Birds you can see on our serene Bird Walks

Thanda Team

Once you step onto the silken white beaches of Thanda Island surrounded by glittering turquoise waters, you’ll experience a complete sense of freedom. It’s the consummate private island retreat, located in a marine reserve between the mainland of Tanzania and Mafia Island. It’s a spectacular environment, 8ha in size, 1,1km in circumference and surrounded by coral reefs.

It’s completely safe, and you have it all to yourself with a paradise-inspired, exclusive-use, single-key Villa that includes five exquisite, airconditioned bedroom suites leading directly onto the beach, as well as two traditional, open-air Tanzanian bandas (beach chalets).

Everything on the Island has been created for adventure, relaxation and total privacy. As you step off the boat or helicopter, it is right there and yours alone to enjoy.

Behind the Villa is the bird walk trail to the resident Dimorphic Egrets (Egretta dimorpha) that inhabit the island. There is a successful breeding colony here as there are no predators. The Dimorphic Egrets are either black or white as their name suggests and they are easy to spot as they are quite noisy. Their eggs are a delicate baby-blue and are half the size of a chicken egg.

The surrounding Indian Ocean waters support a range of coastal and seabird species, such as the Crab-plover, Sea Eagle and several species of Terns. Thanda Island has a far-reaching commitment to marine conservation and two species of marine turtles breed in the surrounding area, which is also home to the largest fish in the world – the gentle whale shark.


From scuba diving and snorkelling to big game fishing or exploring the ocean in our catamaran or cruiser, Thanda Island is your totally private island experience with an exclusive-use, single-key, ultra-luxury Villa.

It is a place of absolute natural beauty where marine life flourishes and at the same time you have a choice of thrilling water adventures, excursions and activities, including swimming with whale sharks, scuba diving, island tennis and exploring the 8-hectare island where the only sign of human habitation is the occasional, traditional fishing dhow in the distance.

Thanda Island is completely safe to explore as there are no predators. A special Egret Walk has been created for you to visit the nesting sites of the resident Dimorphic Egrets. When the tide is low, you watch them heading out to the reef to look for food, such as small crabs. Other birds found in Tanzania occasionally visit Thanda Island, such as the exquisite Lilac-breasted Roller and the Crab-plover. In the fish-rich waters you can see a wide variety of Terns diving for their dinner, and, for the keen birders, an excursion can be arranged to nearby Mafia Island, which has about 154 bird species and is also superb for scuba diving.


Thanda Island has repeatedly been voted by the World Travel Awards as the World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island. Its exclusive, single-key Villa is for you, your family and friends to enjoy completely for yourselves.

With five romantic, air-conditioned suites that open directly onto the beach, it accommodates ten adults with additional beds available for children. On the island are also two traditional, open-air Tanzanian bandas (beach chalets) for your exclusive use.

Situated within the Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, you have exclusive use of Thanda Island and a superb choice of watersports, including snorkeling, sailing, paddling, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and jet boarding. Thanda Island has its own resident sea captain and professional big game fishing guide who takes guests out on the 25-foot reef runner catamaran or cruiser.

Thanda Island has one of the few sport fishing boats in the area and offers guests an exclusive blue water fishing experience with legendary big game fishing species, including marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, barracuda and kingfish. For guests who enjoy scuba diving, the Thanda Island team organises this for you with Mafia Island Diving, the accredited 5-star dive partner on nearby Mafia Island.

Mafia Island also has about 154 bird species and is a delight for birders. Dimorphic Egrets are resident on Thanda Island and an Egret Walk has been created where guests can walk in complete safety to see the egrets at their nests, sometimes with their beautiful baby-blue eggs or chicks.