To celebrate newly married life, I was lucky enough to embark on an island-hopping honeymoon, combining two islands off the east coast of Tanzania. My first stop was the idyllic jungle retreat of Fundu Lagoon on Pemba Island. A common misunderstanding is the geography of these Indian Ocean isles, with most people thinking that Zanzibar is a one-island wonder. Zanzibar is in fact an archipelago of islands, the two largest being Unguja (most commonly known as Zanzibar, home to UNESCO World Heritage site Stone Town) and Pemba. In order to get to Fundu Lagoon, we flew to the main airport in Zanzibar, located on Unguja. We had a few hours to kill between flights, so hopped in a car to Stone Town where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Beach House restaurant, before our onward 30-minute light aircraft flight to Pemba. From the airport, it’s a 50-minute drive south west to Mkoani port, followed by a 15-minute speedboat journey. This might seem like quite a trek, but the journey really completes the Fundu story. Driving through villages and towns, you’ll catch a glimpse of Pemba Island life; cloves and spices drying on the roadside, fruit stands laden with freshly fallen goods and families going about their daily routine. Once on the water, you’ll speed past dense mangrove forests tumbling down into the ocean, perfectly setting the truly tropical scene in which Fundu lies. Beyond the sun-soaked loungers, infinity swimming pool and sumptuous spa menu, there are so many things to see and do at Fundu. Here are a few of my honeymoon highlights…
Misali Island is a protected marine park, just off the coast of Pemba, 15 minutes by boat from Fundu Lagoon. The reef surrounding Misali is sought after by divers worldwide, offering an abundance of marine life, vibrant corals and warm waters. Snorkelling is also fantastic here and can be enjoyed straight from the beach at high tide. Keep an eye out for pods of spinner dolphins as they pass by feeding and playing amidst the ocean current, feel the warmth of the Tanzanian sunshine and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch served by the Fundu team.
Sundowners at the jetty bar
It’s no coincidence that happy hour at Fundu’s jetty bar runs from 6-8pm. Boasting one of the best sundowner spots I’ve ever seen, these magical hours should be spent side by side with your loved ones, cocktail in hand. There is simply nowhere better to be. My personal top tipple was the Dawa cocktail. Dawa means medicine in Swahili, which to me seemed an ironic namesake as it was so delicious – unlike any medicine I’ve ever had! A truly heavenly mix of local Pemba honey, fresh lime and spiced rum.
Starlit nights and sunrise delights
You’ll be staying under canvas at Fundu Lagoon, as each room is a beautifully structured, spacious and comfortable tented room, complete with a private en-suite bathroom and large driftwood deck. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, book into an oceanfront villa or room 11, the beach suite, and leave the front curtain open at night. You’ll drift off to sleep with the view of a star-studded sky and wake to a dazzling crimson sun, rising directly in front of your villa.
Low tide beach walks
As the tide gently rolls out twice a day, take to Fundu’s sparkling white beach which runs for nearly two miles at low tide. Grab a pair of binoculars to spot egrets, rollers, swifts, stalks and herons – to name just a few! Mangroves spill out of the jungle for as far as the eye can see. Monkeys play in the canopies above and scan the shoreline for fallen nuts and seeds. Crabs scuttle back and forward in sync with the lapping water and frangipani, hibiscus and wildflowers bloom amidst the lush tropical backdrop.