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Matemwe Lodge, Zanzibar

This is the first time I have ever included a beach stay at the end of my safari. I normally spend a few days in Abu Dhabi where I relax before getting back to work but this time thought Zanzibar would be perfect. I considered a detour to Mafia Island to see the whale sharks but the cost was a little too much at the time so I opted for Asilia’s special at Matemwe for 6 nights. Not knowing what to expect with weather or activities I went ahead and just booked it with Troy from True Africa.

My transfer from Ruaha was a very long one with my flight leaving at noon via a detour to Jongomero to pick up more passengers, a wait whilst a large storm went through, 2 hours back to Dar, a 90 minute wait, 20 minutes to Zanzibar and then the 90 minute drive to Matemwe. My arrival around 8pm was in a blur and all I wanted was a very quick bite to eat and sleep. I was welcomed by the relief manager who offered me an upgrade to a bungalow with my own plunge pool and butler which was a treat. I was shown to the room which was amazing but I was super tired and decided to investigate everything the next day. After a quick bite to eat, I was showered and under the sheets in a lovely large king size bed surrounded by some fine mosquito nets.

The next morning I was able to enjoy my first sleep in for a couple of weeks and boy did it feel good. I was woken by my butler bringing in breakfast at 9am and opened my doors to find paradise outside. The views from my outside undercover deck were stunning. The deck had two lounge chairs, a queen size day bed and an eating area for up to four people. Inside the bedroom area was a king size bed with netting, air con, a very large separate bathroom with a huge bath, open shower and separate toilet with double sinks. Upstairs was the piece de resistance with my own plunge pool, undercover seating area and two sun lounges.

My days were spent relaxing in the plunge pool whilst alternating between the sun and shade. Enjoying meals downstairs along with the view, read and catching up on editing photos/videos. Matemwe was the perfect place to just chill out and rest whilst enjoying the spectacular views on my doorstep.

I indulged in a couple of activities whilst there which were really enjoyable but costly. The best activity was the snorkeling at Mnemba Island which was directly in front of the lodge and about a 20 minute boat ride away. This activity offered the opportunity to swim with the local dolphins if they are in the vicinity. I snorkeled on two different days and enjoyed the dolphins on the first day. I also went into Stone Town for a city tour but unfortunately I had tripped down the bathroom steps and pulled my shoulder and neck muscles for a second time which meant extra pain killers to endure the long and bumpy drive to and from the historical town. I found the town to not be what I expected and actually very small and a little boring. I was very thankful not to have booked any nights there because a half day tour was enough. My other activity was a reef walk which was a little treacherous due to the many sea urchins living in and around the reef. It meant that I was extra cautious where I placed my feet and I was thankful for the walking stick the guide provided. This was not the ideal activity to be doing in the middle of the day and I only stayed out for an hour because the heat and humidity was too much. I found the snorkeling more enjoyable and offered more to see. I wish I had done the snorkeling a third time because it was so relaxing and enjoyable.

My time in Matemwe was a fantastic, relaxing break that I especially needed after a pretty stressful period and an extended safari. The location was beautiful, the room was luxurious and had every comfort imaginable, the surprise upgrade allowed me to enjoy my room and the plunge pool with the joy of all my meals being brought to me. The food and service (apart from my butler and guides) in general wasn’t as good as the other Asilia properties but this didn’t worry me because I was on island time. I hope to have the opportunity in the future to return and to also pop over to Mafia Island where I can swim with whale sharks.

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