Fundu Lagoon is a small, private hotel located on a beautiful mangrove fringed beach on the south western shores of Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar ‘Spice Island’ archipelago.
Pemba lies to the north of its larger and better known sister island, Unguja, and here you will find natural peace and tranquility. Remote and private, Fundu Lagoon is situated by a sandy beach in the liminal fringes where jungle meets the ocean and is only accessible by boat.
The hotel has a range of twelve private hillside and beachfront suites as well as wonderful communal spaces that include four bars, a jetty, fusion spa, a stunning infinity pool, five-star dive facilities and a spacious open sided restaurant serving a wide range of delicious cuisine.
Fundu Lagoon combines luxury alongside a distinctly Robinson Crusoe atmosphere. Pemba Island remains largely undeveloped and lives up to its ‘Spice Island’ nickname with the scent of cloves perfuming the air.
Bush babies, flying foxes and vervet monkeys all call Pemba home while in the ocean, dolphins, tuna and a magical underwater world of coral reefs and steep ocean drop offs enchant and amaze.
Fundu Lagoon is a consistent winner of the Good Safari Guide ‘Best Marine Safari’ Award and it smoothly continues the holiday experience for guests who arrive from a Tanzanian safari.
It is an ideal destination for friends, couples and families who are seeking a place to genuinely unwind and switch off in romantic and peaceful surroundings.
Because of Fundu’s remote location, all meals and soft drinks are included in the published price and it should be noted that the hotel is not suitable for children under the age of twelve.
Fundu Lagoon’s thatched roofs shade and shelter luxury tented accommodation. The resort layout flows along the contours where the jungle hillside meets the shoreline, making the most of the natural environment to give each room a tremendous sense of privacy alongside stunning ocean views.
All of Fundu’s rooms have their own terraces furnished with sun loungers while suites have private plunge pools, chill out areas and wide decking. Wherever you choose to stay at Fundu Lagoon it will be easy to believe you have discovered your own secret island hideaway.
All the spacious tented rooms have ocean views, romantic thatched roofs and discrete privacy with wide open spaces. Our hill side accommodation enjoys fantastic views of the Indian Ocean as well as a cooling night-time breeze.
The beach front accommodation is shaded by tropical trees and shrubs. The sandy white beach is on your doorstep and the noise of the ocean will lull you to sleep. All our rooms can be furnished with double or twin beds.
The Superior suites can accommodate two additional beds if required. We offer free Wi-Fi to all our guests in the main reception area. Fundu Lagoon is not suitable for children under 12 years of age.
Fundu Lagoon offers plenty of opportunity for you to relax and feel pampered during your stay. There are four bars, each reflecting different aspects of the hotel’s locations, shoreline, poolside, jetty and restaurant bar.
The spacious open-sided restaurant serves excellent international and Swahili cuisine and, higher up on the hillside, the stunning infinity pool provides far-reaching treetop views over the Indian Ocean.
Next to the pool the hotel spa offers a wide range of treatments whilst Fundu Lagoon’s dedicated Dive Centre near the jetty and main reception area is ready to provide everything required to explore Pemba Island’s vast ocean surroundings.
Dining & Bars
Fundu offers some of the best cuisine in East Africa, reflecting the cultural heritage of Zanzibar to create a fusion of Arabic, Indian, Swahili and Colonial influences. A daily fisherman’s catch and tropical fruits add an exotic twist to familiar international dishes.
Fundu Lagoon’s chefs provide delicious picnics for excursions and private dining can also be arranged for special celebrations with your own personal chef and waiter. There are regular beach barbecues as well as feasts of Swahili cuisine and music.
Three course meals are served for lunch and dinner in the main restaurant, a beautiful cool space that is shaded by the soaring ceiling of Makati thatch and left open sided allowing all tables to benefit from the fantastic ocean views.
Fundu Lagoon’s four bars serve a range of fresh juices, wines, beers, and cocktails. The Jetty Bar is a favourite place to lounge and watch the fisherman and dhow boats passing by during the day or to enjoy the sunset views.
Meanwhile the main bar, situated in the hub of the hotel, is a relaxing place for a post dinner nightcap. The poolside and beach bars serve cooling drinks and light snacks throughout the day.
All meals and soft drinks, beers and a daily bottle of house wine are included in Fundu’s hospitality. Additional premium spirits and wines are also available upon request.
Fundu Fusion Spa embraces the ancient healing philosophies of African and Asian culture. Our intimate spa is dedicated to revitalizing mind, body and spirit thus leaving you perfectly refreshed and relaxed.
We use our own blended infusions, capturing the unique magic of Pemba Island and the foundation for healing essential oils – heavenly florals, precious woods, exotic spices and succulent citruses to nurture, sooth, balance, clarify and enhance. Fundu Fusion Spa treatments include:
- Shaitsu and Thai massages
- Aromatherapy massages
- Mango and brown sugar body scrub
- Cinnamon body scrub
- After sun treatments
- Fundu Natural facials
- Hopi ear candling
- Manicures and pedicures
- Waxing and threading
Fundu’s softly curved infinity pool is set on the hillside above the hotel. Fringed by forest and offering panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, the pool and its natural surroundings offer a relaxing and secluded hillside oasis that, because of its elevated position, is lapped by soothing sea breezes.
The poolside bar staff serve cooling drinks and light snacks throughout the day and the restful Fundu Lagoon Spa is situated just next door.
Fundu Lagoon is a diver’s paradise and hosts its own five star PADI dive centre offering courses as well as everything that more experienced divers might need.
The water around Pemba includes a stunning range of pristine sites, from turquoise shallows to hundred meter coral drop offs and the island’s remote location means that you can have the entire ocean to yourself when you go out to explore Pemba’s hidden underwater treasures.
Our in-house PADI 5 Star Dive Resort is managed by a friendly and experienced team. We excel in providing travelling scuba divers with memorable diving experiences from Fundu’s own fully equipped dive facility, Dive 710.
The emphasis is on getting the most out of the sport whilst retaining respect for diver safety and the environment. We offer beginner courses, advanced instruction and guided day or night dives and provide all of the equipment required.
Pemba’s tranquil surroundings have a unique underwater experience, difficult to find anywhere else in the world, gifted with a remarkable variety of untouched snorkelling & diving sites rarely visited by any other boats.
Regular sightings of schooling barracuda, giant trevallies, napoleon wrasse, huge groupers, turtles, blue-spotted, blotched fantail eagle, and manta rays as well as thousands of reef fish.
The waters around Misali contain more than twice the number of coral genera than are found elsewhere in Tanzania, often seen are beautiful gorgonian sea fans and giant sponges amongst fields of ancient cabbage corals and over 300 species of fish.
Average visibility ranges from 20 to 40 meters, peaking from October to March, when the sea conditions are calmest. The water temperature is a warm 27 to 28°C and the dive centre is stocked with the appropriate 3mm full-length wetsuits as well as Scuba-Pro and Aqualung equipment.
To dive with us you will be required to have travel insurance that covers scuba diving. Alternatively dive insurance can be bought locally from the Divers Alert Network (DAN). Also, on the medical advice of the DAN organization we do not allow guests to dive if they are using Larium as an anti-malarial.
The tiny villages of Pemba have had little impact on the coastal waters surrounding the island. The area is typified by turquoise shallows and plunging coral walls that can drop to depths of over 100 meters. Visibility averages between twenty and forty meters.
Water temperatures are between 27C and 28C, dropping to 25C in the winter. These waters are home for thousands of brightly coloured reef fish and the large pelagic fish that hunt amongst them. Napoleon Wrasse swim side by side with tuna, jacks, wahoo and shoals of barracuda.
Manta and eagle rays frequent the area. Hawksbill and green turtles swim, rest and eat on the reefs. Garden eels, star fish, molluscs and crustaceans are all at home in the vibrant surroundings of corals and sponges. All the photos in our dive gallery were taken at Fundu Lagoon.
Pemba is indeed an underwater naturalist’s dream and opportunity to discover the real meaning of marine paradise. It is well known for the untouched pristine diversity of dense corals and formations of every description.
Most of our dive sites are wall dives. At present, the West and South coast of the Pemba Island has been explored more often than East coast because it is close and easily accessible to the mainland.
The East coast also forms the leeward side during the monsoon, making diving conditions on West side of Pemba more favoured year round. From October through March you can also dive and explore the southern part of the Island.
The name Misali is a Swahili word meaning ‘praying mat’. The beautiful beach of the island faces Mecca which is the direction Muslims face when they pray so that is why it is named Misali. Misali Island is the nearest dive and snorkelling spot from Fundu lagoon.
It takes about 15-20 minutes on our speed boats. The first and the last impression of this island is the colour of the water, which ranges from a vivid turquoise in the shallows to deep indigo blue where land falls away.
The reef slopes right from the beach at Misali with calm and extremely clear waters so snorkelers can enjoy their time in the natural aquarium at their own pace. Low tide is the best time for snorkelers as you will be closer to the reef but at high tide you will still only be hovering 5m above.
Based on submarine eminence, it is not a mountain as such, but a wall that rises from 80m to 5m. The wall slopes gently down to 20m then it steeps off to un-diveable depths and the waters stay deep and dark blue.
The whole wall is covered by a pristine diversity of corals mainly table corals and cabbage, or rose corals where there are shoals of fusiliers, unicorn fish, pullers, cave cleaners. Giant triggerfish are spotted here, potato groupers hiding under small overhangs.
Green and hawksbill turtles are also spotted. Because the reef is so pristine, it becomes the home of small, unusual marine life like leaf fish, mantis shrimps, cleaning shrimps and nudibranchs.
Look in blue for big marine life like massive napoleon wrasse, blue fin trevally and on sandy area we spot kuhls stingrays and torpedo rays. Rainbow runners and king fish are also spotted here as well as hump head parrotfish.
Look under table corals for puffer fish and scorpion fish, lionfish and many more. The site is suitable for beginners and experienced divers. We do experience current but most of the time is easy current. It is best to dive in incoming tide for better visibility.
Coral Garden is located at the southern end of coral mountain reef where the shallows are very beautiful and covered with hard corals. It can be good for snorkelers too as the depth ranges from 4m to 20m. It is a good introduction to wall diving and is great for beginners and experienced divers. Coral Garden flourishes a remarkable abundance of marine life like schools of surgeon fish, many lines snappers, black snappers, hump head snappers, moray eels, long spiny lobsters, octopus, sting rays, nudibranch, fusiliers and many more.
Mapinsuzi is a Swahili name meaning revolution; the reason behind this name is that the current on this particular site is unpredictable and is generally strong. Depending on the tide and the moon, it is best to dive in coming tides.
The stronger the current the bigger the chance to see big marine life. The top of the wall is 8m – 10m, and then a near vertical wall slopes down to around 40m – 50m. This point is on the outside edge and can be used if the water drifts into the gap.
Usually strong currents can be pushing into the wall. It is recommended for experienced advanced divers because the current is unpredictable. Look for giant groupers, shoals of barracuda, mobula rays, eagle rays, big eye trevally, huge napoleon fish and sometimes hump head parrotfish.
Wowowo Reef / Utalimani Wall
This is yet another wall dive falling between 6m – 30m. You will see large gorgonians and fans, whip corals decorating its cliffs, schools of black snappers and black spotted snapper, sweet lips and coral pinnacles an undulating bottom with sandy gullies and green tree like hard corals which attract smaller fish to hover on.
Uvinje Gap is a wall dive inside the channel where the top of the reef is 6m – 10m and it slopes down to 35m. The coral formation of this reef is excellent and is in good condition with a tremendous variety including very large sheets of table corals.
The main feature is its fascinating overhangs and host of fish like butterfly fish, triggerfish. The shallow teem with impressive coral heads which are richly inhabited with swarming reef life and covered with colourful sponges and other forms of invertebrate life.
You might see turtles and eagle rays hovering around. It is good for both experienced and non-experienced divers.
Uvinje Outside Wall
This is a small point on an extensive site. Depending on current direction, you can adjust the drop point accordingly. The top of the wall is 6m and it slopes down to 45m. Huge napoleon fish, eagle rays, and blotched fantail ray are normally spotted here.
Fundu Gap South
Fundu Gap South is better with the current on an incoming tide and starting on the outside of the gap. The top of the reef is 8mtrs below the surface. The wall goes below 30m and as you drift in a northerly current nearer to the gap, the sandy bottom joins the wall and drops dramatically down to below 80m.
The wall is a sheer even overhang on the corner before you enter the gap. Most of the activity is usually found on the corner. Alternatively you can begin on a point inside the gap and drift out with the current.
Inside the gap is more of sandy slope that full with corals and rock, and it becomes more vertical as you drift out. Visibility can be poor in outgoing current. Dense masses of yellow or black spot snapper, sweetlips, and damselfish, napoleon wrasse giant trigger fish, red gorgonian sea fan are found here too.
Njao Gap South Wall
Another vertical wall, forming some overhangs, amazing gorgonian sea fans, eels, turtles, groupers, wrasses, and other concentration of fish. Begin outside the gap and drift northwards and inside.
Njao Gap North
It is another interesting and dramatic dive site. The lovely coral garden slopes from 5m to 18m and suddenly plummets down into un-diveable depths.
The current can be strong here and allows divers to use the northbound current to sweep them through the gap into the lagoon, with no risk whatsoever. Large napoleon wrasse, green turtle and dense of diversity other species of reef fish.
The underwater mountain is nice to dive on an incoming tide. The top of the reef is about 8m to 12m down and is about 40m long and 15m across. On its eastern flank, it drops down to 25m before the bottom rises up again to form the wall that is fringing with reef.
North and south, the reef drops down to below 60m, the west side drops more steeply and is covered with corals. You may be lucky enough to see eagle rays and devil rays at this spot.
Emerald Island is covered by a green coral, sponges, soft and hard corals which lends an intense hue of the entire reef and creates the illusion of floating in a fairy-tale garden of dramatic, soft coral trees backed by huge coral heads.
The coral formations are pristine and unspoiled, and the reef lends itself ideally to great drift dives because of its length and immense beauty, coupled with the fact that the water is always crystal clear.
Do not be spoiled by the beauty of the reef scenery as the greatest show may be passing silver barracuda, big eye emperor fish, big eye trevally, Napoleon wrasse, potato groupers. It is good for advanced divers.
Panza Wreck “Paraportiani”
In 1967 the Paraportiani was sunk off Pemba Island, Zanzibar. The 94m cargo ship, transporting wheat from Romania to Jeddah, was diverted around the African coast when the Arab-Israeli conflict closed the Suez canal.
Shortly before the end of the voyage, the ship lost its radar and echo-sounder and ended up navigating by traditional methods in unfamiliar waters. Strong and unpredictable currents forced her onto the reef.
Unlike many other wrecks, this one is extremely photogenic and the clarity of the water and good lighting conditions contribute with interesting angles which are covered with colourful marine growths, soft corals, and sponges.
The funnels create interesting tunnels to swim through, in which large fish such groupers and napoleon wrasse hide. Dive on slack tides and even then you can find strong northerly currents that swirl around the wreck.
Another wall dive of mainly hard coral coming up to the surface on low tides. A strong northerly current is common here, that is good for advanced drift dive. Loads of basslets and barracudas, potato bass, napoleon wrasse and many more.
Tours & Activities
There is plenty to do if you would like to explore all that Pemba Island has to offer and we delight in helping guests discover the island, from easy walks through the neighbouring villages to dolphin safaris there is plenty to inspire and engage all your senses.
The name Pemba translates as “The Green Island” and it has been offering safe haven for spice traders and travellers for more than a thousand years, layering a rich human history alongside the island’s marvellous wildlife.
Snorkelling equipment is available from the dive centre at Fundu Lagoon, however the range of marine life close to the shoreline is limited and we highly recommend a snorkelling tour to the coral reefs off nearby Misali island as the best way to discover the impressive biodiversity in the regions waters.
The best time to enjoy the energy and excitement of the resident dolphin pods is early in the morning when impressive spinner dolphins jump and display. Take the boat out and see who joins you on your trip before returning to the hotel for breakfast.
Explore the best views of the local mangrove forests during the cooler moments of the day. Kayaks are available from the Dive Centre and our team are on hand to give you advice on the best routes to take as you set out to explore for yourself.
Within walking distance of the resort are three traditional local villages. Our staff can show you around the unique clay houses, banana and cassava plantations as well as the local fruit and vegetable plots farmed by families.
Guests are asked to dress modestly when walking outside the resort and to seek permission before taking photos. Donations are best given to the villagers via the collection point in Fundu Lagoon’s reception area.
Tours on Pemba Island
Pemba has a long history and its capital city Chake Chake includes a museum and an old Portuguese fort. Custom-made tours can be arranged to explore the city or alternatively tour across the island to discover the heady atmosphere of spice plantations and visit the diverse nature on the island at Ngezi forest and Kidike where flying foxes abound.
Jambangome ruins & river safari
Cruise up a meandering creek at high tide and walk-through local farmland to find the atmospheric and rarely visited ruins of one of the first settlements on Pemba Island where ornate carvings are being reclaimed and covered by jungle roots and foliage.
Hair & Henna
A traditional ceremonial custom for brides on their wedding day, relax and enjoy the artistry of decorating hands and feet with beautiful henna designs and braiding hair into unique styles.
Sunset Dhow Cruise
Relax with a glass of wine or cold beer and refreshments aboard our traditional dhow as we sail into the sunset with up to 16 guests. Private cruises offer a romantic touch, with a bottle of champagne and fresh canapes.
Private Candlelit Dinner
A romantic evening on the beach with a table for two, personal chef and waiting staff. Those with suites can dine on their deck or on the beach.
Pemba Island Expertise
Fundu Lagoon has been welcoming guests to the west coast of Pemba Island for more than 20 years. Hospitality comes naturally to our staff and their care and experience is the magic that turns a visit to Fundu Lagoon into a restorative and relaxing second island home.
Whether coordinating travel arrangements, planning extra special occasions, or simply providing plenty of space, Fundu Lagoon it a special place to unwind and recharge.
When we first discovered Fundu Lagoon it was simply ocean, beach and pristine jungle. Our aim, as we started to plan the hotel, was to have as little environmental impact as possible on this stunning landscape so we chose to only work with local resources and local craftsmen as we shaped the sandy pathways, sheltering Makuti thatch roofs and deep sea jetty that now add to the style and atmosphere of Fundu Lagoon.
Our first guests arrived in 1999 and many have been returning ever since. Fundu Lagoon has also been at the forefront of developing a sustainable style of eco-tourism that works closely with local communities to promote the conservation and environmental management of Pemba Island’s magnificent island life.
Our aim is to offer guests an unforgettable experience, introducing you to the magnificent white sandy beaches, unspoiled scenery, and colourful people of Pemba Island who we have come to know and love.
We think that our primary hosts are, in reality, the African landscape and the communities that have shaped it so beautifully for many thousands of years, which is why it is important to us that our local communities will always benefit from Fundu Lagoon as well.
We work closely with neighbouring villages, helping to improve facilities for education and health care, including water supply, and finding innovative and sustainable solutions to meet local energy needs to minimise the environmental impact of any development.
Fundu Lagoon is especially proud to be providing the local communities with boat transport when medical emergencies arise. All told, we feel privileged to be part of the Pemba Island community and look forward to welcoming you to this very special part of the world.