Zanzibar Island camps - Fanjove Private Island

Fanjove Private Island

Every now and then you find somewhere that leaves you a little stunned by its perfection - a place that seems to be so close to the iconic look to which others aspire that you’re left feeling there must be a catch. Take a look at some more photos of Fanjove

So it is, when after a flight in a light aircraft to the small island of Songo Songo in the Indian Ocean, followed by a 10 minute trundle across the island in a tuk tuk and a 20 minute journey by speed boat, you arrive on the impossibly white sandy beaches of Fanjove Island.

As arrivals go, this is up there with the best. Small flocks of waders and pristine white egrets line the shore, palms fronds waive in the breeze and as you step onto the beach the warm surf laps at your ankles. There are no cars, no other boats, no noise other than the sea.

The remarkable clarity and intense blues of water and sky have you constantly removing and replacing your sunglasses to convince yourself its real. So much so that (in my case at least) the man trying to hand you a cool towel and freshly opened coconut almost has to slap you to get your attention.

Fanjove Island is surely one of a vanishingly small number of places that can genuinely describe itself as  a private island in the Indian Ocean. There are no if’s, buts or asterisks. The only inhabitants of this island are the small crew of people who’ll take care of you while you’re here and your fellow guests (to a maximum of 12). This is the real McCoy.

The island is less than a kilometre long, takes about 45 minutes to wander around at low tide, not counting the amount of time spent stopping to stare slack-jawed at the unbroken turquoise of the sea, or watch droves of (slightly indignant) brightly coloured crabs scuttling for cover, or stoop to stare at shells so perfect they look like they’ve come straight from a child’s story book.

So what are the catches? Well in short, as long as when you chose to go to a deserted private island in the Indian Ocean, that was want you wanted, there really aren’t any. But if what you thought you were getting was a spa hotel with swimming pools, air-conditioned bars and restaurants and all the trappings of 21st century life, then you will be disappointed.

Fanjove Island is for those that want to relish the unspoilt beauty, not to say fantasy of life on a minute gem of a desert island. To wander barefoot on the beach, plunge into the ocean in front of your room, perhaps go snorkelling and probably eat and drink far more than you planned. In short, to decompress and, for a few days to fairly definitively escape the real world.

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