Butiama Beach Lodge
A peaceful tropical island, with kaleidoscopic reefs and giant whale sharks
Butiama Beach Lodge
Time seems to have stood still on Mafia Island, part of a scattered archipelago 160 km south of busy Zanzibar . One of the safest places in the Indian Ocean, this is what Zanzibar was like 30 years ago. Butiama Beach Lodge lies on the island's unspoilt west coast, tucked in a tropical palm grove on a long sandy beach with not another resort, shouting vendor or tourist in sight. All you hear is the whoosh of the ocean and the calls of aquatic birds. Explore the coast in a dhow, see giant whale sharks and watch the scuttling crabs.
At the lodge
The atmosphere is relaxed. Days start in the thatched, open-sided dining area with a full and fabulous breakfast. At lunch, choose something light at the wave-lapped Chiringuito beach bar and restaurant. Three-course dinners are served in the main dining area or by lamplight on the beach. There's a large communal seating area with deep-cushioned sofas; it's a lovely place to relax at night, when the stars and oil lamps provide the only lighting. The main area has wi-fi.
Walkways link the 10 bungalows (including two family bungalows) that lie just 50 metres from the beach. Each is designed with nothing but your comfort in mind. The furniture is hand-crafted from retired dhows, the bed has crisp linen and mosquito nets, the cushions and throws are stitched from kikois – local hand-woven sarongs. The en-suite bathroom has a walk-in shower and colourful soaps handmade from coconut oil, and the veranda has a hammock and comfy seating. There's no aircon, but a yacht fan provides a breeze.
Explore the beachfront and mangroves in a kayak; sail to nearby islands and sand banks in a dhow; snorkel the reef to see its multi-hued corals, 460-plus species of fish and various species of turtles; scuba dive, go fishing or swim with the world’s largest fish; or look for the resident animals and birdlife. Take a Land Rover excursion to explore Mafia’s kilometres of pristine beaches (watch out for sand flies). Return to a massage and a sunset view.