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The spice islands of Zanzibar – Part 2

The spice islands of Zanzibar – Part 2

In our last eco-travel blog, blogger Lucy Fry featured the White Sands Luxury Villas & Spa in Paje, Zanzibar. Today she tantalises your ‘travel taste-buds’ further with another profile of a tropical haven in Zanzibar: the Michamvi Sunset resort.

Situated on the western tip of the east coast of Zanzibar, Michamvi Sunset is just 20 minutes’ drive from Paje and approximately 75 minutes from Zanzibar airport, in an area called Michamvi Kae. Built seven years ago, it was designed in the shape of a semi-circle so that all rooms – which thatching and beautiful balconies with balustrades – offer views of the swimming pool and ocean.

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It would be understandable for the management to try and cram more people into this beach idyll but thankfully they’ve decided to keep Michamvi spacious and peaceful with just 20 rooms. If you want a party atmosphere, this is perhaps not the place for you, as the epic sunsets are best enjoyed in semi-silence, along with a cocktail of course.

Manager and co-owner Bradley Cousens says: “There are two hotels that get the sunset on the whole of the east coast, and one of those is us. It’s also one of the most remote places on the island – the furthest you can get to from the airport.”

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Beyond the aesthetic beauty of the place is also an impressive desire among Michamvi’s ownership and management to make a positive difference in the local community and to look after the environment. Regular donations are made to Michamvi school, all resort waste is recycled, locally-sourced material is used for much of the resort décor, and half of the staff come from the local village while the other half are Zanzibarian or Tanzanian. Villagers are also hired to supply food to the Michamvi kitchen wherever possible so that they can receive a cut of the fee and all boat trip guides used are local.

Bradley has plans to further the sustainability of the resort: “I think going forward we have to be more socially responsible and eco-friendly or you’ll be left behind. So solar power, waste water recycling and things like that are long-term goals. I’d like to be more off the grid in terms of water and electricity and I want to leave a legacy more than I want to make big money.”

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Not every venture has worked but Bradley and his team aren’t giving up. “Some of the social projects that we tried, like a vegetable growing project for the village where we bought seeds and implements and promised to buy back, didn’t work,” he says. “We did English lessons in the school for three terms in the village, with mixed results. But that’s ok. I’m just focusing on different social projects now instead.”

To watch a video about those projects, visit the homepage of the resort’s website and click on ‘Making a Difference’: www.michamvi.com/

Rooms start from $320 per double room, dinner bed and breakfast: bookings@michamvi.com.

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