Monday, November 29, 2010

Honeymoons (& Weddings)

Leave the world behind....
If your fiancé is welded to his laptop and his mobile, Ras Mbisi is your ideal honeymoon retreat.

It simply doesn’t get more romantic than this. Your own desert island paradise. Just you, him and eight kilometres of pure white sand. No rowdy night life, no glitzy shops, no crowded beaches or frenetic bar-hopping. Better still, there’s no TV, no phone signal, no Internet. In other words, nothing to distract you from each other.
If your fiancé is the kind of man who is welded to his mobile or laptop, this truly is your honeymoon heaven.
Ras Mbisi is a small remote ‘beach meets bush’ lodge on the ‘secret’ island of Mafia, just off the southern coast of Tanzania. Ras Mbisi offers simple, elegant, barefoot luxury. With white sandy beaches, dazzling aquamarine waters and refreshingly few tourists, Mafia is the way Zanzibar was 30 years ago, the cool laid-back eco-alternative.
Imagine your own simple yet sophisticated open-tented thatched banda sitting a few metres from the beach, looking out over the white sand and pristine water. Your four poster bed is swathed in white gauze and you can sit on your veranda watching the sun come up or, more likely, the sun set (and enjoy bickering over which is the more beautiful).
The restaurant and sundowner bar also overlook both the beach and swimming pool: sit sipping a cocktail while a gentle sea breeze dances on your sunkissed skin.
The food is all local and strictly seasonal – fresh locally sourced fish & seafood, vegetables & fruit, cooked simply but with flair, using a combination of traditional Swahili recipes with Middle Eastern and Asian flavours. We could say it’s the food of love but that would be corny...
You can swim with the whale sharks or watch the Humpbacks make their way past during their biannual migration. You can scuba or snorkel, sail or kayak. If that sounds far too energetic bliss out on a sunset cruise or combine a whale shark trip with a fish bbq for two on deserted Shungu Mbili island.

You can get married at Ras Mbisi, we will need the following original documentation:
An application letter in English (signed by both partners) indicating that they want to marry in Tanzania with the intended date of marriage
A signed written statement from each partner, stating that they are single (if you have been married before, a copy of the divorce papers)
A 21-day notice before the actual date of the service will have to be put up at the notice board of the municipality in town. If you already have this from your own country and town, please send it as it will help enormously.
If you send all the above papers to us at least two months before the marriage date we will be able to carry out the whole bureaucratic process for you. We will also make sure that the Priest or responsible Government official who conducts civil weddings in Tanzania will be at Ras Mbisi in order to conduct the official ceremony

Seriously, leave your shoes behind, you don’t need them.

(with thanks to Jane Alexander for her expert help)

Monday, November 8, 2010

The magic of Mafia (Island)

Total treat for you today, a guest post from Catherine Woods and Olly Patterson who were guests in September 2010 - I think they had a good time! Catherine and Olly actually came to Ras Mbisi on the recommendation of other previous guests Luke and Kadriye Sherrington who stayed in March 2010 - love that the word is spreading.

We’re standing on a beach of white sand, so fine and powdery that it squeaks
when you walk across it, stretching in either direction as far as you can
see. Apart from the two of us, the only other visitors to the beach this
morning are the ghost crabs scurrying between the surf and their shoreline
burrows and a trio of black monkeys chattering in the trees. In front of us
is an endless expanse of pale turquoise, the horizon interrupted only by a
scattering of picture-perfect coral islets, and just behind, nestled between
the gently swaying coconut palms, is our home for the next 10 days: Ras
Mbisi. Which, roughly translated from the Swahili, means: “oh my god, this
place is *amazing*”*.

It started with a fish. A Kingfish, to be exact. Straight off the grill,
served on a palm leaf with crispy fries and flavour-packed salads fresh from
the vegetable patch, washed down with an ice-cold Kilimanjaro beer. We had
been at Jon and Michelle’s lodge for just half an hour and after the
revelation of that spectacular beach we were experiencing Ras Mbisi’s next
knockout punch: the food. Just-caught rock lobster, red cabbage with peanuts
tossed in a zingy dressing, spicy fishcakes, creamy linguine piled high with
fresh prawns, chocolate mousse, fruit salad with sugar-dusted donuts,
meltingly tender Tanzanian steak, watermelon and papaya with warm carrot
muffins for breakfast... And so much of it, far, far more than we could eat
after a hard day sunbathing, snorkelling and dozing in the sunshine – which
is pretty much how we spent our stay at Ras Mbisi.

There are far too many wonderful memories to list here, but, in summary,
here’s our advice: take the dhow trip to snorkel the reef and play Robinson
Crusoe for a day on your own deserted island (although it’s unlikely RC ever
got barbecued lobster and chilled white wine for lunch), learn how to play
Bao, kayak to the starfish sandbank, have a sunset gin and tonic on the
balcony of your banda, ask Rama [sp?] to teach you how to fold a linen
napkin into the shape of a dinosaur and get really, *really* good at
Frisbee. Or just sit and stare at one of the best beach views in the world.

This is not the place if you want nightclubs, jet-skis and internet access
on your holiday. If you like a door and windows (the bandas are open on
three sides, though still feel remarkably private) then you should probably
check into a hotel. But if you are looking for a place that ticks every
single desert island fantasy box, if you fancy falling asleep every night to
the sound of the waves and the breeze ruffling the coconut palms, then you
really can’t do better than Ras Mbisi. We can’t wait to go back.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Mafia Island to Dar es Salaam to London

Well the last few days have been a whirlwind, work, travel, socialising, travel etc. There was a nail biting, hair raising will it, won't it be ready on the film front. Thankfully all is fine and it looks AMAZING. Can't wait to get it in front of people. The new brochure is also FANTASTIC, so excited. Ulric, Tim, Stefania and Hannes are so bloody talented it makes me cry.

So, Dar, well getting there was a mission, with the elections just finished traffic in Dar was at an all time high, had a lovely evening with friends at Osaka in Oyster Bay, Teppenyaki and sashimi. A fun night with great friends.

Action cricket wasn't really my thing (I had zero idea as to what was happening), but the Poohs won which apparently was the important thing!

I had the most amazing view of Kilimanjaro from my window seat, a pic for you to enjoy!