Matemwe Retreat, Zanzibar

Enjoy your own private tropical escape at Matemwe Retreat. The four elegant villas that make up the Retreat are set high in the palm trees with uninterrupted Indian Ocean views. With its secluded location and dedicated private butler, the Retreat is considered one of the most exclusive choices of accommodation on Zanzibar Island.

If you are looking for pure escapism, these villas – which combine the spirit of Zanzibar with the highest standards of comfort – were designed for you. The private plunge pool, personal bar and spacious roof terrace with day bed and loungers are so appealing that we would not blame you if you relaxed in your hidden sanctuary for your entire holiday.

Snapshot of Matemwe Retreat
  • Ideal as a honeymoon retreat: total privacy and personalised service
  • Pure relaxation with warm waters, spa, white sand beaches, private terrace and pool
  • Snorkelling, diving, fishing, kayaking and sailing, plus Zanzibar island culture to enjoy
Perfect for
  • Romantic travel
  • Tropical seclusion
  • Ultimate escape
Standard price per person per night:

$570 - $750i

To find out more about our special offers and rates exclusive to African citizens and residents, please get in touch.

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 4 villas, each with 1 double bedroom

  • No triples available

  • Children: over 12 years old

  • Not suitable for disabled guests

  • Private plunge pool

  • Air conditioning throughout

  • Personal bar

  • Massage & spa treatments available

  • In-room lockable box

  • Hair dryer

  • Laundry service

  • Power: 240V mains

  • WiFi

  • Butler service


  • Reef walk

  • Village visit

  • Diving: at extra charge

  • Snorkelling: at extra charge

  • Dhow trip: at extra charge

  • Stone Town visit: at extra charge

  • Spice tour: at extra charge

Camp Dates

  • Closed 3 April to 31 May

  • High season 1 – 31 July and 1 September – 31 October

  • Peak season 1 – 5 January; 1 – 31 August and 20 – 31 December

  • Low season 6 January – 2 April; 1 – 30 June and 1 November – 19 December

Closest Airstrip

  • Zanzibar Airport: approx. 75 minutes

Child Ages

  • Children are not accepted at Matemwe Retreat.

Villa Experience


Matemwe Retreat offers four exclusive private villas set just metres from the Indian Ocean. The spacious villas are decorated in a vibrant island motif. Days at the Retreat are all about indulgence, from the private butler catering to your every whim to the chef stopping by each morning to discuss your preferred menu for the day.

A spacious veranda with comfortable day bed and loungers, made from locally produced coconut wood, is the perfect spot from which to watch the fishing dhows return with their catch. Upstairs on the private roof terrace, enjoy lazy days beside the plunge pool with both sun and shade decks. In the evening, savour dinner cooked by your private chef under the stars or stroll down to the main lodge for a seafood buffet in the open-air restaurant.


All our food is sourced locally (including fruit and vegetables), and seafood is bought from local suppliers who use sustainable techniques. This means, for example, that we do not buy net- or spear-caught fish but only that caught on lines.

When you discuss your chosen menu with your personal chef each day, feel free also to choose where you would like it to be served. We offer picnic lunches during excursions to the sandbank and Muyuni beach. Guests who go on the Stone Town tour or spice tour can be taken to a restaurant in Stone Town if they wish.

Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements – our camp chefs will be happy to cater for your needs. We cater for all diets, although strict kosher cooking is not possible.

A Typical Day at Matemwe

Combining the spirit of Zanzibar with the highest standards of luxury, Matemwe Retreat’s secluded villas are considered the most exclusive choice of accommodation on this exotic island. Matemwe Retreat is all about romance so a day here could look something like this…

06:30–07:00 Wake-up with tea & coffee or a cooler beverage
07:00–08:30 Enjoy a delicious fresh breakfast to start your day
09:00–10:00 Why not lounge by the pool for an hour?
10:00–12:30 If the tide allows, venture out onto the Infinity Sandbank for a romantic picnic
12:30–13:30 Lunch
13:30–15:00 Siesta time: read a book, swim in the pool or just relax
15:30–17:00 Unwind with a couples massage in our beautiful spa
18:30–19:00 Sundowners on the deck
19:30–20:30 Enjoy a delicious meal before going to bed and dreaming of your next day in paradise!



Echoing the white sand beaches and the changing turquoise hues of the tropical waters, the fully air-conditioned Matemwe Retreat villas are a reflection of their tranquil island surroundings, filled with locally produced materials and furnishings. The ground floor of each villa features a private bar area, cool and airy double bedroom with king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom with double basins, shower and a sunken bathtub with impressive views of the sparkling ocean.

Outdoors, impressively comfortable and very private lounge areas invite you to make the most of the tropical climate.The rooftop deck with sparkling blue plunge pool offers panoramic Indian Ocean views.



Secluded Matemwe Beach on the northeastern coast of Zanzibar Island is perfectly situated opposite the spectacular diving and snorkelling reefs of the Mnemba Atoll and surrounded by some of the best beaches in Zanzibar. Privacy and exclusivity are paramount at Matemwe, where the beach is still one of the quieter and more exclusive locations on the island.

The warm Indian Ocean waters part for a sandbank walk.

The four villas of Matemwe Retreats are situated slightly north of the main Matemwe Lodge in an elevated position in the palm trees that allows uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean and nearby Mnemba Island. Wooden walkways give access to the main lodge should you wish to use any of the facilities or dine in the open-air restaurant on a mouthwatering feast of local seafood, bought daily from the fishermen.

Matemwe Beach, below the Retreat, has not been noticeably altered by tourism over the years and remains an important thoroughfare for locals. Fishing and seaweed harvesting are still key to the local economy – at high tide, fishermen can be seen streaming across the lagoon in their dhows. Matemwe has a close relationship with the local fishing village. Matemwe Village, situated at the far side of the beach, is home to many of our staff, whose children attend the local school.

A 30-minute boat ride away is Mnemba Island and the world-renowned coral reef that provides some of the most spectacular diving and snorkelling in the world. Here you have a good chance of seeing turtles and wild dolphins, in addition to the colourful reef fish that dart around the coral.

Stone Town is just 60 minutes from the villas, allowing for easy day trips into the winding streets of the historic town, and excursions to all corners of this fascinating island.



Whether you want to relax on the roof terrace dipping in and out of the plunge pool, or spend your days swimming, diving and snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, Matemwe Retreat offers a variety of experiences and activities.


Water-based activities

As with many sea-based activities, timing is governed by the tides and water levels. Please speak to the manager or one of the guides to help you book at recommended times. Our water-based activities include:

  • Snorkelling and diving at the famous reefs of Mnemba Atoll
  • Diving courses available through Scubafish
  • Kite-surfing
  • Scenic kayaking on the reef
  • Guided reef walks
  • Traditional sailing & fishing
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Sundowner dhow trips


Land-based activities

If you’re in the mood for being more active, there are also plenty of land-based activities to enjoy:

  • Remote sand-bank excursion
  • Day trips to Stone Town
  • Jozani forest tour
  • Spice tours
  • Matemwe Village walk


Let one of the therapists from our Sea & Spice Spa offer you a relaxing treatment either in the spa or in the comfort of your room.

Our 2018 Rates


Matemwe Retreat All Inclusive rates include: Full board accommodation, all drinks (except drinks mentioned under excluded), private room attendant service, laundry, snorkeling with boat (one trip per person), guided reef walks and guided cultural village walks.

Rates below exclude: Applicable conservation charge, totalling US$ 5.  Champagne, cellar wines, premium brand drinks, cocktails & mocktails, shooters, all transfers, diving and all other activities & excursions not mentioned in the “included” section, Mnemba Atoll conservation fees, massages and treatments, additional lunch $25pp.

Peak Season:

1 – 5 January; 1 – 31 August and 20 – 31 December: US$ 750 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation

High Season:

1 – 31 July and 1 September – 31 October: US$ 700 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation

Low Season:

6 January – 2 April; 1 – 30 June and 1 November – 19 December: US$ 570 per person per night based on 2 people sharing accommodation

Enquire about staying at Matemwe Retreat

Experiences and activities to enjoy at Matemwe Retreat:

  • Tropical Beaches
    Tropical Beaches

    Relax on tropical Zanzibar.

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  • Cultural Experiences
    Cultural Experiences

    Discover Africa's rich culture.

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  • Romantic Experience
    Romantic Experience

    Mysterious, exciting and remote, Africa is the perfect choice for a romantic holiday of a lifetime.

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  • Active Safari
    Active Safari

    Experience a different kind of safari.

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  • Exclusive-Use Accommodation & Personal Guiding
    Exclusive-Use Accommodation & Personal Guiding

    Go on a personal, private safari.

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  • Diving & Snorkelling
    Diving & Snorkelling

    Dive & snorkel in the Indian Ocean.

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  • Trip to Stone Town
    Trip to Stone Town

    Visit historic Stone Town.

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  • Sundowner Dhow Trips
    Sundowner Dhow Trips

    Watch the sun set from a traditional boat.

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  • Jozani Forest Tour
    Jozani Forest Tour

    See the friendly red colobus monkey.

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Featured itineraries at Matemwe Retreat

  • Northern Safari Circuit & Zanzibar
    Northern Safari Circuit & Zanzibar

    Tanzanian ‘bush & beach’.

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  • Climbing, Safari, Watersports and Relaxation
    Climbing, Safari, Watersports and Relaxation

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  • Honeymoon & Romance
    Honeymoon & Romance

    The perfect honeymoon or special holiday for two.

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Guest Reviews

Further Reading

Matemwe Turtle Release

Matemwe is very passionate about Sea Turtle conservation, and for a number of years we have rescued nests from very at risk sites.

Read more

Top 10 photography tips

If there’s one thing that makes a trip unsurpassed, it is the ability to capture amazing scenes and portraits of the memories made along the way.

Read more