Mbudya Island is a hidden gem just a short boat ride from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This beautiful island offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, with white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, and an abundance of marine life. If you’re looking for a day trip that will leave you with lasting memories, this island is the perfect destination. The island is located north of Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam and is one of the four islands within the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve.
Why Should You Visit Mbudya island?
This stunning island in the middle of the Indian Ocean feels like the Zanzibar of Dar Es Salaam. It’s ideal for sunbathing, snorkelling, swimming, and hanging out on the beach with friends. I’ve been blessed to visit the beautiful island twice. My love for bringing people together led me to plan a day trip for my friends to Mbudya island. Several of my friends from South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and America decided to join me, and the vibe was great.
Travel smart tip: Avoid going to the island on Saturdays as it can get really crowded.
Mbudya island vs Bongoyo island
Many visitors to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania often overlook Mbudya island and head straight to the more popular Bongoyo island, but what they don’t know is that Mbudya island offers a more secluded, authentic experience and the island is less crowded. Bongoyo is smaller than Mbudya and has fewer Bandas (thatched huts).
How long does it take to get from Dar es Salaam to Mbudya Island?
Mbudya Island is only a 20-minute boat ride from the mainland of Dar es Salaam. Boats are available every half an hour. Many different sizes are available depending on how many people you’re coming with large boats holding up to 40 people.
Travel smart tip: The boat journey can be a bit choppy. If you tend to get seasick quickly, take some seasick tablets beforehand.
How To Get To Mbudya Island?
To get the local speed boat from Dar es Salaam to Mbudya Island, you need to head to Kibo beach or Jangwani sea breeze resort in the Mbezi area. At Kibo beach, you’ll find local boatmen at the shore, to pay the island’s government fees and boat fees.
What Are The Costs To Get To Mbudya Island?
To visit Mbudya Island, you must pay government fees towards the islands’ maintenance and boat fees.
The cost of the government fees in Tanzania is 2400 Tanzanian Shillings (Tsh) for Tanzanian residents and 27000 Tsh for foreigners, which is £8.38 or $11.64. The boat fees are 10k Tsh, which is £3.11 or $4.31.
There are Bandas (thatched huts) on the island with tables and seats available to rent on the beach for 15k Tsh (£4.66 / $6.47).
What to eat on Mbudya island beach?
On the island, the food options are very limited Calamari with chips; fish and chips or lobster. The marine reserve staff can provide food such as Calamari with chips; fish and chips, lobster or chicken. Soft drinks are also available on the island to purchase. The food available is quite affording with lobster and chips costing 30k Tsh (£9.33 / $12.94), and chicken and chips costing 15k Tsh (£4.66 / $6.47). I would recommend bringing your own snacks, drinks, and speakers to play music with.
Travel Smart Tip: Bring a cooler with ice to keep drinks nice and cold.
Tips To Make The Most Of Your Trip To Mbudya Island
- With the last boat leaving the island leaving at 7 pm, you will have more than enough time to catch the sunset before you leave.
- Pack essential items with you. Some items on my island packing list are sunscreen, sunglasses, a mini portable handheld fan, swimwear, a waterproof bag, swim shoes and my snorkelling equipment.
- Plan the day trip around the weather so you can avoid a rainy day or very cloudy weather.
- Avoid bringing DSLR cameras and drones as there is a hefty fine you have to pay on the island if you haven’t been granted permission and paid a fee. A good smartphone is all you need to capture the content!
Would you go to Mbudya island?
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