Rarely does a "perfect island get-away" live up to expectations. But Mnemba, just off Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean, certainly does. We loved the people, the food and the wildlife - both above and below the water. It was a great way to relax after being on safari in Tanzania, and to celebrate our 15th Wedding Anniversary, in 2011, in style.
All of the team were fun, friendly and interesting to talk to. Everyone, from the "General Manager" (Mike) to our "Personal Butler" (Raj), was relaxed, and keen to have a laugh, but at the same time they remained professional. Our "Butler" certainly joined in the fun, in a variety of languages, and was happy to joke around when you asked for "just a dash more wine"! He was also the guy who stacked our mini-bar to the brim with Stoney "Tangawizi" when he found out that was our preferred drink in the room (very strong ginger beer).
The team socialised with the guests in the bar every evening, and we saw a lot of the therapist (Solveig) as she did diving with us as well as various treatments - not to mention talking about travelling adventures in the bar! The other guests too were all fun, leading to a great atmosphere - rather like a ski chalet, but without the snow!
The only problem with the food was that it was too good - so you felt you had to eat everything! Breakfast was a superb tray selection of fresh fruit, muesli plus jams, plus you could order anything for cooked breakfast - the French toast was excellent. Lunch was a refreshing cold soup, fish - eg sushi - and then sorbet. The evening meal varied, but you could choose anything you wanted anyway! We ordered prawn curry "off menu" and it was great. A selection of good South African wines was included as well as all drinks/cocktails etc.
The wildlife on the island included over 10,000 visiting doves, a couple of varieties of Duiker, and most amazingly, occasionally scores of newly "hatched" green turtles. Below the water was equally fabulous, both scuba diving and swimming with a dolphin.
The coral sand was unbelievable too. It feels so soft beneath your feet, as it's incredibly fine. Even better, it doesn't get hot in the sun - which is a good thing when it's over 30 degrees outside!
In summary, it is hard to describe how great Mnemba is. One of the diving instructors there (Sarah) told her family by phone that is was "perfect", "a paradise" and "heaven" but when they arrived, they still asked "why didn't you tell us it was so fantastic"!