Fanjove Island – Songo Songo

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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 swim in 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, often landing at Mafia Island on the way, to the main island of the Songosongo archipelago. The flight takes around an hour and you will be met by Fanjove Island staff at the small airport and transferred to the jetty by tuc tuc to meet your dhow or motorboat. Once settled you will cruise to 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 as you wade ashore to meet your hosts on the island – your home for the next few days!

Just 10 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 constructed out of local, natural  materials and beautifully furnished with very comfy beds surrounded by mosquito netting, mother of pearl inlaid furniture, shell and sea themed mirrors and objects.  Each banda is semi open at the front to take advantage of the cooling breezes and uninterrupted ocean views.  The wide veranda has a huge daybed scattered with cushions and two macrame hammocks swing invitingly in the breeze.  Step off your veranda onto the soft, sand beach and into the sea in moments!  Carved wooden doors and curtains protect you from wind and sun and you can fall asleep at night to sound of the waves …

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. Stunning, stylish and comfortable, and completely in keeping with island life, the accommodation provides a wonderful base to explore the island, shores and surrounding ocean – or simply relax!

The 19th century lighthouse has been converted to house an open-air restaurant serving wonderfully fresh and tempting cuisine focusing on locally caught and grown produce and is served on simple yet stylishly-dressed tables in the shade overlooking the ocean or 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 lighthouse to enjoy fabulous views out over the island.

The lounge area is the focal point of the lodge and is furnished in soft natural hues of whites, creams and sea themed trivia and set under an expansive thatched roof with a bar area set on the beach.



Staying at Fanjove offers exceptional diving and snorkelling opportunities in warm waters of approx. 28°C and visibility of up to 30m. The protected reef is home to an astounding variety of colourful fish of all sizes – butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, crocodile fish, moray eels … to name a few!

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.


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.


Enjoy exploring the waters around the island by kayak or bodyboard whilst enjoying 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 for 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 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.


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: 1st June to 15th March

Number of Bandas: 10

Age: we welcome children age 6 and up

For guests with special needs or disabilities: please contact us


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 or 20 minutes by speedboat.

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 01984 667420 or email [email protected] to start planning your African adventure!

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