We spent 5 days on the island of Zanzibar following our Namibian safari, with absolutely no ambition other than to relax and spend at least one day diving or snorkeling.
After what seemed like hours searching for affordable yet still luxurious hotels and villas (NOT an easy task, mind you as everything was quite pricey on this island!) I finally found THE perfect villa on VRBO. And I do mean perfect — the owner is lovely, the house is gorgeous and right on the ocean, and the location close to the best snorkeling/diving area off Zanzibar. It’s remote enough from the large hotels to avoid all the beach hawkers, yet not so remote not to find restaurants within walking distance.
It’s always a little bit scary to rent an unknown villa, especially when one has to wire money, but after reading many reviews and several emails back and forth with the owner, Patrick, I felt confident that it was legitimate. The house comes with staff to clean daily, security guards, and even a driver. For just a few more dollars, there is a cook for hire. And what a cook she was!! Best cook we’ve ever experienced at a villa rental. Not a woman quick to smile, but extremely generous with food prepared with full-on flavor.
A driver is also included in the rental price, with access to both a vehicle and a boat, though petrol cost is the responsibility of the renter. We took advantage of the boat for a snorkeling excursion one day, and the vehicle for trips to and from the airport AND a trip to Stone Town for an afternoon and dinner.
We started exploring Stone Town on our own but then conceded to hiring a tour guide who approached us. This saved us from multiple interruptions from hawkers, and luckily we found a decent guide who showed us the city albeit a speed version as we requested.
We also did a dive/snorkeling trip with Dive Point Zanzibar. They were a 20 minute drive from the villa, and pick-up is complementary with a dive trip. This was a very well-run company and we all enjoyed the reef surrounding Mnembe Atoll.
Below is a video with footage from our drone. Keep strolling down for photos of this beautiful and exotic island.