According to Expedia, 2022 is the year of the GOAT, aka the "greatest of all trips." One of their latest surveys revealed that 65% of respondents are planning to ‘go big’ on their next trip. Floating carelessly in the Indian Ocean, 16 nautical miles off the verdant coast of Tanzania, Thanda Island is the world’s only exclusive-use private marine reserve. A bucket-list destination like no other, Thanda Island gives travelers the freedom to discover the natural wonders of East Africa at their own pace, reboot mind and body with indigenous rituals and immersive activities, discover new and ancient flavours and, most importantly, have a positive impact on the community and environment via Thanda Island’s charity Stars for Life Tanzania and partner NGO Sea Sense.
At Thanda Island, guests can benefit from utmost privacy and tranquillity throughout their vacation, have exclusive access to the vast Shungimbili Marine Reserve – home to some of the region’s most fascinating marine life including whale sharks, bottlenose and humpback dolphins and sea turtles – and make the most of the undivided attention of the resident chef, marine biologist, wellness therapists and warm community of staff. Here are five reasons why a vacation to Thanda Island isn’t just a holiday:
1. The World’s Only Exclusive-Use Marine Reserve
Explore a truly unrivaled marine environment, with exclusive access to the abundant Shungimbili Marine Reserve, home to the gentle whale shark, sea turtles, dolphins and dugongs. Upon arrival, guests are introduced to their personal marine biologist, Rianne Laan, who will lead excursions to meet the island’s aquatic inhabitants and take part in conservation and inventory efforts. Thanda Island is partnered with a local scuba diving school, offering the chance to dive deep and discover some of the most spectacular sites off the East African Coast, while closer to the surface, guests can head out on traditional Arab dhows for snorkelling adventures at seven different spots providing sightings of turtles, stingrays, sea horses and more. Most fascinating of all, ethical whale shark excursions allow guests to come face to face with these gentle giants, known to grow up to 18 metres.
2. A Chance to Give Back
Deeply committed to preserving the surrounding environment and uplifting the local community, guests of Thanda Island can balance their private island experience with a number of programs that give back and do good. The Whale Shark Citizen Science Program enables guests to join the island’s marine biologist on an underwater adventure to track the species and collect vital identification data, while there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with coral regeneration projects that help restore the habitat of some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures. Thanda Island also works closely with the Tanzania Marine Parks and Sea Sense NGO to educate the local communities on the importance of sustainable fishing and marine conservation. These partnerships have led to the return of fish in the island’s coral reef and the reappearance of reef herons, as well as sea turtle nesting on the beach. Devoted to giving back to the local community, over 75% of Thanda Island staff are from neighboring Mafia Island, where the owners of Thanda Island support the ‘enterprise and entrepreneur development project’ and more educational projects that inspire kids to reach for their dreams and live a healthy life, through the recently founded NGO, Star for Life Tanzania.
3. Immersive Dining
New for 2022, Thanda Island has launched an exotic vegetable garden, blooming with delicious produce that can be harvested year-round thanks to the tropical climate. The island’s culinary team ethically source the freshest seafood daily, including mangrove crab, tuna and red snapper, which is expertly crafted into carpaccio, sushi, sashimi and a selection of vibrant curries. Dishes such as Samaki wa Kupaka, a Zanzibari white fish and coconut curry, provide a taste of local culture, while traditional Swahili nights immerse guests in the local gastronomy, with a selection of curries, rice dishes, grills and desserts served on the beach under a canopy decorated with typical Afghan rugs, accompanied by Arabian music.
4. Gateway to East Africa
Situated just 35 minutes by helicopter from mainland Tanzania, Thanda Island is at once a secluded haven in the Indian Ocean and the perfect location for discovering the culture and experiences of this incredible part of the world. Guests can take a short trip to Zanzibar to explore the islands’ legendary history as the center of the spice trade and discover the old city of Stone Town, or take an excursion to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s thriving harbor capital, to delve into the culture of the mainland at its bustling markets, and observe its colorful mix of African, Arabic, Indian, British and German architecture. Guests can also embark on a Gorilla trekking adventure thanks to the island’s partnership with andBeyond travel, with a guided hike through the breath-taking Parc Des Volcans National Park providing close encounters with mountain gorillas and beautiful golden monkeys in their natural setting.
5. Space to Reset
At Thanda, guests have access to 5.5 hectares of lush island to recalibrate and reenergize with a number of bespoke wellness experiences. A dedicated wellness specialist is on hand to guide yoga, meditation and reiki practices on the tranquil pavilion, overlooking the azure ocean and backed by the sound of waves lapping the shore, while more active guests can practice their backhand on what is surely the world’s most secluded tennis court. Fancy a game of doubles? The fun-loving team are happy to offer their services as partners or opponents. To soothe any aching limbs, the expert massage team are on hand to provide facials and body treatments in-villa, on the beach or deep in the island’s lush interior, or simply fill up the traditional copper bath on the beach for an indulgent soak that aids skin regeneration.
*source CNBC / Expedia
For further information or to book, please visit www.thandaisland.com