Looking down at Thanda Island from above, you can see a white and green dot in a vast expanse of turquoise ocean. Zooming in a little, the white turns into pristine beaches, and the green into a lush, tropical crop of palm trees. As you come closer, you can make out the white roof of a palatial villa, and the deep blue sweep of an infinity pool stretching right down onto the beach.
This is likely how you will first see Thanda Island, the private swathe of sand and reef in the Indian Ocean, only accessible by helicopter or boat. The private isle is only 350m wide, covering an area of eight hectares; tiny by most standards, but enormous when you consider you only have to share it with nine of your guests. The one thing you won't see from above (or from any angle) is any sign of human activity. Thanda Island is one of the few truly exclusive private islands in the world, meaning you have total freedom to explore every inch of the East African island without bumping into anyone else. Your only neighbours will be nesting sea turtles, dolphins, and gentle whale sharks, as a whole kilometre of ocean surrounding the island is yours too, with no boats other than yours allowed in the waters.
The island, off the coast of Tanzania and just south of Zanzibar, features one of the best coral reefs in the world, and you have an entire kilometre all to yourself. Just a 40-minute helicopter ride from Dar es Salaam, the vibrant waters are home to five species of turtles, 400 varieties of tropical fish, and the rare endangered dugong. Just whip on your snorkel mask and dive off your doorstep, with Thanda providing you with equipment, reef boat (plus boatman, of course), sailing boat, scuba gear, jet skis, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, wakeboards and waterskis. If this all sounds too much, though, you can settle for a swim in the crystal clear water of the ocean or your glass rim-flow horizon pool.
A decade in the making, Thanda Island is finally ready for guests, and after ten years of planning, they certainly have thought of everything. Inside the house you'll find the answer to your every need (including a lot of things you didn't even know you needed until now). From your king-size bed it's just a short leap to the spa, treadmill, Steinway grand piano, cigar humidor and indoor aquarium (in case you're just too relaxed to make the ten-metre walk to the ocean). Outside on the beach you'll find that pizza oven you've always felt was lacking on most tropical islands, as well as bonfire pits, outdoor BBQ, and a cocktail bar stocked just for you. There's also a party pavilion tent, and everything you need to set up a beach volleyball tournament. In case there's anything they've forgotten, extra whims can be met by your personal chef, hostess, housekeeper, and boatman.
Outdoor beach baths and showers are hidden in the sand outside the villa, and privacy is hardly a worry when you've populated the island solely with your friends and family. The villa features five suites to accommodate ten adults, with extra room for children to share. Bedroom doors open straight onto the beach, so it's just a short bound from your bed into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. The wine cellar is all yours too, and fresh seafood is ready whenever you want to command the deep-sea fishing boat or fish for oysters while you swim. For members of your party whom you may not want to ply with wine and oysters, a full range of indoor and outdoor games are available for children, meaning you actually do have a shot at the peace and quiet that the island promises.
If you're feeling like this is all too indulgent, comfort yourself with the knowledge that the island is an eco haven, so you're at least investing in a slice of paradise that's good for the environment. The Olofssons, the millionaire philanthropists who made this dream a reality, are committed to creating a sustainable Thanda, with projects that protect the local wildlife as well as community programmes on the neighbouring Mafia Island. The entire isle is off-grid and solar-powered, sustaining itself all year round. Rainwater tanks are used to maximise water storage, as well as a desalination facility on-site to provide all the water for the island and its abundant vegetation. Off-grid doesn't mean off-the-map though, as Thanda Island comes equipped with wifi and mobile signal. Totally remote, but totally connected.
Whether you're looking for the best reef snorkelling in the world, an eco-friendly slice of heaven that's totally self-sustainable, a watersports paradise with every bit of gear in town, or all of the above, Thanda Island ticks just about every box we can think of (and probably a lot more that we haven't even thought of yet). For $10,000 a night, the island is your oyster…
For more info, see thandaisland.com