the eco-friendly private island of your wildest dreams

(Thanda Island)

Ever since Daniel Dafoe wrote Robinson Crusoeadventurous souls — or just those fed up with 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 around the sandy coves in under twenty minutes. Oh – and loneliness. This is very important. In 2023, when even the smallest islands are littered with AirBnb listings, it can feel like a dream lost in another century. But before you give up, consider the award-winning – and frankly stunning – island of Thanda.

Thanda Island, Tanzania (Fox Communications)

Thanda Island, Tanzania (Fox Communications)

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, an hour’s helicopter ride from Tanzania, this 350-metre-long private luxury resort has just a handful of rooms.

For a pretty penny, you can use it to fulfill any Crusoe fantasy you have, with a few key differences: the attention of a small, brilliant crew, and some of the best food you can eat anywhere in the world (without you catching it must). you yourself).

Where is it?

You can spot whale sharks and dolphins by speedboat or helicopter from mainland Tanzania en route 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. The nearby island of Mafia, where the hotel produces much of its fresh produce (not to mention its wonderful staff), offers a glimpse of authentic village life in this part of the world, while further afield you’ll find the magical city of Zanzibar and its riches history and its nightlife.

    (Fox communication)

(Fox communication)


With such an incredible setting, no flashy decoration is necessary. Instead, Thanda’s main villa has a simple plantation house design, with an alfresco wooden veranda with dining area and a glass-rimmed, heated infinity pool at its center (the perfect place to watch a slowly melting sunset). The family room – and a trip to Thanda really feels like staying with the world’s most laid back family – offers plenty of space to curl up and read or play one of the many musical instruments lying around. But really, who wants to be inside?

Private Dining on a Private Island (Thanda Island)

Private Dining on a Private Island (Thanda Island)


It’s amazing what Thanda packs into such a small space. You’ll find a spacious gym, tennis and volleyball courts, a media room for movie nights (which can also be arranged on a projector out on the beach), a world-class spa, and yoga, reiki, and meditation classes—all available whenever you want. There’s also an array 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 whales (they’re the ones with the big ones). mouths).

Thanda is also one of the largest marine sanctuaries in East Africa, so you can get out there and help the crew in their efforts to replant coral around the now-protected seabed. Thanda’s small crew, led by the brilliant General Manager Antigone, tend the island carefully and their passion shows in everything they do. You leave feeling like you’ve visited a home, not a hotel.

Eat Drink

Dining at Thanda is nothing more than 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 put together each day to suit your taste and that of your group. Ingredients are grown on the island or sourced from a larger one nearby, and it’s all complemented by an excellent on-site wine cellar (certainly the place to hide out in a storm).

Chef Ulrich Philander is the young superstar in charge of the kitchen, and his dishes – which, as you’d expect, lean towards seafood – strike a perfect line between experimental and satisfying. Elsewhere, breakfast is a feast of pastries, meats, and cheeses, and you can combine things with a traditional Swahili feast of curries and even a night by the al fresco pizza oven.

Stunning accommodations are located on Thanda Island (Fox Communications)

Stunning accommodations are located on Thanda Island (Fox Communications)

Which room?

There are five suites branching off from the central villa in Thanda, each spacious and tastefully decorated with a Scandi flourish (the resort is owned by Swedes). Here you’ll find simple but luxurious four-poster beds and seating areas, as well as outdoor showers and bathtubs. But our choice of where to sleep is tucked away 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 is crafted from wood sourced from trees grown right on the island, giving the bandas a rustic feel. They don’t do without luxury: the huge bathrooms make sure of that.

A double room on Thanda Island (Thanda Island)

A double room on Thanda Island (Thanda Island)

Best for…

There’s no getting around the fact that Thanda is expensive – that is, 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 per night, five night minimum stay. Includes all meals, amenities, activities, and island pickup and drop-off;

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