Exploring Thanda Island – The Maldives of Africa

If you are looking for a holiday experience that is private and luxurious, and is not overcrowded with tourists, Thanda Island is just what you are looking for. Described by many as the ‘Maldives of Africa’ thanks to its crystal-clear waters, exotic fish and the fact that you’re able to dive into the ocean from your bedroom terrace; Thanda Island is every bit of a dream destination, and luckily one that is still fairly undiscovered. Whether it be for a honeymoon for two or a holiday experience with a group of family or friends you will not be disappointed – especially since it’s a private island and therefore ultra-exclusive; surrounded by untouched natural beauty, with amenities and activities that are nothing short of extraordinary.

Where and what does Thanda Island have to offer?

Thanda Island is situated off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. The Island was started with a dream to find a remote, uninhabited tropical island that was small and intimate and perfect for anyone wanting to catch a break in the lap of luxury. The Island is just that. It is known to be one of the world’s most exclusive luxury private island resorts where you get to enjoy “alone” time in absolute privacy with friends, family or just a couple wanting to spend time together. This private sanctuary offers a single luxurious villa and two traditional bandas, which are beach chalets which can accommodate your friends or family.

The villa

The villa is a tranquil beach house kitted out with all the amenities you need to feel like you’re at home. Expect comfortable sleeping and living areas and wraparound dining area with a 180-degree unobstructed view of the ocean – and the greatest surprise of all: the indoor aquarium, glass rim-flow swimming pool, air-conditioned gym, a choice of musical instruments, an impressive wine collection and a library. There are five en-suite bedrooms, comfortable king size beds with each bedroom fitted with air-conditioning systems.

Thrilling adventure experiences

As Thanda Island is positioned in its own marine reserve, you can swim with whale sharks known as the gentle giants of the ocean; dive into the largest marine protected reserve, ride on a traditional Arab dhow, have a massage or copper bath on the beach, enjoy a classic yacht cruise or indulge in an Arabian or Swahili feast on the beach or at the villa and get to experience sea turtles nesting and so much more.

Here are just some of the adventures you can experience at Thanda Island:


Whether you are an experienced scuba diver, or you would like to learn to scuba dive, this can be arranged for you. Dives are done in the Mafia Island Marine Park from traditional Arab dhow. This is the largest marine protected area in the Indian Ocean. You will be intrigued by the diversity of coral reefs, five species of turtles and 400 species of enchanting reef fish.


Thanda Island has a resident snorkeling guide who’ll happily take you on different snorkeling adventures around the Island, of which there are about seven. This is an experience that can be enjoyed by all, young or old. When snorkeling you will see plenty of beautiful marine species, including reef needlefish, jewel damselfish, cornet fish, trumpet fish, threespot dascyllus, blue spotted stingray, cleaner wrasse and goldbar wrasse and often the marine turtles can be spotted while snorkeling.


They say swimming with Whale Sharks can be one of the most spectacular and emotional ocean wonders you could ever wish to experience. Whale sharks can grow to about 18 meters but are not at all dangerous which is why they’re called the ‘gentle giants’ of the ocean. They are the largest fish in the world and categorised by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction. One is privileged to be able to swim with these magnificent creatures up close and personal. You can either view them from the vessel or you can swim with them. A good time of year to experience them feeding just off the south of the Island would be from October to March.


Cruise around Thanda Island and the surrounding islands in Thanda’s boat, beautifully appointed with a luxurious cabin, cocktail bar, dedicated waiter and a music system with a wide range of song choice. Sip on champagne and enjoy Island delicacies as you explore the magnificent marine reserves.

How to get to Thanda Island

Guests fly directly to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam with South African Airways, Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines or Etihad Airlines.

On landing at Dar es Salaam, the Thanda Island team will meet you and accompany you through customs, ensuring a quick and seamless entry into the country. You will board an 8 or 4-seater helicopter and within 45 minutes you’ll step foot on the beautiful Thanda Island. Alternatively, there are domestic carriers who fly the 30-minute route to Mafia Island 1.6km tar runway, where the Thanda team will greet you and transfer you to the Island by boat.

Best time of year to visit

  • The surfing season is from March to October.
  • The best visibility for diving is from December to March.
  • The best time to swim with whale sharks and manta rays is during May.
  • The peak holiday season is from December to March.
  • The peak honeymoon season is from November to April.

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