A Visit to Magical Mnemba Island: Discovering Paradise in Zanzibar
Take note, Island fans! The stunningly beautiful Mnemba Island in Zanzibar is beckoning you to come and discover its azure waters and white sandy beaches.
This idyllic paradise in Tanzania is a nature lover’s dream come true, boasting a thriving coral reef with thousands of tropical fish as well as being part of the world-famous Mnemba Atoll.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventurous diving trip, this Zanzibar region has it all.
Start planning your journey to Mnemba Island today – check out our post on most popular day trips from Zanzibar!
Here is our overview:
How to make the most of your visit to Mnemba Island
This lovely spot is only 1.5 kilometers long and 500 meters wide, but it provides enough space for pure relaxation, absolute privacy, tropical vegetation and plenty of fun in the underwater world.
It’s situated just 3 kilometers from the main island of Unguja in the Zanzibar archipelago, so it’s a short boat ride away.
A personal dream trip and an ideal place to relax, explore white sandy beaches, track down an incredible array of underwater creatures or even soak up some sun in shallower water.
This island is special because of its size and exclusivity, but most importantly because of the coral reef that surrounds it.
This reef is called Mnemba Atoll and is one of the most important nature reserves in East Africa. It is extremely well-preserved and offers many opportunities for diving and snorkeling, as well as numerous colorful fish.
Although the term “atoll” is not quite correct, as Mnemba Island is not a lagoon, the reef extends around the entire island. Here, you can find countless colorful coral reefs, turquoise waters and fresh fish.
It’s a great experience for everyone!
What to do on Mnemba Island
If you’re looking for the best snorkeling in Zanzibar, look no further than Mnemba Island!
This small island off the coast of Zanzibar is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, making it a perfect place to go snorkeling.
There are plenty of tour operators offering trips to Mnemba Island from both Nungwi and Kendwa, so it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule.
The trip out to Mnemba Atoll takes about two hours, but it’s well worth it for the incredible views of brightly colored fish and coral.
What makes Mnemba Island special is that you’re not allowed to go ashore. Every day, hundreds of tourists come to Mnemba Atoll to snorkel, but none are permitted to set foot on the island.
The small island with its beautiful beaches is privately owned; only guests of the luxury resort there are allowed access. See below for more info if you would like to stay there.
Back to discover the pristine beauty of Mnemba Island, a true paradise!
Whether you’re looking for tranquility or to explore the fascinating underwater world of this atoll – here everyone can find what they desire.
Glimpse an array of captivating corals while diving and snorkeling amidst thousands of vibrant fish species. Watch in wonderment as majestic sea turtles lay their eggs on shorelines fringed by lush foliage. Don’t miss out on spotting whales and dolphins swimming nearby too!
Slip into newfound seclusion amid romantic scenery – there’s no better place than this idyllic isle.
Looking to explore the underwater world without having to spend hours learning how to dive? Then snorkeling is the perfect activity for you!
Tours to Mnemba Island
There are half-day and full-day tours, and you can easily find a tour that suits your schedule (like this one).
A snorkeling tour is great value for your money. You can choose a cheaper group tour or decide to go for a private tour. For all those tours, all equipment, transportation and snacks should be included in the price. So, all you need to worry about is enjoying yourself. And that should be easy at Mnemba Island.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, low season is the best time to visit Zanzibar (between March to May). Even though Mnemba Atoll can be busy, it’s nothing compared to what it’s like during high season. But in general, the reef is big enough for everyone, so you won’t feel crowded when snorkeling.
The boats will drop you off right at the edge of the coral reef and then anchor a little ways out from there. You’ll have about two hours to explore all that Mnemba Atoll has to offer.
If you need any help, there’s always a guide nearby who would be more than happy to show you around or point out animals you might not have seen on your own. But if you’d rather go solo, that’s perfectly fine too!
The underwater world around the coral reefs off Mnemba Island is absolutely stunning. There are so many colorful fish here. These colors, this water, the white sandy beaches in front of Mnemba Island — just amazing.
With a little luck you can discover turtles, dolphins, starfish, rays, octopuses or lionfish. Just spend a few super nice hours underwater.
Here is a tour with a private boat:
After being picked up from your hotel on Unguja, Zanzibar, you will be taken by private boat to Mnemba Island. Depending on conditions, the coral reef of the Mnemba Atoll Marine Reserve can be reached in as little as 20 minutes.
Once you’ve completed the snorkeling, take a break on an idyllic sandbar. Soak up some rays as you munch away at delectable seasonal fruits and other tasty morsels.
Then make your way back to Unguja’s coastline; observe fishermen returning with their day’s catches before being transported safely home again!
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Conservation fee
- Private boat
So you only need to bring your swimwear, towels and your sunscreen. And remember, nature is unpredictable. So specific sightings of dolphins, turtles or other animals are not guaranteed.
You could also choose a diving tour, which include two dives. Again, all equipment, drinks, snacks and transportation are included in the price.
Note: you need to be certified with PADI. Only then you’ll be able to explore some of the most beautiful locations, Mnemba Atoll has to offer.
For something to do at night, check out our post: Zanzibar Nightlife: The Island’s Magical Nightlife
To all visitors and guides, please be aware that feeding wild animals – including fish – is not advisable.
Unfortunately, some people still do this, attracted by the opportunity to take a great photo with lots of fish around them. But this can have negative consequences for the environment and the local ecosystem.
So next time you go snorkeling, wherever in the world it may be, resist the temptation to feed the fish or touch corals and other marine life.
See also: The Best Markets in Stone Town, Zanzibar
Staying on Mnemba Island
andBeyond on Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
Mnemba Island is a private island that can only be accessed by booking a stay at the andBeyond Mnemba Island resort. This luxurious resort has room for just 24 guests, making it very exclusive. Prices for a night at andBeyond Mnemba Island start at around $1200 per person.
The cabins at Mnemba Island Lodge are small, but attractively designed bungalows right on the beach. You can see the crystal clear water from your bed and also have a private bathroom.
Three meals per day are included in the price, as well as two dives (for which you must have at least a PADI Open Water certification). The transfer from the airport or Stone Town in Zanzibar city as well as the laundry service and drinks are also included in the price.
For those who want to enjoy a lazy morning, breakfast trays full of tropical fruit, fresh juice, and Tanzanian coffee can be delivered right to your beach banda.
If you’d like to celebrate the sunset with a special treat, they can discreetly place sushi and champagne at your beach lounger. And for a truly romantic dinner, they’ll serve you right on the beach while the waves gently lap at your feet. In addition to yoga and massages in your banda, allow yourself to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Finding environmentally friendly solutions to the pressure being placed on ocean resources, they have eliminated plastic water bottles, create awareness with conservation lessons, protect and monitor turtle nests, nurture a tree nursery and execute beach waste clean-ups daily.
Guests can enjoy sheer unpretentious luxury while relaxing on their own stretch of private beachfront. With simple yet luxurious accommodations, stunning views of Zanzibar beyond, and a variety of activities available, Mnemba Island is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime!
Cheaper accommodations in Nungwi, Zanzibar
If you’re looking to explore the Mnemba Atoll without spending a fortune, staying on the main island, Zanzibar, is a great option.
While you won’t be able to set foot on the atoll itself, there are plenty of diving and snorkeling tours that will let you see all it has to offer.
See also: Where to Stay in Zanzibar
Makofi Guest House in Nungwi, Zanzibar
This quaint, cozy guesthouse in thatched-roof buildings is just a 2-minute walk from beautiful Nungwi Beach and only 64 km from Abeid Amani Karume International Airport.
A simple shared room with wooden beams and mixed occupancy comes complete with Wi-Fi, mosquito nets, bunk beds, a fan, a terrace and a shared bathroom. Private rooms have balconies, private baths and/or four-poster beds. There are also huts made of coconut palm wood and palm leaves. One hut with upscale amenities is air conditioned.
Continental breakfast is served in a courtyard with a white sand floor. Other meals are available by prior arrangement. Parking is available upon request.
Book your stay at Makofi Guest House
Z Hotel in Nungwi, Zanzibar
The Z hotel is the perfect place to stay for a unique and relaxing beach holiday experience. With its contemporary London-inspired design, it offers a fresh and original take on the traditional beach vacation.
The hotel is set in a tropical garden with steps leading down to the white powdery sands of Nungwi’s award-winning beach and the temperate waters of the Indian Ocean.
All rooms come equipped with LCD TVs, cable TV, Wi-Fi and docking stations, so you can enjoy all the modern conveniences while on vacation.
The Z has been named one of the ‘trendiest hotels in Africa’ – and is the only one in Tanzania – so you can be sure you’re staying somewhere truly special.
Whilst they aim to provide a totally relaxed and stress-free environment, the location of the Z also means they are perfectly placed to offer their more ‘energetic’ guests some of the best diving, snorkeling and fishing available anywhere in the world, as well as a wide range of water sports.
The world-renowned Mnemba Atoll has one of highest concentrations of turtles anywhere on Earth, and is just a half hour boat ride away.
Casa Carlotta & Villa in Nungwi, Zanzibar
Nestled in Nungwi, Casa Carlotta & Villa is a haven of serenity and comfort. Boasting free WiFi access, lush garden views, an inviting shared lounge area and terrace space – this 3-star accommodation will make your holiday truly unforgettable!
Just moments away from the beachfront palms where you can appreciate breathtaking sunsets over turquoise waters; here lies tranquility among tranquil surroundings that are perfect for relaxation. The Green Garden also allows guests to take full advantage of their downtime with plenty of peace and privacy on offer at all times throughout their stay.
Casa Carlotta & Villa is situated near Nungwi Beach, just 200 metres away. Royal Beach can be found after a pleasant 1.3 km stroll from the property and Zanzibar International Airport lies 61 km in the distance for easy access to this idyllic spot. An airport shuttle service is also available at an additional cost if needed! And as an added bonus there’s even a children’s playground onsite – perfect for little ones looking to stretch their legs before exploring Zanzibar!
Book your stay at Casa Carlotta & Villa
Escape to the stunning, secluded isle of Mnemba – just three kilometers from Unguja (Zanzibar)!
Here you can enjoy a tranquil retreat and all that this paradise has to offer. Unwind in style at the exclusive abdBeyond’s Mnemba Island Villa, with 24 villas available for booking.
If not staying here, visitors must book one of many exciting snorkeling or diving tours which provide access to explore its breathtaking coral reef teeming with tropical fish, dolphins and more!
Prices start lower per person when you depart by boat from Nungwi for an unforgettable underwater experience.
So, why wait? Get ready for your dream vacation now on magical Mnemba Atoll!