Fanjove Private Island Lodge : Brand New For 2023/2024 : The crown jewel of the Songo-Songo Archipelago, Fanjove Island, is where Fanjove Island Lodge is located. Just ten beach villas, each with an unobstructed ocean view, are located on this private island.
Across the Indian Ocean, This is one of only two private island experiences in Tanzania and is less than a kilometer long with only six Bandas (the other being the very expensive Mnemba Island). Before, only a few local fishermen used the island occasionally as a base for their fishing. Visitors now have the chance to stay and discover the area’s stunning beaches and wildlife.
You know you’re going somewhere special the moment you get on the plane at Dar es Salaam and take off south, far from the crowds traveling north to Zanzibar. This is made even more dramatic by the brief boat ride from Songo-Songo airstrip across the water, where you can just make out the Bandas against the background of the forest.
The building is owned by the Selous Safari Company, which also owns the outstanding Jongomero in Ruaha and the Siwandu in Selous. We are happy to report that Fanjove exudes the same vibe. The rustic design of the wooden, solar-powered, partially open rooms is intentional. The Bandas are for you if you still secretly (or not-so-secretly) yearn to live simply, like Robinson Crusoe. But if you’re looking for televisions, crisp stonework, and swimming pools, look elsewhere.
The beach is among the best in East Africa, and the coral reef offers divers and snorkelers the chance to explore some still-unexplored regions. The majority of the standard hotel activities available at Fanjove include snorkeling, diving, and kiteboarding.
The rooms maintain this simplicity as well; despite their size, they have only a bed, two armchairs, and a daybed that can be accessed via a ladder up on the balcony. However, their main appeal is their simplicity. They perfectly encapsulate Fanjove.
Fresh fish cooked in a fusion of Swahili and Western styles is served with excellent food and service.
Fanjove won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’ve ever had the niggling desire to abandon everything and live like Robinson Crusoe on a stunning tropical island, now is your chance. It is only a 40-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, so there is no need for rescue here. There is no need to look any further for a more adventurous Tanzania honeymoon.
Fanjove Private Island Lodge six Bandas are dispersed throughout the island’s southeast. With the doors wide open, all you see is the vegetation, sand, and sea beyond; you could very easily forget there were other people on the island at all. Each has its own unique sand path leading away from the main area. Each very roomy two-story Banda is built to resemble the sail of a dhow, an African traditional boat, with the peak of the roof facing the sea and blending into the vegetation behind it. All of them have large makuti thatched roofs, wooden floors, and windows that can be opened or closed in response to the heat and breeze.
Each band’s front “door” is divided into three sections that open and close independently of one another. The two side doors can be fully opened and secured to the Banda’s side, while the central flap is raised and lowered using a rope-pulley system that can be fastened. We appreciated the freedom to decide how exposed to the breeze you’d like to be. It’s amazing to fall asleep with the doors wide open and the sound of the sea lapping just a few meters in front of you.
Each Banda has a large four-poster bed in the center that is covered in a mosquito net. Two reading lights made of driftwood and powered by solar panels are placed next to the bed. In addition to a large trunk where you can lock away any valuables, there are some shelves and hangers for storing your clothing behind the bed. They’ve left some mosquito repellent, a small torch, and some bottled water on a small writing desk for visitors to use. Each Banda has a spacious en suite bathroom at the back. There is a large rain shower with running hot and cold water, one sink with cold water, and a mirror. The restroom is concealed around a corner.
Each Banda has a mezzanine level with a simple mattress that is ideal for getting a better view of the sea. It is located at the front of the structure, at the peak of the frame, and up some steep wooden steps. Again, the rope-and-pulley system can be used to open or close the front here.
The main area’s open, roomy, and uncomplicated design is reminiscent of Bandas. On windier days, a small dining area beneath the makuti thatch is used, but most meals are consumed on the beach. The ideal place to read a book or simply enjoy the view is from one of the few lounge areas that has some wicker sofas on the sandy floor.
Many people will find that sunbathing and swimming in the clear waters are more than enough to keep them occupied. For those who want to be a little more active, there are numerous activities available. Visitors are free to explore the island as much as they like; a full circle takes about an hour and a half. You must walk inland when the tide is out, but you can walk along the beach when it is low. Visitors are only allowed in these locations when accompanied by a member of the staff because they are of significant spiritual importance to the locals and are clearly marked with signs.
The winds that blow between June and August offer the ideal conditions for enthusiastic kite surfers. Visitors are welcome to bring their own equipment, but they only have one small beginner’s kite and are unable to provide much instruction.
The best time to circumnavigate the island is from November onward, when the water is typically calm and flat and kayaks are available at no additional cost.
Fanjove can provide very basic offshore fishing trips. The lodge can arrange for a Kilwa local to come and take visitors out on the water for some serious fishing. However, this costs somewhere around US$900, which is quite a bit.
Many sandbanks are exposed at low tide, and for about $50 per person, the lodge will arrange a dhow trip to take visitors out and set up a picnic lunch on one of the temporary islands. To make the most of the trip, we’d advise combining this with snorkeling on some of the farther-off reefs.
Fanjove is the ideal way to wrap up a southern Tanzania Safari itinerary because of its close proximity to Dar es Salaam. Fanjove Private Island Lodge expertise will guarantee that your vacation or honeymoon will end with some rest and relaxation on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Indian Ocean, whether you choose to visit Selous, Ruaha, or both.
Nothing beats enjoying a cold beverage while listening to the gentle crashing of the waves and a stunning sunset. It is definitely worthwhile speaking with one of our experts to learn what can be offered since the Selous Safari Company owns Fanjove, and there are some fantastic deals that combine Selous and Ruaha with Fanjove.
ACTIVITIES ON FANJOVE ISLAND
- Scuba diving
- Dhow sailing
- Bird Watching
- Sandbank excursions