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Chumbe Island Coral Park
Ranked #5 of 167 Hotels in Zanzibar Island
Certificate of Excellence
Rochford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2012

What an amazing day. You arrive by small fishing boat to a pristine pure white sand beach and then walk around the headland to the restaurant. Even though we were not staying the night, we were all given use of the same bungalows that you would have if you were staying, for our own use for the day. The huts themselves are gorgeous, and totally eco-friendly, and we could shower after our fabulous morning snorkelling around the coral reef. There is plenty of fish here as well, as one side of the island is protected, and no fishing is allowed here. The food provided at lunchtime was exceptionally good. My only regret is that we did not book to stay overnight! Next time!

Room Tip: All rooms are fabulous
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Thank Lynn J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 November 2012

Had a couple of days staying in comfortable eco huts under the stars, and chilling out. superb snorkeling on the coral gardens , litle damage and weell preserved as part of this small marine park. No dynamite fishing here!

Room Tip: Rooms 6 and 7 are the most secluded and best views. go for a dawn snorkle on southern end of island...
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  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank andy c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 November 2012

A wonderful rustic island getaway – with only 7 “bungalows” the island feels like your own private paradise with maximum 14 guests at any time. Other than the guests only the staff live on the island so its really quiet. The staff are exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable – especially Juma no 5! It is absolutely amazing to discover the reef with their expert assistance. They also spoilt us with a special private beach dinner – very romantic. There is lots to do from walking around the island, swimming off the sandspit, climbing the lighthouse, sailing an outrigger, exploring the shores at low tide but the highlight are the breathtaking snorkel trips twice a day – that is if you manage to drag yourself away from all the wonderful sunbeds and hammocks which are scattered temptingly both at your bungalow and around the island. Lots of thoughtful touches from sarongs and a special foot wash at the front door to get off all the sand – because you will mostly be barefoot.
The food is simple but delicious - with a definate Zanibar feel using spices in unusual ways – they even have their own cookbook for those who want to recreate their Chumbe culinary experience – lots of fresh seafood and very creative salads and vegetables and we will not dwell on the coconut cake...
This is the genuine article an eco-lodge which goes beyond recycling towels “greenwash” to ensure that it actually maximises the positive impact it has on local communities through an ongoing outreach and education programme. It also ensures that it minimises its own impact on the environment by restricting visitors to snorkelling rather than scuba on its exceptionally diverse reef and by low impact buildings.
If you like city slick this is not the place for you or if you want huge beaches and a constant party atmosphere but if you want a rustic and romantic escape it is absolutely perfect.There are lovely small beaches all the time and a big sandspit at low tide. I was a bit worried about composting toilets but actually they work well and are not smelly as long as you remember to keep the seat down. I struggled more with the shower which gave good pressure but wet the bathroom floor because it is open. I loved the way everything was made from natural materials even raffia coverings for the water bottles in the rooms. Such a happy atmosphere we made good friends with other like minded visitors and the staff were amazing. I was very disappointed to be rescued from this island I could happily have stayed as a castaway MUCH longer.

Room Tip: Definately bungalo no 7 - right on the end on the sea most private (ie about 10m or less from the wa...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank wandering_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2012

There are two places I have visited that have really exceeded my expectations in a truly awesome way. Anjajavy in Madagascar and Chumbe Island in Zanzibar.

What you get here is so out of the ordinary it's hard to compare with others. 7 rooms populate this tiny island 45 mins boat trip from Zanzibar.

A true 'eco' reserve, it's certainly not 5* in the classic sense - stay away if you want luxury and room service, but the experience for real travellers is 5* and beyond. (towels are provided btw!)

Everything (except alcohol) is included - inc several snorkelling trips a day and the food is exceptional being made fresh by John the chef.

Snorkelling was great - all the usual fish, Turtles and even (harmless) reef sharks came up to the beach one lunch time. The coral gardens are wonderful to see.

The lodges are basic but wonderful, close to the beach and you are sent asleep every night by the waves and awoken looking to the empty beach from your bed. No doors, no windows, but somehow it just felt like the most comfy place ever.

If you are planning a trip to Zanzibar, forget the spice tours, make sure you visit Chumbe - but book early - there's only 7 rooms. (no I don't work for them!)

Room Tip: All face the sea. We had Rm1, but they all look great!
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Terry D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kampala
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 October 2012

We decided to go on a day trip to Chumbe Island on the last day of our ten-day stay on Zanzibar. Zanzibar is beautiful, but Chumbe Island is even more beautiful. The boat ride there wasn't my favourite part of the day, the sea was a bit rough, but we arrived to the island and were welcomed by the friendly staff. The walk through the coral rag forest was interesting, thanks to the many explanations given by the knowledgeable guide. We then had some time to relax before lunch. Lunch buffet was delicious. After that, we went snorkeling. There was a proper briefing before going (which wasn't the case for the other snorkeling we did on Zanzibar the days before), and although the visibility was a bit limited at first (there were some waves moving up sand), it improved later and the underwater world was simply amazing. I am not a coral reef or snorkeling expert, but I do know I enjoyed it a lot and that it was much more impressive than the other snorkeling we did on Zanzibar. Also, we were given a lot of time to snorkel, more than two hours. After that, we enjoyed a shower, and climbed the stairs of the lighthouse to see the small island from up there, before taking the boat back to Zanzibar Island.
The day trip was great and well organised, and I really appreciated the fact that they did not treat day visitors as some kind of "second class" visitors in comparison to the people spending the night there. Day guests were also given an eco-bungalow for the day to leave their things and take a shower after snorkeling, something I thought was very nice.
Chumbe Island has made a real effort in developing ecological tourism on the island while at the same time protecting it as a nature reserve. I also appreciate the fact that the money generated by tourism on the island is used to protect the exceptional coral reef and to sensitise both school children and fishermen on the importance of the reef.
I am not sure, though, whether spending a night at Chumbe Island is worth 260 to 280 USD. I guess it all depends on your budget, but I find it quite expensive. The day trip, however, is worth 90 USD and it is a perfect activity to end your holidays on Zanzibar with!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Ekeni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NJ
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2012

We stayed here in Sept for two nights. The boat ride out takes 30-40 mins but beware that you may have to walk through knee-high water to get to the boat depending on the tide. They have staff who will carry your luggage. We left most of our luggage back at our hotel in Stone Town where it was stored until we returned back to Stone Town. I would highly recommend trying to do this if you are not traveling lightly (which we weren't). I am glad we didn't try to move all our luggage out to the island with us. My suggestion would be to pack a small to medium duffel with what you need for a few days, and store the rest.

Once out to the island we had a warm greeting and then a discussion of the day's activities. On most days, snorkeling and a forest tour are offered as well as a tidal walk. The times change each day, however, based on the tidal times. So, be prepared to change fast and get ready to go snorkeling perhaps.

The bungalows were awesome. Reminded me of Swiss Family Robinson. Very unique design and layout built with local materials. Comfortable sofa and hammock on the downstairs floor along with a very comfortable bathroom with toilet (eco-friendly) and a great shower with plenty of hot water. The rainwater is collected into a cistern below the unit which is then pumped up to the top each day. Upstairs was a very comfortable bed with shelves for storage as well as a hugh "picture window" which can be raised or lowered to provide for a spectacular view of the ocean. The units are relatively close so you can hear some noise from next door, but this was minimal. One suggestion for management would be to space the guests further apart when the bungalows are not fully occupied, to provide for a bit more privacy.

The "beach" area has plenty of chairs and two person covered swinging mattresses which were great to relax and read on. Don't expect a lot of sand on the beach but the views are great. The tide really rises and falls a lot, almost 4 meters each time, when we were there.

The meals were quite good, especially considering one is on an island in an eco-lodge! The staff was efficient and very friendly. Ask for a private candlelight dinner at the point if this is a romantic holiday! Guarantee you won't be disappointed.

The snorkeling was good. The second day we went the water was a bit more choppy and the visibility was not as good but there was lots to see. They do have snorkel equipment there, but you might want to consider bringing your own mask and snorkel (use their fins) and then donating them to the lodge for their use after you leave. They do have groups of local kids there at times and can use the extra gear. Besides, that makes more room in your luggage for all the souvenirs you will be picking up in Stone Town :)

The tidal walk was our favorite activity. Lots of bright red starfish and crabs. We walked all the way around the island and took tons of photos. The forest walk was also very good and climbing up the lighthouse provided for a spectacular, if windy, view.

The trail can easily be hiked on your own if you want some more quiet time.

The guides were all quite knowledgable and friendly, as were the rest of the staff for that matter. Everyone was obviously trying to make our stay there as pleasant as possible.

Ask them to take you on the trail at night to see the coconut crabs. Even though I was expecting something big, I was shocked as to how large they are. If you are brave, take a flashlight out in the evening and walk along some of the trails and look for crabs. You will see all sorts and sizes. First thing in the morning, look at all the tracks they made.

They also have daytrippers come out when the bungalows aren't all occupied.

We spent two nights here. You can spend just one but I would STRONGLY recommend two nights as a minimum. With one night, you hardly get to do all the activities and with the boat rides back and forth, you hardly get a chance to rest. If you want to relax after a busy safari, this is definitely the place but give yourself two or better yet, three nights to really enjoy the beauty and solitude this place has to offer.

Everything is included in the price including beverages with the meals and the boat out and back, as well as all activities. The only thing not included would be tips for the staff.

After two weeks on safari in Kenya, this was definitely a highlight of our trip and well worth the effort to get there. See the island of Zanzibar but don't miss out on this gem as well.

Recommended enthusiastically!!

Room Tip: Bungalows further down the path are a bit quieter.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank LikesToHike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2012

The first 3 days of our honeymoon could not have been spent in a better way!

The island is a very special place in every way. The people are beautiful and so friendly and hospitable; the food was delicious and fresh; the coral reefs and fish are amazing; and the architecture should get awards for it's simple complexity.

Our only regret is that we were ill for a day - something we picked up on the journey - so we were 'out of action' for a day and so missed a sunset boat trip and romantic dinner for 2. But the staff looked after us and nursed us back to health within 24 hours!

Life lived according to the tides, moon and sun - who could ask for more? We will definitely go back to this excellent Eco Lodge

Room Tip: The last pair of huts (numbers 6 & 7) have the best private beach. We were in hut 1 which was a...
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  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sarah M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Chumbe Island Coral Park

Property: Chumbe Island Coral Park
Address: Chumbe Island, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Zanzibar Island
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Zanzibar Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Chumbe Island Coral Park 3*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Award-winning exclusive private island, fully managed nature reserve and marine park. Guided tours included through spectacular coral reef, forest and mangrove nature trails, historic lighthouse and visitors' centre. State-of-the-art zero-footprint eco-architecture (photovoltaic energy, rainwater harvesting, solar water heating, composting toilets). Free environmental education programs for local schools. Winner of British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award 1999, UNEP Global500 award 2000, National Geographic Geotourism Challenge award 2008, finalist Aga Khan award for architecture. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chumbe Island Coral Park Hotel Zanzibar
Chumbe Island Coral Park Zanzibar

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