One of the few truly private tropical islands in the world will be opening its doors from April 2016. Thanda Island is the magnificent beach residence of the Swedish entrepreneur and philanthropist couple Christin and Dan Olofsson.
Situated within southern Tanzania’s Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, this private island offers absolute exclusivity for families and friends to enjoy on a sole-use basis. It is the sister property to their highly acclaimed and multi-award winning private game reserve, Thanda Safari, in Zululand South Africa, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Off-grid and solar-powered, Thanda Island offers guests an environmentally sensitive, fun and restorative Indian Ocean experience in total seclusion. Comprising an expansive five-bedroom villa featuring an impressive glass rim-flow swimming pool and a huge indoor aquarium to rival its outdoor counterpart, it combines casual beach-house living with outdoor ocean adventures. The villa accommodates 10 adults, with the option of additional children sharing.
Reflecting their own style, the villa has been designed and decorated by Christin and Dan Olofsson personally. A palette of white has been chosen and combined with soft, natural hues and fabrics throughout, complemented by their handpicked pieces of furniture and artwork. Leading straight off from the pristine white sand beach, the fan cooled and air-conditioned suites each feature indoor and outdoor showers. Countless palm trees, indigenous vegetation and bushes have also been planted to enhance the existing beauty of the Island’s flora.
Encouraging guests to slow down and soak up the relaxed tempo of island life, they will enjoy long lunches under the veranda, have fun making pizza in the outdoor oven and laugh late into the starry night around the outdoor cocktail bar. By day, they may choose to laze on the expansive deck that frames the house and the pool or prefer the feel of the squeaky white sand of their own beach between their toes.
Eight hectares in size, 1.1 kilometres in circumference and 350m wide, the Island is surrounded by its own private coral reef, with a 1km exclusive-use zone, which can be explored with a snorkel and mask straight from the beach. Sailing boats, stand-up paddle boards and single as well as double kayaks are all on hand for the active. The more adventurous can catch sight of the whale sharks that congregate just south of the Island from October to February or spot the endangered dugong while scuba diving with qualified instructors. Furthermore, a powerboat zone outside the Marine Park to the south of the Island allows for water skiing, jet-skiing, wake-boarding and tubing. Big game fishing on a 28-foot reef runner cat off Mafia Island is another available activity.
Depending on the season, guests can watch turtles nesting and their eggs hatching. Five species of marine turtles occur in Tanzania’s waters, two of which – green and hawksbill, categorised as endangered by the IUCN – have recently returned to nest on the Island. Guests will also be able to learn about the local Swahili sea-faring culture on nearby Mafia Island and picnic on a neighbouring atoll.
Furthermore, Thanda Island seeks to mirror the conservation and community upliftment successes that Thanda Safari has achieved in South Africa by partnering with the Tanzanian Marine Parks and the leading NGO, Sea Sense, on a range of marine conservation and education programmes in the region. These include research and conservation projects on the sea turtles, dugongs, dolphins, whale sharks, coral reefs and marine reserves. Adding to this, the team is participating in a range of social upliftment programmes on Mafia Island, which has approximately 60,000 people in the communities. This will be in the form of a commitment to the education of young people in sustainable resource utilisation, fish harvesting, marine conservation, and in the development of healthy, sporting activities, such as football.
Exclusive use of Thanda Island is offered at US$10,000 per night, with a minimum stay of 3-7 nights depending on the season. This is an all-inclusive rate that includes the team of dedicated staff, boat transfers from Mafia Island and all the activities offered on the Island, along with all meals and drinks including Thanda’s handpicked selection of wines and champagnes. Spa treatments, diving and exclusive wines and champagnes are extra.