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Tanzania / Thanda Island

Starting life as a place to bring the owners’ brood together, this speck of private land in Tanzania’s Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve is eager to welcome every branch of the family tree.

After arriving, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk around the entire circumference of silvery sand and realise that everything you lay eyes on is yours. Meaning “love” in Zulu, Thanda Island is the castaway cousin of the Olofsson family’s first African safari endeavour. Designed to leave absolutely no impact if it were to be dismantled, the main villa – all structured white beams and tapered roofs – compliments the curves of the island’s lush greenery with its New England look, while the two Tanzanian Bandas tempt as cool hangout spots.

For such a remote location, everything is taken care of to levels that could arguably surpass some of the best and easily accessible resorts. Food options go from breakfast in the dining room with 180 degree views to picnics on isolated sand banks; while beachy strolls come upon staff wandering the waters to harvest the freshest oysters to serve with champagne or setting up a deep copper bathtub on the sand. There’s also no fear of boredom creeping in. The place is packed with water sports gear (we highly recommend diving to spot the whale sharks or exploring the surrounding coral reef), everyone gets hands-on to make pizzas in the outdoor oven, and bibliophiles are in Hemingway-heaven with the extensive collection of the authors’ works in the library.

Travel notes:

  • Private villa with 5 suites; 2 Tanzanian Bandas (Tanzanian bungalows)
  • Sleeps up to 18 people with additional room for tiny-travellers upon request
  • On-island wellness specialist to lead yoga and reiki sessions in the outdoor sala
  • Dining is a treat of Tanzanian cuisine while Swahili-influenced feasts are served in the Arabian Bedouin tent
  • Kitted out even further, a beach house, aquarium, grand piano, wine collection, gym, tennis courts, party pavilion, heli-pad and a superyacht are all on-island
  • Thanda Island partners with Tanzanian Marine Parks on a range of conservation programmes as well as getting involved with the local community; it also has its own solar grid and desalination plant making it a very eco-friendly option

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When is the best time to visit Tanzania?

Tanzania’s dry season is from June to October, with the short rains expected in November/December and the long rains from March to May. The migration follows the rains in a clockwise route through the Serengeti – from January to March the herds are mainly in the grassy south, calving in February before migrating north from April, traversing the Western Corridor and Grumeti Reserve throughout May, June and July, heading towards Kenya and the northern Serengeti. They return south again from November.

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