The design of the 8 ocean-side bandas was, we thought, simply perfect. Staggered in amongst tall coconut palms, each is linked to the main lodge by a narrow path of the purest white sand which cuts in from the beach. Like the main lodge, the polished decks, low walls and furnishings have been crafted entirely of coconut wood from the surrounding groves. Roofs of makuti thatch drop down low on either side: your intimacy is all your own even though each banda is open on 3 sides to the ocean breezes. At night the bandas are closed up by dropping down screens of white cotton: you can choose to leave them open to the ocean and the night sky.
A big deck with Planter-style chairs and deck chairs leads through to your sleeping space. This has a kingsize four-poster bed, bench seat with silk cushions, writing desk and chair, a big lockable trunk and a simple A-frame hanging rack for clothes. At the back of the banda is an airy bathroom with a rain shower, white ceramic sinks, a big mirror and plenty of surface space for spreading your toiletries around. Soap is made from virgin coconut oil and is on sale at the lodge: we returned home with masses of it for friends and family.
In keeping with the guiding eco-ethic of Ras Mbisi, a great deal of what graces your table is grown in situ or will have been locally sourced. Most meals are served in the lodge's dining room. You eat at individual tables at lunch and breakfast and at one long table for dinner: just ask if you prefer to eat alone.
Breakfast gets going early: you naturally tend to slip into an ',early to bed, early rise', routine. Expect a lavish spread of fresh juice and fruit salad, homemade Greek-style yoghurt and freshly baked bread and Danish pastries, pancakes with maple syrup and cereals, as well as a full cooked breakfast. Eggs come fresh from the lodge's own hens.
After such a huge breakfast, lunches follow a light formula: some kind of seafood salad or a light pasta or noodle dish followed by fruit salad and homemade cake.
Both the dinners we had were simply excellent. You',ll probably first gravitate to the sundowner bar where snacks and a range of exotic cocktails are on offer. Our first meal began with really scrummy crab samosas which were followed by mchuzi, a Swahili fish stew made with coconut and tomato. The following night our starter was a homemade liver pat?® and our main course an excellent seafood lasagne. Deserts were memorable, too: an Eton Mess variant made with passion fruit, and a wicked chocolate pudding cake which was served with a mango coulis. It was obvious that Michelle had got the whole food number very well sussed.
There was a smallish, really generously priced wine menu: 6 red, 6 white, 1 ros?® - a mix of South African, Spanish, French and Chilean - plus red & white house carafes, and Ros?® or Brut Cava.
- All meals included
- Room service
- Organic produce
- Vegetarian menu
- Internet access
- Outdoor pool
- Bicycles available
- Airport Transfers
- A relaxed ',one big family', feel, which is conducive to a really chilled atmosphere
- A sweep of postcard-perfect, palm-fringed beach which you',ll have virtually to yourself
- An ocean-side swimming pool where BBQs are held once a week
- A 'sundowner', bar on a high deck in the main lodge
- A dhow moored just off shore which can be rigged up at any time, as well as kayaks and dugouts if you prefer to paddle yourself
- Free use of kayaks, bicycles and snorkelling equipment
- Support of local womens', projects, weaving projects, desks for local schools
- Eco-friendly - a Biomass Gasifier for electrical needs and the entire resort is built from sustainable cocowood
When to go?
Any time between mid-June and September is a perfect time to visit: you know the weather will be warm and dry and the island is looking at its lushest after the spring rains. From December through to February winds pick up and you can expect to see quite a bit of seaweed on that otherwise pristine sweep of white sand, but it's still very pleasant and whale shark season is October to March. The lodge closes during the wettest period of the year, normally from the end of March to some time in May.