only one of the four mornings, the French toast and pancakes were not good, and breakfast was often cold . A few minor changes would make this place fantastic: - better sheets (with an under sheet) - cleaning the rooms while the activities are on (they know exactly when the rooms will be free, but often cleaned just as you wanted to get ready for snorkelling). We were offered early morning tea, but it did not turn up on the last day. Be prepared to get your feet (and legs!) wet, when arriving! The staff were all great, and tried very hard, but did not always get it quite right, which is a shame."