Written by 08:28 Middle East/Africa, Tanzania

Essque Zalu – Zanzibar, Tanzania


PO Box 3151
Zanzibar, Tanzania

+25 5 778 683 960

Hotel Website

Rate: Ocean View Suite $525 per room
Our Rate:  N/A  – Time Share Exchange

Booked Via: Direct




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We first noticed Essque Zalu in a travel magazine over the winter.  We thought it looked very interesting and put it on our list of things to consider as we planned upcoming destinations.  Out of the blue, we noticed it was listed on a friend’s timeshare site as an exchange property, that could be reserved for four weeks in April.  So, being that this was now going to turn into a stay that cost us almost nothing, needless to say, it moved up the list quickly.  We found out as we researched Zanzibar, that 

April is one of the second rainiest months of the year.  Now it was coming clear.  But, with a nearly free stay, we decided to persevere.  And, we’re glad we did.  It was a very nice play to spend a few days relaxing, with great service and other than a couple of short 30 minute rainstorms at night, worked out perfectly.  It appears that many are “scared off” at the thought of rainy season, as there were never more than 10-15 guests at the resort during our stay.  Normal capacity is 175.

It’s fairly difficult to get to Tanzania, let alone Zanzibar if you live in the US or points west.  Once you reach Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, it’s a short flight or moderate ferry ride to Stone Town on Zanzibar.  Once you arrive in Stone Town, Essque Zalu is about an hours drive straight north to the small village of Nungwi at the upper tip of the island.  The good news is the road is in very good shape, except the last half mile or so to Essque Zalu.  If you’re suffering from constipation or any other stomach/colon-based affliction, you’ll be relieved of it (quite literally) after driving that last half mile.

We read a lot of travel guides prior to our trip.  Many indicated that personal security was a concern in this part of the island.  We never felt unsafe at any point, nor did we notice anything to give us concern.  Essque Zalu does have security guards on duty 24/7, patrolling both the resort grounds as well as the main entrance and waterfront. 

We stayed in an Ocean View Suite, which was more than adequate.  Each suite is a villa style room, with over 500 square feet of space.  There’s a small sitting area with love seat, chairs, desk and TV.  The sleeping area has a large king bed with canopy, that’s fronted by a large 200 sq ft patio, complete with chairs and table.  There’s a full walk in closet, along with a safe and plenty of drawers to store clothes for a week or two’s stay.  Bathrooms were extremely large, including an oversized walk in shower, dual sinks, toilet and bidet.  Note that there are no bath tubs.  Rooms were cleaned promptly and extremely thoroughly everyday, plus there was turn down service every evening.  Most Ocean View suites have full-on views of the ocean from the patio and front windows.  We really couldn’t see paying extra for a sea front suite, unless you really wanted to be fronting the ocean.  There is no beach at this resort, so sea front suites overlook a small 15ft cliff to the ocean.

Essque Zalu has just about everything you could need for your stay.  There are three restaurants, two in the main resort building and one on the jetty over the Indian Ocean.  The main restaurant serves a wide array of food, while the other one in the main building serves a more upscale, price-fixe menu.  The restaurant on the jetty serves primarily middle eastern/asian food that really exceeded our expectations.  Food here is fairly reasonable considering your location. 

 Oddly enough, breakfast is one of the most expensive.  Meal plans are available with your stay, however we chose to go “ala carte”.  We spent an average of about $60 per day on food and drinks per person.  There are three bars as well.  One serving each restaurant.  The main bar and jetty bar are more
informal, featuring game tables and plenty of seating.  Drinks here are excellent and average between $6-$9 each, tax inclusive.  In addition there is a small gift shop, as well as spa and workout facility.  The workout facility is open air, so on hot days, you’ll sweat twice as much.  The gym features TechnoGym equipment and has 5-6 different machines.  You can walk along the coast at low tide to the village or via the road.  There are a few other smaller resorts nearby as well as a couple of places to eat in Nungwi.  Free wi-fi is available throughout the resort, however signal strength and speed can vary widely.

Everyone at Essque Zalu was extremely pleasant and helpful.  Most of the resorts workers come from the Tanzanian mainland and speak very good English.  Service can be on “Africa time”, but it’s always done with a smile.  Drink service at the pool can be slow on some days, but the price of drinks will make it worth your wait.

A great place to rest and relax.  Everything you need is at the resort to make for an enjoyable stay.

You are in a remote part of the island.  Going to other island tourist attractions and Stone Town can be expensive and take a reasonable amount of time.  Power outages occur frequently at various times of the day.  They never last long (5-10 minutes), but some may find that frustrating.

[box type=”info” ]Deals and specials are available during rainy seasons.[/box]

You can see all of our photos and other videos from the hotel and Zanzibar by clicking here.  




Last modified: January 21, 2014