Andy's Karibuni Romantic Garden Hotel in Zanzibar

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Uff! What a relief from the letdown that was our previous lodging. We stumbled over Andy's Karibuni Romantic Garden while trying to escape the incessant beach hawking that made our stay in Jambiani almost unbearable. After a sunset stroll on an almost empty (and 100% tout-free) Bwejuu beach, followed by a magical dinner at Andy's Romantic Garden restaurant, we immediately decided to switch quarters.

German-Hungarian owner Andrea has found just the right mix for anyone looking to get away from the usual all-inclusive resort setup that sadly seems to dominate this part of the island.

Karibuni's is basic but bright and clean bungalows are sprinkled across a large property with lush tropical vegetation, with the main reception/restaurant building set near the beach.

All units have showers and are furnished with mosquito-netted beds and African furniture, prints, and paintings.

If you don't happen to catch one of the bungalows with a direct view of the sea, don't despair, as it's only a couple of steps to the beach.

Business was slow, so we had the place to ourselves, except for two staff, Andrea, and her two friendly dogs. Breakfast and dinner was served in the semi-open restaurant under a straw-thatched roof. Diverse African artwork and bric-a-brac on display (and sale) added even more to the charm of (almost) al fresco dining tropical style.

Andy's Karibuni lies right in the heart of the Bwejuu lagoon, which makes for excellent snorkeling and swimming. If you feel like venturing beyond the lagoon, the scuba diving station at nearby Breezes resort will be happy to take you there.

To wrap it up, the main drawback, or should I say advantage, is that the place is hard to find. Set roughly 500m before the Breezes resort, it's easy to miss the turn off the main road. If coming by car for the first time, make sure you have someone pick you up there.

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