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A Versatile and Sustainable Gift from Mother Nature

Thanda Island (Shungimbili) is part of the Mafia Archipelago, which is widely known for three things: whale sharks, diving and coconut trees.

Mafia Island is home to thousands of coconut trees, dating back to the pre-colonisation era, and further developing during the 1890’s when the Germans colonised the island and demanded that every man plant a minimum of 50 coconut trees so as to feed the demand for copra (dried coconut meat). This meant that Mafia Island became a lush forest of coconut trees, and local Mafians learned to make use of all parts of this versatile and beautiful plant.

There are many uses of the coconut palm – the trunk for making furniture, as it has beautifully patterned stripes running along the length of the trunk; the coir (the fibrous material between the hard internal shell and the outer coat of the coconut) in the making of ropes and sacks; combustion of coconut husks to power a turbine and create power; weaving of palm leaves to make carpets and hats; producing natural coconut oil for cooking, hair and body, and of course eating the plush meat of the coconut which is used in many local recipes, along with fresh coconut water (locally known as ‘madafu’) and coconut milk.

Borrowing these traditions from our neighbours, we too on Thanda have multiple sustainable uses for coconuts.

Upon check-in on Thanda Island, you will find a natural, organic, handmade coconut cream in your suite. This is wonderful for the skin, hair and lips, and is entirely natural – you could actually eat it!

We use freshly ground coconut in many of our recipes, making homemade coconut milk and desiccated coconut, as well as a house favourite snack of roasted coconut flakes.

Of course, as on any beautiful beach getaway, fresh coconut water is always available and acts as the perfect rehydrate after long days soaking up the sun.

Additionally, so as not to waste any part of the coconut, we put the husks to good use, too! Here on Thanda Island, we re-purpose coconut husks on our flower beds to trap moisture and keep our plants hydrated in the warmer climate. Nothing goes to waste!