Our Rating
8.0
Overall

Butiama Beach

Zanzibar & Tanzania, Mafia Island

from $ 150 per person sharing

Our Rating
8.0
Overall

Butiama Beach

Zanzibar & Tanzania, Mafia Island

from $ 150 per person sharing

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Our Verdict

Swim with whale sharks, snorkel on coral reefs, picnic on pristine sand banks, or simply relax on the stunning white powder beach in front of Butiama – this gorgeous little beach lodge on unspoiled Mafia Island has jumped straight into our shortlist of favourites!

Our Ratings

8.0
Overall
7.0
Luxury & Style
8.5
Setting
8.0
Activities
9.0
Chill-Out Factor

Our Ratings

8.0
Overall
7.0
Luxury & Style
8.5
Setting
8.0
Activities
9.0
Chill-Out Factor

What's Hot

  • Quite simply one of the prettiest, most friendly and relaxing beach lodges we’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at with especially stylish yet simple bungalows!
  • Fantastic excursions available – from swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling on coral reefs and sandbank trips to kayaking down the mangrove creeks
  • Maura and Moez are absolutely charming hosts who run their lodge with passion and a deep understanding of what it takes to give their guests a memorable stay
  • Prices are extremely reasonable, especially compared to lodges on Zanzibar – whether it is the price of drinks, the lunch menu or activities like deep-sea fishing, Butiama offers excellent value!
  • Great bird watching, both in the lodge gardens as well as when you take a long stroll down the deserted beaches – the regular cries of the fish eagles will send shivers down your spine!
  • That feeling that you’ve discovered a secret, unspoiled and very special paradise – and don’t have to pay the mouth-watering price tag that usually goes with such places

What's Not

  • Sometimes flight connection times mean that you have to stopover at least one night either in Dar es Salaam or Stone Town (this also applies to all the Mafia lodges)
  • The presence of Kilindoni harbour some way up the beach is a visual reminder that you’re not on a totally deserted island – but quite honestly it doesn’t impact at all on your stay otherwise
  • Mafia is a very quiet and unspoiled island, so if you're looking for more of a party scene with other beach bars etc then you're better off heading to Zanzibar
Butiama Beach

Butiama BeachQuite simply, Butiama Beach is one of the most stunningly pretty, friendly and relaxing beach lodges we’ve seen

Lodge Profile

Swim with whale sharks, snorkel on coral reefs, picnic on pristine sand banks, or simply relax on the stunning white powder beach in front of Butiama – this gorgeous little beach lodge on unspoiled Mafia Island has jumped straight into our shortlist of favourites!

Quick Overview

Rooms
10 Beach Bungalows (including 2 Family Bungalows)
Distance to Beach
50m
Air Conditioning
No
Pool
Yes
Recommended Stay
7 - 10 nights

If you would like to get a taste for what Zanzibar was like 30 years ago, then a visit to Butiama Beach lodge is a must. This is a place where time seems to have stood still - where you can stroll for miles along deserted sandy beaches with not another resort or beach boy or tourist in sight, with only the haunting cries of African Fish Eagles and a multitude of scuttling crabs for company – and if you’re lucky you may just spot some of the whale sharks for which Mafia has become increasingly famous, cruising like friendly submarines just off the beach.

Until recently the only lodges on Mafia were located in Chole Bay on the island’s east coast, firm favourites of keen divers due to the astonishingly pristine coral reefs found in the Marine Park there, but unfortunately lacking quality beaches – now though new lodges are opening on Mafia’s west coast, home to miles and miles of gorgeous sandy beaches as well as the growing population of whale sharks resident here over the summer months.

Quite simply, Butiama Beach is one of the most stunningly pretty lodges we’ve seen – from the neat shaded walkways lined with flowers to the simple but gorgeous rooms, each with their own unique colour scheme courtesy of the lovely kikoi’s, innovatively used as bed throws and curtains, providing bright splashes of colour that contrast beautifully with the cool white bed linen and walls. Add in other lovely little touches like colourful branded soaps (handmade locally on Mafia from pure coconut oil) and furniture made from reclaimed dhow wood and it all adds up to one of the most attractive and cheerful lodges we’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at – it all somehow just feels right!

It’s all the brainchild of the very hands-on owner/managers of Butiama Beach, a lovely Italian lady Maura and her Mafia Island-born and bred husband Moez, who have used their years of experience running other lodges to good effect in the creation of Butiama. Maura and Moez are also some of the finest hosts we’ve ever met and succeed in creating a wonderfully warm, relaxed and friendly atmosphere which cannot fail to put guests at their ease from the moment they arrive.

The 10 bungalows (including 2 family bungalows with 2 interleading bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) lie scattered amongst the coconut palms about 50 meters from the gorgeous beach. They make no pretences at being luxurious, but are probably the most stylish and well thought out rooms we’ve seen at anywhere close to this price. The small harbour town of Kilindoni lies about a kilometer up the beach to the north of the lodge – but walk the other way and you can explore a seemingly endless stretch of pristine driftwood and shell-strewn beach stretching down to Ras Kisimani at the south-west tip of the island.

Whilst the beach at Butiama is superb, it’s the many attractions offshore that will be the highlight for many of the guests. First up there’s the chance to swim with the whale sharks that slowly cruise these waters from November through to April – a totally unforgettable experience! Another highlight is to go on a snorkeling trip to a nearby reef followed up by a delicious picnic lunch on a pristine sandbank that emerges from the sea at low tide, giving you the chance to swim in the crystal clear water or explore the sand for pansy shells (Butiama's emblem) or other treasures – this has to have been one of the best day’s out that we’ve ever enjoyed on our travels!

We also enjoyed a great day’s deep-sea fishing on one of the lodge’s boats with Captain Ali, the friendly guy who enthusiastically arranges the watery excursions for the guests – it’s excellent value too compared to fishing prices at most other lodges and you’re pretty much guaranteed to return with some kingfish to enjoy as sashimi that night! Another activity we loved was the chance to kayak down from Butiama to explore some pristine mangrove creeks just south of the lodge where you can enjoy the prolific birdlife including African Fish Eagles, Palm Nut Vultures (we had a great sighting of one eating a crab!), kingfishers and herons – that’s in addition to the numerous Lilac Breasted Rollers and sunbirds seen in the lodge gardens, so bird lovers are in for a real treat!

But the beauty of Butiama is that if you don’t feel like being active and going out on all sorts of excursions, then just chilling at the lodge itself is just as relaxing. Maura and Moez have now put in a lovely swimming pool and there's also a massage hut overlooking the beach. We found the hammock on our spacious veranda had an almost magnetic attraction; otherwise take your book down to one of the loungers on the beach or relax over a game of bao in Chiringuito, Butiama’s charming beach bar, where you can enjoy an ice-cold Kili or cocktail whilst marvelling that places like this still exist in the madness of today’s world (and also reflecting on how lucky you are to have discovered Butiama!)

Pricing

per person sharing

More Information

Booking Notes

  • Please note that this website displays 2 different versions of pricing based on where you are viewing it:
  • SOUTH AFRICANS: the package prices you see including flights from Johannesburg, accommodation and transfers are INDICATIVE prices based on mid-season airfares and mid-season room rates - these fluctuate throughout the year as do exchange rates, so please enquire with us for an accurate price based on your specific dates of travel
  • INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS: the prices you see are per person per night prices for accommodation only based on the normal public prices for the property in question - note that in many instances we are able to provide better prices to our clients, so please enquire with us

Child Policy

  • Children aged 0-3: stay free of charge
  • Children aged 4-12: 50% of adult rate if sharing in family bungalow