the eco-friendly private island of your wildest dreams

(Thanda Island)

Since Daniel Dafoe wrote Robinson Crusoeadventurous souls – or just sick of Zoom calls – have dreamed of escaping to a tropical island.

In this fantasy, palm trees flutter over turquoise waters, the sun is always shining, and you can walk barefoot across sandy coves in less than twenty minutes. Oh – and the loneliness. This is very important. In 2023, when even the smallest islands are filled with AirBnb listings, it may seem like a dream lost in another century. But before you give up, consider award-winning – and frankly, jaw-dropping – Thanda Island.

Thanda Island, Tanzania (Fox Communications)

Thanda Island, Tanzania (Fox Communications)

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, an hour by helicopter from Tanzania, this 350m private luxury resort has just a handful of rooms.

For a pretty penny, it’ll let you fulfill every Crusoe fantasy you have, with a few crucial differences: the attention of a small, brilliant crew, and some of the best food you can eat anywhere in the world (without needing to get it yourself ).

Where is it?

Reachable by speedboat or helicopter from mainland Tanzania, you’ll be able to spot whale sharks and dolphins on the way to this tiny island that suddenly appears on the blue horizon.

It’s hard to believe the whole thing isn’t a mirage until you finally set foot on Thanda’s shores. Nearby Mafia Island, where the hotel sources much of its fresh produce (not to mention its wonderful staff), offers a glimpse into authentic village life in this part of the world, while a little further afield you’ll find the magical city of Zanzibar with its rich history and nightlife.

    (Fox Communications)

(Fox Communications)


With such an incredible setting, there’s no need for ostentatious decorations. Instead, Thanda’s main villa is of a simple plantation design, with a wooden verandah alfresco dining area and a glass-edged heated infinity pool as the center piece (the perfect place to watch a melting sunset). slowly). The family room – and a trip to Thanda truly feels like staying with the most relaxed family in the world – offers plenty of space to curl up and read or play one of the many musical instruments around. But really, who wants to stay indoors?

Private Dinners on a Private Island (Thanda Island)

Private Dinners on a Private Island (Thanda Island)


It’s amazing what Thanda packs into such a small space. You’ll find a good-sized gym, tennis and volleyball courts, a media room for movie nights (which can also be set up on a projector on the beach outside), a world-class spa, and yoga, reiki, and meditation classes – all available on any schedule please. There’s also a range of water activities, as you’d expect from a luxury island, including paddleboarding, jet skis, kayaks, sailboats, and the chance to swim with the area’s signature whale fish (they’re the with big mouths).

Thanda doubles as one of East Africa’s largest marine reserves, so you can get out and help the crew in their effort to replant the coral around the now protected seabed. Thanda’s small crew, led by the brilliant General Manager Antigone, are the island’s dedicated guardians and their passion shows in everything they do. You leave with the feeling that you have visited a home, not a hotel.

Food beverage

The food on Thanda is not like the usual luxury hotel experience of ordering fine dining from a leather-bound menu. Instead, a consultation takes place before your visit and a menu is created each day to suit your tastes and your party. The ingredients are either grown on the island or sourced from a larger one nearby, and it’s all complemented by a superb on-site wine cellar (definitely the place to hide out in case of a storm).

Chef Ulrich Philander is the young superstar in charge of the kitchen, and his dishes – which, as one might expect, veer towards seafood – walk a perfect line between experimental and satisfying. Elsewhere, breakfast is a feast of pastries, meats and cheeses and you can mix things up with a traditional Swahili feast of curry dishes and even a night out around the outdoor pizza oven.

Gorgeous accommodation is on Thanda Island (Fox Communications)

Gorgeous accommodation is on Thanda Island (Fox Communications)

Which room?

There are five suites branching off the central Thanda villa, each spacious and tastefully decorated with a Scandinavian flair (the resort’s owners are Swedish). You’ll find simple yet luxurious four-poster beds and seating areas, as well as open-air showers and bathrooms. But our choice of where to sleep is hidden on the other side of the island. Two traditional wooden Tanzanian bandas overlook the northern bay and feel completely secluded from the main villa. Much of the furniture inside was made from wood from trees right there on the island, giving the bandas a rustic feel. Not that they compromise on luxury – the huge bathrooms take care of that.

A double room on Thanda Island (Thanda Island)

A double room on Thanda Island (Thanda Island)

The best for…

There’s no ignoring the fact that Thanda is expensive – that’s renting a private island for you – but if you have the means, it’s hard to imagine a more magical place to spend time with family or close friends.


Thanda Island starts at $25,000 a night, five night minimum stay. Includes all food, services, activities, and transportation to and from the island;

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