Most tourists immediately flock to the well-known island of Zanzibar when they make their plans to travel to Tanzania. But there are plenty of other beach locations along the Tanzanian coastline that deserve just as much recognition (or perhaps not, since more attention would cause them to lose some of their appeal). These tropical destinations are easily reachable from Dar es Salaam, are just as picturesquely beautiful, and are free both of an excess of vacationers and hawkers trying to sell things. The first beach in this series is Mbudya Island.
In order to get here, take the daladala to Kunduchi or Bagamoyo and get off at the Africana stop. Then you can catch a taxi or bajaji (African tuk tuk) to White Sands Beach Resort. If you have a car, it’s a simple 40 minute drive to the resort from Dar es Salaam. Once you reach the gate, tell the gatekeeper you are going to Mbudya and he will give you a boat ticket plus a day pass for the island ($16). Then you walk through the resort to the beach where boats will be waiting to take a group across the Indian Ocean. The boats are small and wooden, and the ride takes about 25 minutes. Sometimes the tide is out, meaning you have to wade through shallow water to reach the boat, but that’s all part of the adventure.
Once there, you won’t have to worry about finding a banda, or beach hut, or vacant spot on the beach. Mostly only locals and expat residents know about it, which makes for a beautiful white sand beach untainted by obnoxious crowds. A limited number of people also means the development is limited: there is no hotel or established sit-down restaurant. Instead, you can have freshly caught and grilled fish or lobster brought directly to your banda, as well as cold water, soda or beer.
For further exploration, you can walk down the nearly overgrown trails in search of another beach. Or bring your snorkel gear and swim through the turquoise water out to the reef that’s bound to have lots of colorful fish hanging around.
For an extra $20 per person, overnight camping is also an option. It’s best to have your own tent and blankets, otherwise you’d share a tent with strangers. If traveling with your significant other, this could be the most romantic getaway ever. What could be better than having the entire beach to yourselves, gazing at the bright and shiny stars, and falling asleep to the waves crashing just 20 yards from your tent?
For a quick, easy, and cheap excursion that’s the epitome of relaxation on a tropical island, definitely build Mbudya Island in to your travel plans.
Have you heard of Mbudya Island and explored it?