FANJOVE ISLAND - SONGO SONGO ARCHIPELAGO - SOUTHERN TANZANIA
If you are looking for somewhere really special, somewhere which is remote and uncrowded, where time stands still and where your stay revolves around the ocean, the sky and the beach - then Fanjove Island may just be what you are looking for! The beautiful island of Fanjove is part of the unexplored Songo Songo Archipelago, south of Mafia Island and 30 miles from the mainland of Tanzania. Among the islands between Fanjove and Mafia Island is one of the world’s richest marine habitats.
Palm-fringed, powder-white sands; azure, shimmering waters; the call of birdsong; and a whole island shared with just a few guests and the wonderful staff who will spoil you during your stay. Thousands of migrant birds rest and feed on the island, green turtles lay their eggs in season, hundreds of dolphins roam the seas and humpback whales pass through on their migrations. Only the 19th century lighthouse and some architectural remnants of a former fishing village settlement hint at previous occupation by anything other than wildlife.
To get to Fanjove Island you will need to take a light aircraft flight from Dar es Salaam to Songosongo which takes around an hour - the plane lands on the main Island of the archipelago. You will be met by Fanjove Island staff at the small airport and transferred to the sea by tuc tuc through local communities and farmland and on to the sand beach. Depending on the tide you may have to walk a little and paddle through the warm seas to reach your dhow. Once settled you will sail for the island on an unbelievably blue ocean - the first glimpse of the island may be the white lighthouse or the stunning, wide sand beach. You may get your feet wet again as you wade ashore to meet your hosts on the island - your home for the next few days!
Six discreet, eco-friendly private bandas are set along the island facing the ocean - each privately placed in complete harmony with the environment. The bandas are A-framed, shaped to resemble a dhow sail in keeping with the local traditional sailing boats and each banda is open at the front to take advantage of the cooling breezes and uninterrupted ocean views which can also be enjoyed from the upstairs balcony. Doors and curtains protect you from wind and sun - the curtain’s fabric and the ropes are the same used in local dhows to make sails and boat ropes.
The whole property has been designed to minimize its environmental footprint. Solar power is used for all the rooms and the buildings use traditional, natural materials – sustainable wood, mukuti (palm leaves) and thatch. Simple, stylish and comfortable, and completely in keeping with island life the accommodation provides a wonderful base to explore the island, shores and surrounding ocean.
An open-air restaurant and lounge area is the focal point of the lodge and fusion cuisine is served on simple yet stylishly-dressed tables on the beach under the stars. The menu reflects the multicultural heritage of the islands and may include outstanding curries or freshly caught fish of the day. For a really unique experience you can climb the 19th century lighthouse in the late afternoon to enjoy sundowners watching the sun sink into the sea in a blaze of colour!
DIVING AND SNORKELLING
Staying at Fanjove offers exceptional diving and snorkelling opportunities in warm waters of approx. 28°C and visibility of up to 30m. Butterfly fish, Angelfish, Damselfish… The Indian Ocean teems with brightly coloured fish.
Sightings in this rich marine world may include grey or black-tip reef shark, whales and turtles. Intact coral reef stretches for 11km around Fanjove, enabling views of stunning marine landscapes such as underwater pinnacles and gardens of cabbage coral. Snorkelling can be from the shore or by boat and diving is from a boat with an expert guide to help identify all the wonders you will see
Different dolphin species frequent the waters around Fanjove. Spinner Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins are regularly spotted, and with luck you may have the opportunity to swim alongside them.
From November to March, the island is the destination of migratory birds. Armed with good pair of binoculars, and stationed in a discreet lookout spot, you can appreciate the rich diversity of our island neighbours.
Fanjove has 4 single kayaks which provides a memorable way for guests to explore the whole main island, the bird island and the cliff system from the water.
At low tide we have access to a secluded sand bank from where you can snorkel, swim and watch for dolphins as an excellent lunch of grilled fish is prepared privately right in front of you.
Enjoy the sunset and views of Fanjove from the traditional East Africa coast sailing vessel. The boat will set sail before sunset, skippered by locals from the village nearby and one of our waiters. Enjoy a memorable sundowner while experiencing the timeless grace of the wooden dhow.
Try your hand at catching a barracuda, jack, or even a kingfish. Fishing is catch-and-release but certain species can be prepared for our guests' enjoyment, and we can have our kitchen prepare it in the local way using a charcoal grill.
FANJOVE NATURE TRAIL
Channel your inner Robinson Crusoe and explore the island on foot. Maps are on hand to guide you, or indeed a local guide can accompany you, to offer insights into the island, its history and customs.
Open season: June through March
Number of Bandas: 6
Age: we welcome children age 6 and up
For guests with special needs or disabilities: please contact us
LOCATION AND TRAVEL
Fanjove Island is one of the six small islands in the Songosongo Archipelago, just off the coast of Tanzania. Access is by air from Dar es Salaam to the neighbouring island, Songosongo (1hr) – which is the main island of the archipelago. You then have a 40 minute boat transfer in a traditional dhow sailing boat.
Closest Airstrip: Songosongo Island
GPS co-ordinates: 8° 34’ 18.11” S – 39° 34’ 2.27” E
You can incorporate a stay on Fanjove Island with a safari to the southern Tanzania parks or combine the island with Zanzibar or Mafia island for an island hopping holiday of a lifetime. Call us on 01386 830264 or email [email protected] to start planning your African adventure!