Sept 8-11, 2013
Matemwe Beach Village, an hour across Zanzibar Island from Stone Town, is a good budget choice with adequate rooms, comfortable lounge spaces and good food.
The owners are committed to employing locals not only as hotel staff but also in the construction of the facility and the fabrication of goods used in the hotel and sold in the hotel gift shop. The friendly staff create a warm and relaxing atmosphere, although an individual’s English may not always be as refined as at higher-end resorts.
The kitchen, headed by a friendly South African chef who often can be seen chatting with guests, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate while lunch is additional.
The daily lunch and dinner menu consists of a limited selection of quality dishes, generally including a choice of a meat, fish or a vegetarian option. Portions, while not huge, are well-prepared and thoughtfully presented. On our last day, just before the start of our long journey back to the States, we tasted the best fish and chips I’ve had in a long time. Flakey white fish in a crispy coating, cooked to order and served fresh hot.
The covered open-air lounge is protected from the strong winds off the sea by vegetation and thus, unfortunately, has a limited ocean view.
The white sand beach in front of the hotel is a long shallow strip with breakers a good half mile beyond the main beach. At high tide waves crash off in the distance with only the smaller secondary waves rolling into shore.
At low tide it is possible to walk out to the reef. With an abundance of seaweed in the water and on shore and a minimum of wave action it is not the best beach for playing in the surf.
On our second two days a strong wind whipped up in the afternoon, cooling down the afternoon temperatures and causing the lodge to lower their wind screens. Needless to say, not the most desirable weather for a beach vacation.