Thanda means “love” in Zulu, and +Impact found out exactly how apt that title is for this heavenly private resort off the coast of Tanzania.

Words Robbie Stammers


This 19-acre private island off the coast of Tanzania is surrounded by coral reefs and located on a popular marine migratory route, making it an outstanding vantage point from which to view wildlife, ranging from turtles, dugongs to dolphins and whale sharks. The solar-powered island offers a five-bedroom villa that, if booked, secures exclusive use of the entire island.

Thanda is the holiday home of Swedish entrepreneurs and philanthropists, Dan and Christin Olofsson. The Olofssons actually opened their first property, the Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa in 2004 and two years later they began a search for their second – a private island retreat. It took many years to find the right place, which proves how difficult it is to find one of these gems, despite the dozens of atolls that string the Tanzanian coast like bright beads.

The final choice, Shungu Mbili, was only spotted by chance from the air while on reconnaissance along the Tanzanian coast. It’s a teardrop of a land formation with an emerald interior and a salt white hem of beach.

Thanda Island is completely self-sufficient, off the grid and solar-powered. Its water supply is gathered both from harvested rain and desalinated seawater. Thanda Island’s solar farm is the second largest in all of Tanzania.
I was struck by the pride and the affection with which they offer up all the minutiae of their adopted home. The house sprawls across 1 200 square metres, encompassing five en-suite bedrooms, generous decks and huge French windows. The house oozes a generosity of space, light, air, colour and comfort.