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Ras Mbisi

Zanzibar & the Coast

Rating: Mid-range    

Ras Mbisi overview

A gorgeous beach lodge on remote Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean, 30 minutes flight from Dar es Salaam. Ras Mbisi is a fully sustainable eco-lodge made from local materials and using local staff and suppliers. The emphasis is on relaxation and enjoying this remote corner of natural paradise! There is no internet access and limited mobile phone coverage - a perfect place to escape the modern world ... There are eight kilometres of untouched, wild beach outside the lodge with no other hotels or lodges in this part of Mafia.

Fresh seafood is of course in abundance, and straight from the local fishermen on the doorstep. Eggs come from the lodges chickens and many vegetables are grown in the lodge garden, other fresh ingrediants are purchased from the local community. Food is served in a combination of international and swahili style. Breakfast buffets contain many local fresh fruits with cereals and pastries and 'full english' cooked plates and eggs or pancakes to order. Lunches are light with plenty of fruit and salads. Morning coffee and afternoon teas are served with fresh baked cakes and sundowner drinks are accompanied by bar snacks. Evening meals are three courses and vary between buffet style and barbeques. A small wine list accompanies delicious food. The restaurant is on the beach front and there is a roof top bar area to enjoy the views.

The accommodation at Ras Mbisi comprises of nine open tented style 'bandas' which are just a few steps from the sandy beach. They all have private bathrooms and a balcony to enjoy the views and the rooms and furniture are built from local sustainable coco-wood from local craftsmen. There is a swimming pool too for relaxing.

Many activities and excursions are available here. Diving is operated from Chole Bay and transfers from the lodge can be organised. There are plenty of other boating activities, village visits and outer island excursions to be enjoyed (see our main Mafia Island page). Sea Kayaks and Dug-out Canoes are available for use free of charge.

One of the highlights here in season is the sighting of Whales and Whale Sharks.

Ras Mbisi is an eco-friendly, sustainable lodge. One of the most abundant and sustainable resources is coco-wood which is the main building material of the lodge. The tropical sun is harnessed by solar power and heats the water. Other power is supplied by a biomass gasifier that is fuelled by waste. The lodge train their local staff who live in Ras Mbisi area and are developing a community project to help raise money for Chungaruma School.


Open:  Ras Mbisi is open from the beginning of June to the end of March.  

Location:  The lodge is on the west coast of Mafia Island, at the edge of a coconut plantation, on 8 kilometres of deserted beach. It is about a 35 minute drive from the airstrip at Kilindoni.

Rooms:  There are 8 en-suite bandas, which can provide double or twin accommodation. A third bed can be added if required. Each room has a private bathroom and a balcony looking out over the beach and ocean.  

Activities:  You can go kayaking to the local village with or without a guide. This takes about 20 minutes. Cool off with a swim in the sea (there are no big currents) or pool. Activities available for a fee, payable locally, include snorkelling, diving, a full day cruise and island picnic, guided walks and a sunset dhow cruise.  

Facilities:   There is a beachfront restaurant and you will enjoy the food at Ras Mbisi. Breakfast comprises fresh fruit, cereals, pastries and hot dishes cooked to order, lunches are light and nutritious, and evening meals can be a Swahili buffet, barbecue or a 4-course meal. Fresh fish and seafood feature highly on the menu. Between meal times you can enjoy cakes and biscuits mod-morning and with afternoon tea. The rooftop bar is a popular area for socialising and enjoying the views. The lodge has a library and a pool table. There is a swimming pool and a sunbathing area. You can de-stress with a massage in the dedicated banda by the sea.  

Dining:   Meals are taken at individual tables.

Children:  Children of all ages are welcome.

Health:  This is a malarial area.

Communication:  There is limited mobile phone coverage. There is no Wi-Fi internet access.   

Notes:   The lodge is not sited to people using wheelchairs due to the profusion of sandy paths.  

Map for Ras Mbisi

Lodge IconLodge Yacht IconVessel Tented Camp IconCamp Hotel IconHotel National Park IconNational Park Historic site IconHistoric site Place of Interest IconPlace of Interest UNESCO world heritage site IconUNESCO heritage site

Tracy Edwards
Christine MacDougall
Dave Lock
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An Island Escape in Tanzania
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Spend time on a tropical Indian Ocean island. Submit to the gentle rhythm of life, easy and unhurried.

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Ras Mbisi contributes to whale shark preservation on Mafia Island. They have solar hot water....oh, and a Football team! 

customer rating

50% from
2 reviews











client reviews

Bojana Djordjevic

"Ras Mbisi was great - really fantastic service. We really loved their Rhodesian ridgeback dogs who pretty much ran security for the place but were very friendly with the hotel guests! Only us and one other family were there. This was a hotel I suggested based on a guide book description - you mentioned you did not have experience with it at the time - I can tell you that I think it is a better choice to stay on this side of Mafia than the other side where there are several other lodges around Chole Bay. The ocean seems much more peaceful at Ras Mbisi."

Sheila Griffiths
"A few nights at Ras Mbisi was a perfect way to relax after a busy safari. Welcoming staff, comfortable bandas right by the white sandy beach and really excellent food. Wonderful. Only problem for us, on our last day, was the sandflies. Lots of little itchy bites to remind us of our wonderful holiday!"



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