On the northeast coast of Zanzibar Island, framed by coconut palms and white sand, is Matemwe village and beach, home to Asilia’s Matemwe properties. Privacy and exclusivity rule at this tropical paradise.
Matemwe Beach is one of the most peaceful places on this lush tropical island. With a shallow, coral-fringed lagoon, it is the perfect place for a tropical beach holiday or to relax and unwind after a busy game-viewing safari. Just off the coast is the world-famous Mnemba Atoll, said to provide some of the best diving and snorkelling on the continent. The waters off these mesmerising coral reefs provide brilliant sightings of colourful reef fish, turtles and many species of dolphin, while the deeper Indian Ocean gives you the chance to see humpback whales on their annual migration route between July and November.
Snapshot of Matemwe
- Perfect for groups & families who enjoy home-from-home island hospitality
- Pure relaxation with warm waters, direct beach access, private pool & spa at the Lodge
- Diving, snorkelling, dhow trips & visits to Stone Town & community villages
- Tropical seclusion
- Ultimate escape
- Adventure & culture
The Matemwe properties are perched on an outcrop overlooking a shallow coral-fringed lagoon, with the Indian Ocean glittering ahead. The long stretch of beach has not been noticeably altered by tourism and it remains an important thoroughfare for locals. Fishing and seaweed harvesting are still key to the local economy – at high tide, fishermen can be seen sailing across the lagoon in their dhows. The lodge has a close relationship with the local fishing village, Matemwe Village, situated under the palm trees on the far side of the beach. It is home to many of the Matemwe staff and many of their children attend the local school.
Historic Stone Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is just an hour’s drive from Matemwe, so day trips into the winding streets of the historic town are easy, as are excursions to all corners of this fascinating island. Stone Town’s ancient history as a trade centre is revealed in Swahili and Islamic architectural influences: minarets, intricately carved doorways and the 19th-century House of Wonders, a former sultan’s palace are just some of the gorgeous landmarks you will see.
Whether you want to relax in a hammock in the shade of the palm trees that line the tropical beach or explore the history and culture of Zanzibar, there is no shortage of things to do while you’re at Matemwe.
Who could resist? Spend a lazy day under the palm trees that fringe the white sand beach with a cool cocktail in hand, taking the occasional cooling dip in the crystal clear tropical waters.
Zanzibar is commonly known as the Spice Island, and the air is a heady mix of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and pepper. If you can tear yourself away from the beach, visit a spice plantation and learn about the tropical fruits and spices that are grown on the land and bestow Zanzibar with their goodness.
Spend a day getting lost in the tangled streets of Stone Town, gazing at the intricately carved doors and elaborate mosques and haggling with vendors at the outdoor marketplace.
The Indian Ocean is renowned for its diving – and no spot is more famous than Mnemba Atoll. Diving or snorkelling among dolphins, turtles and reef fish is magical experience. Diving courses are available through Scubafish.
Scenic kayak trips on the reef, kitesurfing, deep-sea fishing and sundowner dhow trips are all exciting options for adrenaline junkies looking for some physical action after the relatively sedentary experience of being on safari. As with many sea-based activities, timing is governed by the tides and water levels.
A guided reef walk, excursion to a remote sandbank, Jozani Forest tour and Matemwe village walk provide the perfect opportunity to explore the Zanzibari world around you.
Getting to Matemwe
A tropical island holiday at Matemwe is an excellent way to ease into your East African holiday or to recharge after your safari. While a few international airlines offer direct flights to Zanzibar, it is more easily accessible via a short hop by plane from Dar es Salaam and Arusha in Tanzania. You can also fly in from Nairobi in Kenya. The airport is called Abeid Amani Karume International, and it is about 5km south of Zanzibar City on the island’s southwest coast. Transfers from the airport to Matemwe Beach – a distance of 57km – are by road.
Zanzibar has brilliant hot, sunny beach weather nearly all year round. July to October is reliably hot and sunny, with prevailing trade winds cooling things down just enough. The humidity of November is relieved by afternoon showers. From December to March, temperatures cool down slightly (a good thing) and the northeast winds back off quite considerably; you can still expect occasional rainshowers, but all things considered this is a great time to visit.
- Dry season: July to October; December to mid-March
- Peak of wet season: April and May (Matemwe closed during this time)
- Max. temp. range during the day: 27˚C to 32˚C / 81˚F to 90˚F
- Max. temp. range at night: 23˚C to 25˚C / 73˚F to 77˚F
Our goal as Asilia is to be a role model in sustainable tourism. At the heart of our organisation is the conviction that world-class travel can go hand in hand with improving livelihoods and conservation of nature. We strive to create a lasting, positive impact everywhere we operate. We believe in better.
We are working hard to put our aspirations into action and make a meaningful impact on conservation and community development in the Matemwe area. We have been the largest local employer in Matemwe for the past two decades and have been heavily involved in community development and financial support in the local village of Kigomani. Some of our other actions at Matemwe include:
- Environmentally friendly waste management and recycling both at our Matemwe properties and in the surrounding community
- Energy-saving practices
- Local procurement of materials and food
- Helping to finance classrooms for the school and sponsoring promising students for further education
- Like all Asilia camps and lodges, we offset the carbon emissions from our fossil-fuel consumption through a local community forestation program in Tanzania and investments in renewable energy sources
Asilia is proud to be the first travel company in Africa to achieve the highest five-star GIIRS rating and B-Corporation status. And yet, we trust we do even more. By being creative and developing new models for travel, we try to further increase benefits for nature and local people.
Where to Stay
Asilia has three magnificent options for you to choose from:
- Vibrant and laid-back
- 12 chalets (6 triples and 2 with plunge pools)
- Spa facilities
- Only 4 elegant villas, each with 1 double room
- Only children over 12
- Private plunge pool
- Private villa
- Ideal for families or small groups
- Private plunge pool
- Personal bar