Fanjove Island Group Fam Trip

November 2019
Alice Baker

Our Tanzanian journey ended with the jewel in the crown of the Tanzanian coastline... Fanjove Island. I had heard a lot about Fanjove since I joined SWM 6 months ago and so this visit was much anticipated. Getting to Fanjove is all part of the adventure. A 40 minute flight tracing the stunning Tanzanian coast down from Dar to Songo Songo island is followed by a 5 minute tuk tuk ride across the island to a jetty where a beautiful traditional East African sailing dhow is waiting.  The anticipation builds during the 40 minute boat transfer flies by as you can see iconic lighthouse of Fanjove coming into sight.

The accommodation on Fanjove consists of just 6 “bandas” (huts) all made from native, natural materials. With various pulleys and fastenings to open up the windows and doors to capture the breeze, these rustic, chic island homes fit blend in perfectly with their surroundings. With so few people on the island and the bandas so well-spaced apart I chose to keep my door open all night, ensuring a welcome breeze and a spectacular view in the morning.

Following a late lunch of mouthwatering fresh fish and salad, I took the opportunity for a little exercise a went out on a paddle board. The sun was low in the sky and as I paddled around the island on my own, I really felt as though I may be dreaming. This was truly the most beautiful and remote island I'd ever been to. Hakim the activities manager met me on the other side of the island and paddled with me back to the main beach. As paddled alongside each other he told me how he’d travelled around the coast line of East Africa teaching water sports and various hotels and lodges. He had come to Fanjove 6 years before and “got stuck” or in other words never wanted to leave - after only a few hours on the island, I was beginning to think that I could indeed get "stuck" here too!

Island Life

We awoke the following morning to a beautiful bright blue sky, though during breakfast this turned quite windy and wet. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits though and three of us walked around the island at low tide. We explored coves and rock pools and found hundreds of beautifully patterned crabs. When we got back, the rain had let up and we had a delicious lunch and discussed our afternoon activity options.

Beautiful crabs & some sunshine at the end of our walk

Sunset lookouts on the Island Trail

One of the real USPs of Fanjove is that you can snorkel right off the main beach in front of the lighthouse. Walking across powder-white sand into the warm waters we discovered a stunning underwater world just metres from the shore. We explored colourful coral reefs with beautifully patterned fish all around us. We saw and followed a small sea turtle around for a while before the tide came up too far and we made our way back to the shore & were sipping a refreshing fresh coconut minutes later.

Eager to make the most of my time on the island, I walked the island trail just before sunset, stopping at various lookouts on the way. Each lookout provided a completely different viewing point, making this tiny island feel so diverse.

Just as the sun was setting I climbed the iconic 19th century lighthouse. This lighthouse was renovated by the team at SSC and with 360° views of the island, this was certainly the perfect spot for a sundowner.

Views from the lighthouse and a romantic dinner set up for a lucky couple

Our final seafood splendour dinner was held on the beach with our feet in the sand under a blanket of thousands of stars. Sitting listening in hysterics at Emiel's limitless anecdotes of his 24 years at SSC, we all reflected on what special place the SSC properties are. With their heritage and pioneering spirit, incredible off-the-beaten-track locations and amazing staff, they really do offer exceptional experiences. Enjoying this moment whilst sipping my ice cold wine I decided that I, like Hakim, may decide to get 'stuck' here too! 

A stunning departing view