When life becomes too much, we all need to escape and unwind at a lush, exotic holiday destination. The thought of spending the day relaxing in the sun, receiving a well-deserved golden tan before engaging in a wide range of activities and then ending the day with cuisines with flavours that make your taste buds tingle, is enough to make anyone want to pack their bags. This is exactly what we did.
Having had a wonderful snorkelling trip from Matemwe Lodge to the Mnemba Atoll, we were escorted up the hill along a winding path to our new home for the night by our private Butler. The Retreat is part of the same Matemwe Lodge resort but is made up of only 4 very private and large villas. Each villa has a large veranda with a breakfast bar, circular table, day bed and hammock - all made to accommodate two.
There is a luxurious main bedroom with a spacious king-sized bed, leading off to a generous bathroom with a shower and bath - that looks out on the glorious view - also made for two. From the corner of the bedroom, there is a spiral staircase leading to a roof deck, with a plunge pool. The place is stunning and with your own butler, you have excellent service.
A delicious and generous lunch was served on our veranda by our butler and then we spent the afternoon relaxing on our roof deck, soaking up the sun, the stunning view, the peace and quiet and helping ourselves to the odd drink from our (included in the price) well-stocked fridge.
And if you're not here to disconnect from the world - there is excellent wifi.
Tonight was Swahili night at Matemwe Lodge, so we left the seclusion of our private retreat villa to return to the 'real' world at Matemwe’s main Lodge. Another delicious cocktail at the bar, this time accompanied by music and dancers performing Swahili style - drum beats, xylophone, 2 girls dancing and some traditional singing. Dinner was served in the main restaurant and the waiters were pleased to show us all their local dishes and explain what each one was... from salads to cassava through to king prawn coconut curry.
There were some new flavours for me and it was delectable which is why we returned for seconds. Having over-indulged a little on the main courses we didn't have much room for dessert but there were mouth-watering sesame or cashew based brittles, doughnut-style cakes and other sweet treats.
Both nights here we had missed seeing bush babies so we asked our butler Fuki to help us look for some. With the help of a small piece of banana, two bush babies appeared and we were lucky enough to see them at close quarters.
Being in the more secluded Retreat villas we have enjoyed sitting on our deck having a meal and watching all the wildlife around us. A snuffling or scraping in the bushes has been a chicken or an elephant shrew! Every now and again a flash of colour flies past - a flash of bright yellow or iridescent green bird or a fleeting glimpse of a butterfly.
We will leave here with wonderful memories of an exceptional place.