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The Shooting Star Hotel Zanzibar


About Shooting Star

If you're after warm personalised service in an attractive, quiet and intimate setting (rather than a large resort-style hotel) head straight for Shooting Star. The place has a great feel about it, especially if you're looking for a peaceful spot to put your feet up and relax. We simply love it!

This small, family-run guesthouse is situated on a hill near the fishing village of Kiwengwa and overlooks a magnificent stretch of white beach and dazzling blue ocean. The small makuti-roofed lodge is nestled in lovely well-tended gardens alive with birdsong. It only has 14 rooms, located a short distance from the lodge, so you'll never feel crowded. Its cliff-top setting means the ocean views are superb and all-encompassing. Access to the beach is via a short but steep flight of stairs (good for the calves).

The welcome is warm with owner Elly going out of his way to make your stay pleasurable. Elly is Tanzanian and his wife Lesley is English. Elly has developed the guesthouse into its current form and takes great pride in sharing it with guests. There is an open-air restaurant and lots of chill-out and sun lounging areas with hammocks. It's been decorated with care using wooden furniture, African carvings, colourful cushions and local fabrics. The guestrooms are neat, clean and attractive. There are no disturbances here, no ringing phones or loud televisions, just the blissful sound and sights of the sea.

A huge advantage of this guesthouse is that it has been built far away from the other hotels on the Kiwengwa Coast, ensuring a private seaside away from hoards of holidaymakers. What a treat! There are shady makuti umbrellas under which to lie and the coral cliff face creates interesting coves to explore. It's the perfect place to escape to and watch local village life pass by quietly. Witness the morning rituals of the local women farming seaweed and the fishermen returning with their catch. You can listen to the lively melodies of children singing as they gather cockles and mussels in the shallows.

The hotel has a beautiful salt water infinity pool, the only one of its kind on the island, offering great panoramic views of the beachfront, the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Shooting Star is not your regular action-packed hotel, supplying guests with planned itineraries and tons of activities to pass the days. Instead it offers that well-deserved retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Here hospitality, relaxation, serenity and winding down form part of the everyday custom. Guests are encouraged to chill out and enjoy the freedom and tranquility of Zanzibar living.

Rooms at Shooting Star

The 14 thatched guestrooms, connected by sandy paths, are very comfortable. Although simply decorated, they have a romantic feel with purple batik bedspreads, white curtains and hibiscus flower decorations.

The eleven Seaview Cottages, set away from the bar and restaurant, are by far the best and most private option. These spacious, en-suite rooms feature traditional Zanzibari-style furniture, air conditioning as well as ceiling and table fans and private verandas with wonderful sea views. Four of the Sea View Cottages have been especially designed for families. They have a large double room, closet shower and WC on the ground floor and a staircase leading up to a twin bedded room in the roof space. The four en-suite Garden Lodge rooms are closer to the bar, restaurant and pool. They have terraces leading onto a tropical garden. There are two interconnecting rooms for families.


  • Magnificent infinity swimming pool
  • While there is no diving school or water sports centre, the hotel will arrange scuba diving, PADI courses, snorkelling, fishing, boat trips and windsurfing with nearby operators at no extra charge.
  • Room facilities:
  • All rooms have airconditioning
  • Zanzibar-style furniture
  • En-suite bathrooms
  • Private verandas

Swim in the warm water at high tide and explore the tidal pools during low tide.
  • Visit the nearby fishing village.
  • Shop for carvings and brightly coloured sarongs at Kiwengwa's local bazaar.
  • Hire bicycles and explore the island.
  • Visits to Stone Town, Nungwi, Kizimkazi, Jozani Forest, spice tours, sunset cruises and trips to many sights of historical interest can also be organised through the hotel.
  • Sailing trips on a luxury catamaran.
  • Snorkelling and diving at the Mnemeba Atoll.
  • Laundry service
  • Room service (not 24 hour)

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2 Travellers Comments
Written by Catherine Naude
Hi Farzanah, 
We had a really great holiday. The weather was perfect and we were very happy with our hotel. I liked the personal contact, they made such effort to introduce themselves and took time to remember our names etc. 
The ground handler, think his name was George was very sweet and they were always very reliable but we felt that he could have sold his packages better, he didn't have brochures or photos or anything. He made an appointment to see us and it was obvious that selling is not his greatest expertise. We booked our tours through the hotel we stayed at purely because the god child of the hotel Manager was so enthusiastic about the tours she recently did. 
We really couldn't complain, it's just the most magnificent hotel for us. We saw some more upper market commercial hotels close to us but they fact that we are so remote and rustic with a homely feel was just fantastic. I have two kids myself but also loved the fact that it was very quiet and no children so I could just relax and catch up on lost sleep. The infinity pool is a real win, when we drove in we weren't sure we had made the right decision but when they take you to the pool and give you that ice cold freshly squeezed juice you feel like you have literally died and landed in paradise. 
Written by Amanda Roche
Hi Farzanah 
I agree with Catherine's comments below.  
The hotel was great - small and comfortable, with a personal touch from the management and staff.  
I wouldn't recommend it to travellers who like 'luxury' accommodation - whilst everything was perfectly adequate, it worked for us as it suited our budget and the rustic nature of the island (travertine marble etc would be out of place!).  
The hotel restaurant is excellent, and we had really good meals. Good value too at $15 a main course for dinner. Wouldn't be ideal for vegetarians though. There aren't really other options for eating out at night, the other hotels are quite far away, or you'd have to walk on the beach which probably isn't that safe. Wine is expensive, about $30 a bottle - you could advise travellers to do as we did and take their 2 bottles of wine and a bottle of spirits along. There is no bar fridge in the rooms, but they were happy for us to put the wine in their large fridge at the bar. It was all very laid back.  
We did a great snorkelling trip, organised through the hotel, with Ocean Blue. It's a 45 min boat ride out to Mnemba Atoll, and we did two snorkelling sessions with 2 guides, who were great. We saw fabulous fish (and some dolphins) and it was a great activity - cost $59 each.  
Stone Town is an interesting experience, but extremely hot and humid - I wouldn't recommend a full day there unless you're staying there. There was an interesting tour we heard about through the hotel, 'Swahili Breeze' which incorporated a tour of the town, a bit off the beaten track, and then lunch / snorkelling off a sand bank. Charlie at Shooting Star lodge could give you the details.  
We had dinner one night in Stone Town at the top of the old Emerseon & Green Hotel, now 236 Hurumzi. We'd recommend it for a drink, but not dinner, as the view at sunset is fabulous, but the food was not great, and it's quite uncomfortable sitting on cushions during the meal, quite close to one another.  
All in all, we had a wonderful week. Many thanks for your assistance.  

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