Kilindi – Tropical Island Escape
Located on the north-west coast of Zanzibar, Kilindi is one of the most incredible luxury holiday retreats you will ever have the pleasure of visiting. With its unique Middle Eastern architecture and back-to-nature ambience, you’ll never want to leave!
Kilindi is a honeymoon couples dream. I can assure you, that if you’re looking for the perfect honeymoon destination, this will impress the pants off your new spouse (pun intended)! And if your partner is anything like me (high maintenance and full of shizzle) then best you read on…
When your next milestone birthday is the big 3-0, you either decide to go into hiding and hope no one notices or embrace the oldness and go balls to the wall… and that’s exactly what I did! For years I’ve been begging the hubster to take me away on a romantic tropical island holiday where we do nothing but lie on the beach, drink cocktails, read, snorkel and eat prawns until we start to look like one. I had to wait till I was thirty and dirty, but damn it was so worth it!
The Island of Zanzibar is very rustic, but for us third-world folk it’s nothing out of the ordinary. When we finally landed in Zanzibar (our flights were delayed, which is apparently quite normal), we were greeted by warm humid air, crazy drivers and the smell of traditional Zanzibar spices. It was the perfect time to travel (early July) as the temperatures were bearable (averaging 27°C), humidity low and less crowds! Our taxi ride was approximately 1hr 30min to Kilindi, which the hotel can organise for you at a rate of ($95 one-way). We used a local private taxi, but wouldn’t recommend it if this is your first time travelling to Zanzibar.
We arrived at Kilindi at around 8pm in the evening and were shown to our room. Nestled amongst a tropical garden, these beautifully decorated white-domed private pavilions are bigger than our entire house back in Cape Town! The pavilion is split up into three units, a lounge/chill out area, an open-air bathroom and your bedroom. The bedroom is massive and luxurious, with a bed so big you could do summersaults without waking up your partner!
We acted totally cool as our butler (hello) showed us around the rest of the grounds, but when we got back to our room, we looked at each other, then screamed with excitement and started jumping on the bed like a bunch of girly teens at a Justin Bieber concert!
In the morning we opened up our white wooden-slatted shutters that flows onto a private plunge-pool with uninterrupted views of the sea. Traditional Dhow boats drifted along in the distance while we munched on our tropical fruit breakfast and sipped on our fresh coconut waters. We kind of felt like we were in an episode of Survivor, just a lot more luxurious and way more food!
All of the windows are glassless, so you can feel that ‘cool’ ocean breeze passing through during your afternoon naps. The second pool is perfect for a little sun tan session or a quick dip after a long lazy day at the beach! Sorry, not sure if you got that… you have TWO pools, all to yourself!
There are only about fifteen pavilions in the entire resort, so it’s super intimate and private! You could literally walk around naked for the entire week and no one would ever know… besides your butler, but I don’t think he’d mind. We loved the outdoor bathroom, especially the ‘rainfall’ shower. Even though it’s separate from your room, which takes a little getting used to, especially when you need the loo in the middle of the night! Rest assured there is no reason to be afraid as the only creatures you may bump into are cute little red colobus monkeys or the ridiculously cuddly bush babies, who are so tame that they literally eat from your hand!
Your Butler (ahem!)
On arrival you are appointed a private butler (we squealed with excitement – on the inside, obviously). Our butler was Doudi, who ensured that no request was ever too big or small and of course, in true SA style we put him to the test! Doudi was sensational and went over and above to make our experience extra special!
On my birthday, I woke up to my favourite breakfast; pancakes and fried bananas drenched in Nutella with coconut ice cream on the side! A huge bunch of flowers hand picked by the staff, with handwritten notes (in English) to wish me a Happy Birthday! Doudi even prepared a romantic private dinner on the beach for us, surrounded by lanterns in the shape of a heart with a bonfire on the waters edge. We felt like we were on honeymoon all over again!
South African born head chef, Adriaan and his incredible team, created beautiful traditional dishes from prawns the size of crayfish to homemade coconut ice cream that would put Ben & Jerry’s to shame. It was so good that I requested it for breakfast every morning! We felt like nothing was ever too much effort, being more than happy to adjust and create dishes that weren’t on the menu. What we really loved about Kilindi was that they give you the option to dine anywhere on the property – in your room, at the beach or by the pool. But if you can’t make up your mind, let your butler surprise you!
Their spa offers signature treatments as well as the traditional massages, mani’s and pedi’s. One of my birthday gifts was a full body Swedish massage that was set up for me on the beach under shaded trees with the sound of the sea as my background music! If you’re not too keen on having your treatment on the beach, you can either opt to have it in your room or at the fully equipped spa!
We didn’t do much besides eat, sleep, read and drink, but I suppose that’s why you go on holiday! There are definitely a lot of things to do on the island, surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, the spice tour and so much more, but everything just seemed far too much effort and watching the sunset on our own private beach drinking Dawa’s (local cocktails) were far more appealing! We did go on a snorkeling trip to Mnemba Atoll (it’s a must), possibly the most beautiful Island I’ve ever seen with water so turquoise and crystal clear it looked photoshopped!
Kilindi has created something extremely unique that will transform any ‘dull’ beach holiday into a holiday of a lifetime! We were treated like absolute royalty and spoilt beyond belief and every personal touch, like the flowers on our bed every night made our trip extra special. Sometimes we’d have to pinch ourselves, because we couldn’t believe that us plebs from SA would ever experience something so magical!
Turning thirty wasn’t so bad after all!
We flew from Johannesburg to Zanzibar – most flights go via Dar es Salaam on the following airlines:
We booked our trip through Sun Safari’s a reputable SA based company, specialising in tailored-made African safaris, tours, holidays and honeymoons in Southern and East Africa. They will be able to take care of flights, accommodation and everything in between!
All the rooms are incredible, but if you really want to be picky, opt for the room closest to the beach and not too far from the main pavilion area.
Photo Credit: Wellness in the City | Elewana Collection