The northeast part of the Spice Island of Zanzibar is known as Matemwe. This area is well known for its fine weather and natural beauty – the contrasting colours of the Indian Ocean, the fine white powder sand of the beach, the extreme beauty of the coral reef of the Mnemba Atoll and the wild bush vegetation. Matemwe borders a small village of fishermen, who go out sailing with their armada of traditional dhows on a daily basis.
The high-quality Matemwe Retreat is located just north of Matemwe’s main lodge and has an exclusive and intimate feel with just four self-contained private villas.
Each villa has a roof terrace with private plunge pool, a private cocktail bar, sun decks and a spacious veranda. There is an air-conditioned bedroom, a bathroom with double sinks, a shower and a bath overlooking the Indian Ocean. In front of each room there is a small, private beach. There is a full butler service for drinks and private dining. Massage and beauty treatments can be taken in the privacy of your room or on your roof terrace.
Guests can also enjoy the facilities of the sister property Matemwe Lodge including its intimate restaurant and lovely swimming pools. The lodge also offers massages and beauty treatments (henna and hair braiding) and activities include diving, snorkeling, kayaking, reef walks, dhow sailing trips, village visits, biking, day trips (spice tours, Stone Town, Jozani Forest and Prison Island and more).
Matemwe Retreat offers fine-dining with a choice of main courses (fish, meat and vegetarian) but with fresh seafood being the speciality. In the early morning, tea / coffee and cookies are served to your private veranda from where you can enjoy the beautiful sunrise. Later, breakfast offers a wide choice of fruit juices, fruits, yoghurt, cereals, pancakes and Full English breakfast. Lunches are delicious buffets with a mix of African and European flavours. In the evening, the full moon rising out of the sea is a wonderful romantic experience you’re not likely to forget. Dinner can be taken in the privacy of your garden or roof terrace or at the nearby Matemwe Lodge. Each day the manager or chef will discuss your dining preferances.
Matemwe offers a wide range of activities that can be undertaken in and around the lodge or elsewhere on the Zanzibar island.
Diving and snorkelling
Variety is the key word on the reefs around Matemwe. Soft and hard corals, sponges and anemones abound, and you will be amazed by the sheer range of fish species to be found in these waters. You might find turtles, rays and dolphins in the water and the lucky ones might even spot a whale passing by the reef (best chance for whales in the period August – October).
- Dives are taken around the Mnemba Atoll, right opposite Matemwe, where the best diving spots of the island are found. Diving sites are suitable for all levels of experience.
- Snorkelling can be enjoyed straight from Matemwe’s beach or on trips with traditional wooden dhows to the sites around the Mnemba Atoll.
- Swimming: the temperature of the sea is very pleasant, but tidal differences on Zanzibar are such that swimming is difficult at low tides. Besides the pools of the main lodge, all Retreat rooms have a private plunge pool on their roof terrace to make sure guests can cool off any time of the day
- Deep sea fishing
- Local fishing trips in traditional boats
- Kayaks are available to explore the sea and coastline near Matemwe
- Sailing: Matemwe operates 2 local dhows for snorkelling and sailing trips
- Guided walks to the local village and fish market give a good chance to explore the local Zanzibar culture and village life and offer guests the opportunity to learn about the community projects that Matemwe is involved in.
- Guided reef walks explore the marine life at low tide
Weddings & Honeymoons
Candle lit private beach dinners under the stars, Champagne breakfast, honeymoon suites, aromatic massage oils… Matemwe offers special packages for honeymooners and is proud to offer dream weddings at its pristine beaches. Honeymoon packages can include other destinations to create an unforgettable honeymoon in Tanzania or Kenya, combining a romantic stay at Matemwe with an exclusive and intimate safari.
Matemwe Retreat has been built by local craftsmen, where possible from local materials. Walls are of local stone and roofs are made of makuti (woven palm leaves) and most furniture is made of locally-produced coconut wood. Soft furnishings are locally-produced and the matting is produced by a charitable association for the blind in Stone Town. Solar energy is used for hot water. Of the lodge staff, over 60% is from the villages close by Matemwe.