Nestled within Tanzania’s Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, Thanda Island, the world’s only exclusive-use private island surrounded by a protected marine reserve, is probably the most secluded, yet adventure packed destination out there. Offering guests utter seclusion and perfect peace, in a location off-limits to everyone but the resort staff, at Thanda Island guests could be forgiven for believing they’re the only people on the planet. Providing unbeatable experiences, guests can enjoy scuba diving withnEast African Coast’s rich marine life, enjoy a bird’s eye view with a tour in Thanda’s own helicopter, relax in the traditional copper bath on the most a secluded part of the island, embark on a deep sea-fishing cruise or dive with whale sharks – to name a few.
- Swim With Whale Sharks: These harmless, gentle giants – the largest fish in the world and categorised by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction – are an incredible part of the Thanda Island experience, as they feed just south of the Island from October to March giving guests the rare opportunity to not only see the magical creatures, but swim with them too!
- Sailing, Paddling & Kayaking: Guests are given the chance to explore Thanda’s surrounding reefs of turquoise clear water home to a treasure trove of more than 280 species of tropical fish, dolphins, and turtle in a kayak, sailboat or a stand-up paddle-board.
- Cruise The Islands: Guests can chose to take a sailing trip on a traditional Arab fishing Dhow around the Island or hop on Thanda’s speed boat, beautifully appointed with a luxurious cabin, cocktail bar, dedicated waiter and a music system with a wide range of songs.
- Water Sports: Take advantage of Thanda’s endless water sports offerings from multiple jet-skis, wake boarding and water-skiing, to kitesurfing with a qualified instructor on the neighbouring sandbanks.
- Scuba Diving: Scuba diving can be carried out at Mafia Island Diving, Thanda’s accredited 5-star dive partner. The largest marine protected area in the Indian Ocean offers some of the most spectacular diving off the East African Coast, including an intriguing diversity of coral reefs, five species of turtles and 400 species of enchanting reef fish.
- Snorkelling: Thanda is also home to a resident snorkelling guide who can take guests on seven different snorkelling adventures around the Island for all ages and novices. Expect to see Marine turtles, along with plenty of exciting marine species, including trumpet fish, threespot dascyllus, blue-spotted stingray, jewel damselfish, cleaner wrasse, goldbar wrasse, reef needlefish and cornetfish.
- Big Game Fishing: Fishing trips can be arranged by Thanda’s captain and fishing guide on Thanda’s boat ‘Real Magic’, to seek out iconic catch-and-release species, or bring home the catch of the day for the Island’s chefs to prepare for lunch or dinner.
- The Legendary Spice Island of Zanibar: Culture lovers can experience a spice tour and the mystique of the old city of Stone Town, Zanzibar filled with rich history and arrive by helicopter or fixed-wing charter plane
- Chole Island: One of the most popular island excursions is the Chole Island Tour where guests embark on a community-based, historical journey to the east side of Mafia Island and immersive themselves in local culture
- Explore Mafia Island: Choose to visit Mafia Island, the closest inhabited island to Thanda and explore the Eleventh Century ruins, visit the village communities or take a road safari in the island’s legendary Landrover taxis
- Dar Es Salaam: Explore Tanzania’s thriving harbour capital of Dar es Salaam, or ‘Dar’ as it is called, with its colourful mix of African, Arabic, Indian, British and German architecture and culture with a day trip or overnight stay arranged by the Thanda Island team.
- Tennis & Volleyball: In the early mornings, late afternoons or evenings (when it isn’t too hot) take up a game tennis or volleyball on Thanda’s 16 x 35m artificial lawn court, comstructed with night lights for those who would like to play after dark and fully equipped with rackets, balls and even partners or opponents if needed.
- Bird Walk: Embark on the Thanda Island Egret Walk and head through the bush behind the Villa onto a white-sand trail to visit the white, grey and black Egrets that inhabit the private island.
- Swahili Feast: One of Thanda’s most magical experiences is The Swahili feast, dedicated to the flavours and aromas of Tanzania, tickled with the spices from Zanzibar. Expect Swahili curries, rice dishes, grills, local desserts, chai and more accompanied by an exotic experience of Arabian nights with a themed evening of indulgence, with chiffon drapes, incense, Afghan rugs, low tables and Arabian music.
- Wellness: Those who wish to relax and drift off can attend yoga classes in the oceanfront pavilion, indulge in a traditional copper bath at sunset and enjoy unlimited wellness rituals during their stay at Thanda’s very own Island spa
The private island hosts a five-bedroom beach villa and two traditional Tanzanian beach cottages, known as Bandas, and is one of the few places on earth where anything is truly possible. The warm community of staff make guests fall in love with the destination while organising a bespoke itinerary of thrilling, once in a lifetime experiences to be enjoyed in complete privacy at this secluded, adventurous paradise.
Rates start from $33,000 (approx. £28,000 per night) per night. Minimum stay five nights. For more information, visit thandaisland.com