Fanjove Private Island
Island Banda

Fanjove Private Island

What if we told you: Take off your shoes and learn to live off your own wit and skills!
Ah, we would be joking, but here you could learn how life would be without shoes! Oh, so comfortable! The sun, the crystal blue water, fishes and birds and a whole island to yourself, what else do we need in life?

And here your contribution has allowed us to keep a fantastic 11 km of intact coral reef.

Thousands of migrant birds that rest and feed, green turtles that lay their eggs, hundreds of dolphins that roam the seas as well as humpback whales that pass through in their migrations have given the community an alternative to consumptive utilization of the resources.

Nobody lives on Fanjove, except you and our dedicated staff, as we have rented the whole island from the near-by village of Songosongo and also contribute 3% of our income to the social development of the community. We are proud of our achievement and we want to keep doing better and better and keep the island natural so that we can all learn what life is all about!

You will fly to Songosongo island, and you will be able to explore the community life of the fishermen from the time “long ago”, and then you will have a short boat ride to Fanjove Private Island, accompanied by a pod of Bottle Nosed dolphins, if you are lucky.




Songo Songo Archipelago comprises a group of 5 islands and 20 patches of reefs, 140 kilometres south of Dar es Salaam. Approximately 40 kilometres of fringing reef protects the island and the patch reefs within from the full force of the open ocean. Songo Songo Archipelago is an extensive and varied coral reef habitat, with high coral cover and diversity, and an ecologically important area for nesting sea turtles and marine birds.

Fanjove is one of Songo Songo Archipelago’s Islands, touched by the warm and crystalline Indian Ocean’s waters: with a temperature that ranges between 26°C and 29°C, these waters are perfect habitat for a rich and colourful ecosystem.

Conservation of the reef:

together with the Songo Songo community, Fanjove Island planned a conservation project with a sustainable usage of the marine resources of Fanjove’s reef, in the attempt to reduce invasive fishing methods. Supporting the project of the creation of a BMU , Beach Management Unit, with SongoSongo community we are also raising awareness of alternative economics.

The project of conservation of the reef involves:

- closing of half of the coral reef to any consumptive fishing activities.

- donation of the 3% of our income of Fanjove Private Island to Songo Songo community for social development projects.

Fanjove Lighthouse

The lighthouse on Fanjove Island is one of the rare surviving 19th century buildings erected by the Germans in Tanzania.

Need to Know

Quick recommandation to our Guests:

  • respect the Island wildlife, keeping a distance so as not to disturb;
  • tap water is not drinkable; a flask of drinkable water is provided in the Banda and refilled daily;
  • be sensitive on water consumption;
  • cover against the sun:
  • local hats are provided in the Banda;
  • always have the sun cream with them;
  • we advise to wear a t-shirt or a lycra suit while snorkeling;
  • wear sandals when walking on the Island paths during the hottest time of the day. Be aware of the possible presence of sharp shells or thorns hidden in the sand;
  • be careful to avoid injury when walking in shallow water: in the water in front of the dining area hidden in seaweeds there might be sea-urchins or sharp shelled mussels (called locally pangapanga). We advise to walk just on sandy substratum while in water.

Kaskazi: wind from north - from December to April
Kuzi: wind from south - from June to October

Wildlife HighlightsWildlife Highlights

Diving and snorkeling will let you discover Fanjove underwater wildlife: a life endemic of the eastern Indian Ocean.

Groupers, Snappers, Sweetlips, black Trigger, Butterflyfish, Parrotfish, Unicornfish, Moorish idol, Pufferfish, Angelfish, Clownfish, Scorpionfish, Lionfish and Barracuda. Passage of pelagic is very common to observe.

Hawksbill and Green Turtles are present.

Depending on your luck, a school of a hundred of Spinner dolphins can be spotted in the surroundings of the Island.

But life in Fanjove is not just restricted to the world below the surface:


The Island hosts a small but still vital population of Coconut Crabs, Birgus latro: the biggest terrestrial crab on earth, fascinating for its feeding habit on coconuts. Our aim is to protect them as they disappeared from most of East African Islands due to their conservation being under threat.

Be amazed at night by the crowd of hermit crabs will walk on the island: an alive and mobile collections of shells!!


Weavers, egrets and herons are resident on the island, visible all year around. Egrets and Herons have the exclusive use of a small cliff island north-east: where they nest and spend the night.

For other species Fanjove represents an essential retreat to recover energies during long migrations: some of them will spend few days on it; others, in big numbers, will spend the whole wet season. Seashore birds such as coconut plovers, whimbrels, ruddy turnstones, grey plovers, Terek sandplover (just to mention few) will feed in low tide and will rest on the beach in high tide: we ask you to respect their right to be on the island: a peaceful cohabitation is possible!


An incredible number of butterflies appears magically from January and colours the Island: common diadems, painted ladies, acrea sp., common leopards, yellow pansy, vagrants and orange tips just to mention some.

Seasonal events

Humpback Whales passage: from May to October.

Turtles eggs hatches: they occur between April and July. Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle are both present. Fanjove staff have been trained by SeaSense organization: every nest receives the right protection and data is recorded in order to monitor the condition and development of the eggs (

Since 2012 Fanjove staff recorded more than 600 eggs hatched successfully.

Fanjove’s beaches provide ideal nesting conditions with steeply sloping beaches bordered by grasses and scrub-like vegetation. On other Songo Songo  Archipelago’s islands turtles are no longer nesting due to the presence of permanent settlements.  The conservation of Fanjove as a nesting destination for turtles becomes essential.


Mainly covered by autochthon bushes, the island offers some interesting trees, most of them not indigenous. Some were probably planted centuries ago, for instance the casuarinas, and some arrived to the Island very recently, as the coconut palms. Palms have been planted from 1962 covering the main southern – eastern part of the island, in sandy soil.

The casuarinas were introduced mainly for firewood, other plants were imported for their medical and nourishing use.

Worth mentioning the beautiful Fig, on the path behind the Light House and the mangrove stand in the centre of the Island within a sea water basin connected to the sea by a subterranean tunnel.




Local ActivitiesLocal Activities

Kayak Safari, Snorkeling, Diving, Dhow sailing, Sand bank excursion, Fanjove Island Trail, Bird watching, Fishing, Dolphin excursion. Available Diving and Snorkeling equipment at the lodge.

Kayak Safari and stand up paddle board

Fanjove provides 4 single kayaks with paddles as a way to discover the whole main island, the bird island and the cliff system. We suggest to paddle with medium to high tide and only if guests can swim. We provide 1 stand up paddle board, a good exercise to practice when sea surface is calm.


Relax in Fanjove’s blue waters while watching the marine world pass by. Butterfly fish, Angelfish, Damselfish, and a variety of corals and invertebrates are just off of Fanjove’s doorstep. Guests can go out for a leisurely exploration by themselves or in a small boat and guided to all the secret spots!

Marine life books are provided at the lounge.


We rent BCD, regulator, wetsuites, mask, fins, weights and 12 l aluminum tanks.

Dives are from the boat and there are no deco dives.

Water temperature is 27/29 C and visibility can reach 30 m.

Dive Fanjove in a stunning tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean that is only just being discovered. The perfect marine metropolis where humpback whales migrate, sea turtles lay eggs, and tropical fish dance before you. A great concentration of biodiversity that has yet to be revealed. The reefs show remarkable resistance to global marine threats, and further research and exploration of the area is vital to help replenish the reef and support healthy ecosystems and sustainable fishing practices for the local villages.
Each dive is likely to be at a completely new dive site with sightings of new fish, shark, mammal and invertebrate species on nearly every dive. Varied marine landscapes such as underwater pinnacles and gardens of cabbage coral with 20+ meter visibility make for a rare chance to experience an area that no one has ever explored before.

Sand bank excursion

At low tide we have access to a secluded sand bank that offers snorkeling and chance to have a local lunch with grilled fish prepared privately right in front of you. Relax in the shade and wait for dolphins to come by, or jump in the water to cool off, until the sand bank disappears underwater with the incoming tides. For the lovers of extreme romanticism, nothing is better than waiting sunset with a cold bottle of wine in the middle of the ocean!

Dhow sailing

enjoy the sunset and views of Fanjove from the traditional East Africa coast sailing vessel. A local boat will set sail before sunset and accompanied by locals from the village nearby and one of our waiters, you can enjoy a sundowner while experiencing the timeless beauty of the wooden dhow.

Dolphin excursion

Fanjove is lucky to have different dolphin species as our neighbors. Spend a couple of hours on the boat to try and see either Spinner Dolphins or Bottlenose Dolphins and with any luck guests may be able to briefly swim with them.


guests can their luck at fishing on Fanjove’s reef. With basic fishing equipment they can catch barracuda, jack, or even a kingfish. Fishing is catch and release but if the fish is injured or the lure is stuck we can have our kitchen prepare it the local way using a charcoal grill.

Fanjove Trail

to discover the island, its history & local costumes. Guest could use the Island’s Map to navigate along the Island ‘s paths; for a better understanding a Lodge guide would be happy to share with you his knowledge.

Bird watching: from November to March the island is the destination of migratory birds. Hidden behind the hide at the beach shore, with the help of good binoculars, guests can appreciate the diversity of the other habitants of the island. Inland too the Island can offer good bird sightings, while walking on the Fanjove Trail.











The Banda’s path will lead you to the dining where delicious meals of Fusion Cousine will be served reflecting the multicultural influence from the historical past of the area.

During the day it will be possible to amuse one self with various water activities, including diving in the crystalline water to discover a yet unexplored parad


There are six Eco Bandas, each with an ensuite bathroom open to the sky for hot showers under the stars. The individual Bandas are distributed along the main beach to guarantee privacy, each with a view of the ocean. All have been designed with the environment in mind, specifically to have the lowest impact on the island and are powered singularly by solar power.

We designed a lodge in harmony with the island’s landscape, lounge and dining are almost invisible from the boat on arrival: shaded by the beach palms and built with natural materials they integrates with the background and become part of the Island.
Whenever necessary (for stores, bathrooms and kitchens) we built solid buildings with local traditional materials, sometime recycling them from preexisting ruins: coral rocks (on which the island rocky part is made by) combined with chokaa (lime) and framed by bamboo sticks. Staff quarters have been built following a local design where the entire building is made with palm’s leave that allows breeze to blow through. Local houses in Songosongo are still built following those technics.

We keep as low as possible our impact on the small and delicate ecosystem of Fanjove:
– solar panels provide light in the bandas
– sun power warms shower’s water
– rechargeable batteries are preferred on disposable batteries
– septic tanks have been installed for bio-degradation of waste water
– a waste recycle system is in use
– whenever it is possible, we deliberately try to maintain our policy of buying locally fresh products to both stimulate local economies and reduce fossil fuel consumption necessitated in long distant transportation.
– in order to be as much as possible an auto-sustainable ecosystem, Fanjove island produces a portion of its fresh water reservoir with a desalinator, while a system of gutters and tanks collect rain water during the wet season.



June through March

Average StayAverage Stay

3 nights

Children PolicyChild Policy

We welcome children age 6 and up

Contact and Social Media

To find out more, visit Fanjove Private Island's website.

To find out more call us on +44 (0)1865 982290 or email us at enquiries at

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