How a $33,000-a-night private island inspired by the Kennedys became a beacon for sustainable tourism

How a $33,000-a-night private island inspired by the Kennedys became a beacon for sustainable tourism - Travel - News

Thanda Island: A Luxurious Hideaway for Exclusive Guests and Majestic Marine Creatures

Introducing Thanda Island, a tiny paradise situated off the coast of Tanzania, boasting enough space to accommodate just a select few, yet large enough to coexist harmoniously with numerous magnificent creatures of nature. With a capacity for only a handful of guests, this private island retreat offers an unparalleled tropical escape that comes at the cost of $33,000 per night.

Thanda Island is not just a place for relaxation and leisure; it is also home to some of Mother Nature’s most significant inhabitants, including the largest fish in the sea- the whale shark. This exclusive island paradise is located about thirty minutes by helicopter from Tanzania’s bustling city, Dar es Salaam, nestled in a private marine reserve boasting an unwavering commitment to conservation and restoration.

The visionaries behind Thanda Island Hotel are Dan and Christin Olofsson, two Swedish entrepreneurs who dreamt of creating an ultimate escape for multigenerational families and groups of friends. Since its opening in 2016, Thanda Island has been a favorite destination for travelers seeking exclusivity, relaxation, and adventure.

The island’s accommodations include a villa inspired by the Kennedy family’s beach home in Cape Cod, USA, offering an enchanting blend of romance, nostalgia, and East African flair. In addition to the villa, Thanda Island offers two open-air beach chalets that perfectly complement the island’s natural beauty and tranquility.

To ensure self-sufficiency, Thanda Island boasts a seawater desalination plant, rainwater harvesting, and the largest off-grid solar farm in Tanzania. Organic waste is transformed into compost to further minimize the island’s ecological footprint.

Sustainability is at the heart of Thanda Island, and visitors seeking eco-conscious travel experiences will be thrilled to discover that the island sits within Mafia Island Marine Park and Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve. Exclusive use of these marine reserves is granted to Thanda Island guests during their stay, enabling them to explore the waters teeming with diverse marine life while contributing to ongoing conservation efforts.

Activities on Thanda Island include jet skiing, jet boarding, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing, and kite surfing. However, diving and snorkeling are the most popular water sports, providing visitors with opportunities to interact closely with various marine species like whale sharks, humpback whales, and blacktip reef sharks.

Thanda Island’s conservation program began in 2017 with the recruitment of a marine biologist, leading to significant growth and collaboration with the Tanzanian Marine Parks and Reserves Unit. The program’s primary focus is on coral restoration, which has already yielded impressive results in the island’s immediate waters that were previously devoid of abundant marine life.

Hassan Jumbe, Thanda Island’s dive master and coral restoration project lead, shares his experiences about the transformation he has witnessed since starting the project in 2017. He explains that the local community primarily relies on fishing as a livelihood, with Mafia Island being home to approximately 90% of the population. Thanda Island’s private reserve allows for safe breeding spaces, ensuring that populations spill over and can be sustainably fished beyond its boundaries.

Jumbe adds that the island’s restoration projects have not only led to an increase in fish populations but also instilled a newfound appreciation for the importance of corals among the local community.

Thanda Island’s conservation efforts have led to significant benefits for tourism and the surrounding Mafia Island community. Most employees are locals, with Thanda supporting various entrepreneurs and small businesses on Mafia Island to create sustainable livelihoods for the local population. Jumbe shares that some guests even contribute to the community projects, fostering a sense of responsibility and satisfaction among them.

Cherae Robinson, founder and CEO of luxury travel operator Tastemakers Africa, emphasizes the potential of sustainable tourism in Tanzania’s coastal region. She believes that Thanda Island embodies a successful approach to eco-friendly travel experiences, which are becoming increasingly popular in Africa as tourism evolves and prioritizes environmental preservation.

Thanda Island’s commitment to sustainability and conservation has earned it the title of “World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island” in the World Travel Awards for eight consecutive years. The island’s reputation continues to flourish, attracting travelers from around the world seeking a unique and memorable tropical escape while making a positive impact on the environment and local community.