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.


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