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Published: April 22nd 2011
Back on the road, after the North of Pemba, time to head to the Fundu Lagoon located in the South of the Island for some Robinson Crusoe experience!
The Fundu Lagoon is a very special place, awarded best beach safari in Africa, a place to dream of pirates and treasure, and castaways while enjoying the surrounding nature & pristine silky beach. But just like a hidden jewel, the journey to this piece of Paradise isn’t quite an easy one and this even more in our case as we were coming from the exact opposite! From North to South, we were on for a three hours drive across the island (from airport, it takes about one hour) & as the resort is only accessible by boat although still located on the Pemba peninsula, an additional 25 mn by speed boat.
The drive across the island offers stunning panoramas & as you reach the southern part of the island you discover a variety of tropical fruits and trees, as well as endless clove plantations.
The boat ride offers you a nice glimpse into the mangroves which are literally covering this part of the coastline (hence the fact that you can only
reach the resort by boat…).
Fundu Lagoon, a luxury retreat far from everything!
The arrival to the Fundu Lagoon is one that you don’t forget as if it wasn’t for the wooden pier you would simply not notice that the forest is hiding a resort.
As we disembarked, the manager of the resort welcomed us with some much appreciated cinnamon based cocktails & then escorted us to the resort and our tented bungalow overlooking the forest & the endless sea.
The whole resort has been thought of in a designer way with much attention to the decoration while giving a large space to the nature. As a matter of fact, the resort has been built to do only one with the nature from the materials used to its actual layout.
Our tented room was set under a makuti roof on a wooden deck & we quickly found out that the only neighbor we had was a whole family of monkeys who turned out to be quite playful.
Late arrival at the resort so except enjoying the infinity swimming pool on the hillside overlooking the sea, a tropical fruit based cocktail on hand, followed by a chilled glass
of white wine at the jetty bar to enjoy the sunset we didn’t do much on our first day!
Food wise, it is been a real pleasure for the senses with refined yet simple meals using the best products the island has to offer.
Time for some action, starting with some diving!
The Misali Island an idyllic sand atoll surrounded by some of the best diving on the East African coast lies only at 20mn by speed boat from the resort & this was precisely one of the reason why I picked this resort…Going to Pemba without diving at Misali was simply not an option. So the next morning, I was on for some diving and the least to say was that the site was very quiet, there was absolutely no one so I had the whole place for myself and the dive instructor accompanying me, really felt like we were exploring some virgin reef!
The area around Misali, has over 320 coral species – more than twice the number of anywhere else in the region & a visibility in average around 30 meters so the least to say is that all the elements are
Fundu Lagoon, Pemba
put together for some really good diving!
This is definitely together with Indonesia the place where I got to see the most exquisite and varied corals, to name a few only…Rose, lettuce, table, barrels, bubble corals but as well huge gorgonian sea fans & a sea life that simply doesn’t stop! School of reef fishes pretty much everywhere you look, lots of different type of leaf fish, a razor fish (a first for me…), huge napoleon wrasse, plenty of blue-striped fusiliers & unicorn fish, a sandy bottom with a eel garden… And the list could goes on and on…Ended up once more with a 60mn dive…
Meeting with locals & exploring nearby ruins set among the jungle
Jambangome, one of the most influent 19th Century settlements on Pemba & its ancient capital is now reduced to a few ruins overgrown with tree roots. The nature has clearly taken over the site and not much (if not nothing at all) has been done to protect the site which was left as it is. This natural evolution with the nature taking back the space once occupied by settlers makes the place interesting although more for the nature than for
"stereo" having fun!
Going through local village
Most importantly what made this outing really interesting was the knowledge of our guide about plants and trees, some of them I had never seen before such as the cinnamon tree or the Usimguse plant also called “touch me not” a tiny plant which close up if touched and then slowly opens back.
We then walked back through one of the local village which we had crossed on the way in and yes the whole way we had two joyful kids who simply followed us, singing &miming instrument playing. By the time we stopped for a short while in the village it was a full crowd of kids who was surrounding us, slightly intimidated by those two blond ladies and then clearly curious the moment we started to show some pictures. A great moment simply sharing some fun with local kids without anyone asking for money in exchange as it is unfortunately very often the case around Africa or other places…
Not done with Pemba water yet…off we go for some kayaking in the mangroves
Kayaking has always been my favorite way to explore mangroves, gently gliding over the water among the trees and
simply enjoying the surrounding nature.
As the sun was starting to go down, colors on the river were changing fast and birds started to come out, not good at remembering species but the silence together with the diversity of birds and surrounding lush mangroves was the perfect recipe for a late afternoon outdoor trip.
Our two guides watched us from far away on their speedboat until it was really time to go back to the resort, then the message was clear! They approached us with the boat, engine on asking how we were doing…mmm very diplomatic but effective way to say time to go back!
Last day on Pemba…more chill out time & great spa
The last day on Pemba was enjoyed doing pretty much nothing, chill out by the pool and fantastic spa, nice lunch and time to head back to the airport to catch a plane to Stone town in Zanzibar main island for our last day in the Zanzibar archipelago.
Truly felt refreshed & rested even though it had been quite a journey to get there and go back and since can only recommend the place to anyone who wishes to rest far from
Our tented room
Fundu Lagoon, Pemba
everything…Pemba is clearly a perfect hide out!
To see the first part of our trip on Pemba...Pemba Island, we have reached Paradise!!
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