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The new soul of Zanzibar

240 new holiday apartments for sale on the west coast 

Known as The Soul, Zanzibar’s first residential resort continues its unique success story. After selling out in Paje on the east coast, new holiday apartments are launched in Fumba Town.

By Andrea Tapper

It’s one of the rare rainy days in paradise. Raining cats and dogs actually, when Milan Heilmann takes me around The Soul in Paje. Since 2019 the project manager of developer CPS has been supervising the construction of Zanzibar’s first residential resort, only 300 metres walking distance from the famous kite surfing beach. Now it’s almost complete. 

On sunny days the scene here looks like this: Young couples return from the beach, store their SUPs and surf-boards before entering their lofty apartments through a garden door. Palm trees render a soft shade while a beautiful woman in her Fourties relaxes on her penthouse terrace, her husband mixing some drinks inside. 

Thanks to the monsoon rain, a lush tropical garden is already embracing the eleven apartment blocks in Paje’s hinterland, most of them fully finished and rentable (see box), some under finalisation. Pointing at palm trees, colourful bougeanivilla, banana trees and a gangling bamboo forest, project manager Heilmann, 32, summarises the resort’s philosophy: “Modern living in tropical surroundings.” 

New chance to buy holiday apartments

Breaking news is, that after the completion of the east coast Soul, the residential resort will get a twin sister at the west coast in the urban setting of eco-city Fumba Town. The Soul is an entirely new player within the tourism landscape for several reasons. It’s the first large-scale holiday apartment complex in Zanzibar and the first residential leisure resort falling under a new condominium law entitling foreigners to buy. Designed by Spanish architect Lucas Oyteza, it implements a hybrid, sustainable wood construction technology, a big plus for climate-conscious travellers.

Sold-out in record time in Paje, “we want to give holidaymakers of all ages the chance to buy a Soul apartment in Fumba”, CPS directors Sebastian and Tobias Dietzold said when launching the planned look-alike. The major difference: “Soul Fumba will be close to the airport and Stone Town, be more embedded in urban infrastructure and have glorious west-coast sunsets”, the Dietzold brothers said. Developer CPS, a local company with German background, has sold more houses and apartments in Zanzibar than any other company.

Masterpiece: a man-made lagoon

Both Soul projects nestle around a huge trademark lagoon, the much talked-about first man-made lagoon ever in Zanzibar. When project manager Heilmann takes me around the vacation village in Paje, the recreational miracle is in its final phase of construction: 90 metre long and 10-30 metre wide, containing one million litres of water, two islands, a shallow children’s area, a north-side beach and a south-side cliffy entrance, the super lagoon, covered with natural limestone instead of tiles, will form the ultimate relax area for Soul residents. 

In Fumba, the sale of 240 planned apartments has just begun, with first buyers coming actually from Paje – apparently convinced not only of the project’s charm but generic similarities. When launching the new touristic hot spot by the sea, CPS director Tobias Dietzold elaborated: “Fumba was not meant to be a holiday resort but with the apartments we will add even more variety to the green urban community.” Eventually 20,000 people will live in the growing suburb along 1,6 kilometres seafront with buyers from 60 nationalities. A sports centre is also planned at the sunset coast, while more and more developments are taking place on the Fumba peninsula. Booming tourism in Zanzibar, it seems, has found a new darling location. 


Ready to rent

The season can start! Apartments in walking distance to Paje’s famous kite-surfing beach are available at The Soul, Zanzibar’s first residential resort:

Booking: Ph/WhatsApp +255 774 350 440; [email protected]


CPS, the largest private real estate developer in Tanzania, is thrilled to announce its latest project in Fumba Town - "The Soul Fumba." Following the immense success of "The Soul" project in Paje, where all units were sold out earlier this year, CPS is expanding its reach to the urban setting of East Africa's first eco-city.

Highlighting the remarkable success that contributed to the original development's immense popularity, CPS CEO Sebastian Dietzold proudly showcased "The Soul Fumba'' project during the launch of the new CPS Office in Masaki near Kaffe Koffee. Additionally, he expressed sincere appreciation to key stakeholders, including the Government of Zanzibar, for their invaluable support in achieving this significant milestone.

"The Soul Fumba" offers 200 dream holiday apartments, strategically located on the west coast within the Fumba Town infrastructure, boasting a range of amenities such as health facilities, playgrounds, permaculture gardens, retail spaces, food courts, and office areas. The prime location near Stone Town and the airport ensures convenience for residents and visitors alike. Furthermore, "The Soul Fumba" promises high returns on investment by benefiting from both the thriving tourism sector in Zanzibar and the value appreciation of a fast-growing urban centre. This makes “The Soul Fumba”, an ideal choice for investors but also singles, couples, and families seeking a home in Africa.

As part of the Fumba Town Development Project in the Free Economic Zone, "The Soul Fumba" welcomes foreign buyers. In addition, attractive incentives have been announced by the Government of Zanzibar, including residency visas starting with an investment of $100,000 and tax benefits. CPS aims to create a welcoming environment for international investors interested in the Zanzibar real estate market.

"The Soul Fumba" apartments are sold off-plan, allowing buyers to secure their units with a 15% down payment. A generous 5-year payment plan is available, with monthly instalments starting at $1,270. Chief Commercial Officer of CPS, Tobias Dietzold, highlights that while buyers make their payments, their holiday homes will be prepared for them to move in, ensuring a seamless and convenient experience.

Each purchaser of "The Soul Fumba" apartments will receive a 99-year lease title, providing them with the rights to inherit, mortgage, sell, and rent out their property. CPS is committed to ensuring long-term value and security for buyers, allowing them to make the most of their investments.

The unveiling of "The Soul Fumba" was accompanied by a panel discussion featuring prominent figures, including Graham Leslie, Executive Chairman of The Hotel Association Zanzibar & President of Conservation Capital; Fred Msemwa, Managing Director of Watumishi Housing Investment; and Abdulrahman Said, Managing Partner of Bankable. The panel aimed to explore the potential opportunities in the real estate sector spurred by the thriving tourism industry.

Zanzibar has recently garnered the prestigious title of being Africa's top travel destination, as declared by "The Travel Magazine." Surpassing iconic locations like Mt. Kilimanjaro, Cape Town, and the Masai Mara of Kenya, Zanzibar's tourism sector has not only rebounded to pre-pandemic levels but also anticipates a remarkable 30% growth compared to 2022. The country's thriving economy is poised for a projected growth of over 7% in 2023.

With a progressive Government that welcomes foreign investment, the real estate sector in Zanzibar has experienced rapid growth in recent years making Zanzibar a fertile ground for growth and expansion, with endless opportunities for those up to the challenge.

CPS, the renowned real estate developer, is excited to provide an update on "The Soul", its Residential Resort Development in Paje, Zanzibar. The first phase of the development is nearly complete, with 50 handovers expected to take place in the coming month. This is an important milestone for the project, as it represents the culmination of years of hard work and dedication by the CPS team.

To date, 4 buildings have been completed with more than 100 handovers already done. This is a testament to the quality and craftsmanship of the development. "The Soul" has been designed to offer residents a unique living experience, combining modern architecture with sustainable design.

With clients from more than 40 different countries, "The Soul" has become a true international destination, offering a unique living experience in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. As the first registered condominium project in Zanzibar, "The Soul" has set a new standard for luxury living in the region.

The development's green concept, which incorporates the lagoon into the design, has been a key selling point for buyers looking for a sustainable living option. The development has also been designed to promote a healthy lifestyle for its residents, with a focus on preserving the natural environment.

Each unit at "The Soul" boasts high-quality finishing, ensuring that residents enjoy an aesthetically pleasing and functional living space. From the stylish kitchens to the bathrooms, every aspect of the development has been carefully considered to provide residents with the ultimate living experience.
As the East Coast Boom continues and demand for quality housing grows,

"The Soul" is poised to become a true landmark development in the heart of Paje, Zanzibar. CPS is proud to have been the developer behind "The Soul" and looks forward to completing the project's first phase and continuing to create world-class developments that offer sustainable living options for buyers around the globe.

Surely an enrichment for Zanzibar is Kim’s Vietnamese kitchen and style at the East Coast

When a Vietnamese has a lot of work, he feels blessed. When a Zanzibari is busy, people say “pole sana”, sorry. It is for such words of wisdom, peaceful Buddhist vibes, Vietnamese all-day-breakfast and coffee with condensed milk, and for Pho soup, of course, that people love to visit Kim Nguyen at her two premises on the East Coast. 

The new Hanoi House is a tiny café on the main road in Paje. Renovated along Zen principles with the entrance facing east, it is a quiet oasis on a very busy street. 

Kim, 33, came from Hanoi to Zanzibar in 2019, and stayed. “I only learnt here how to cook”, she says. Her Duyen beach restaurant at the Sherazad Hotel in Jambiani is another big draw. “Zanzibar reminds me of my childhood in Vietnam”, the former social worker says. Home style cooking is her trademark, herbs like basil and coriander she finds here, but she imports Asian noodles. “Eat them with chopsticks”, Kim Anh advises with a smile, “it makes you more mindful.”

Hanoi House Café, Paje, Ph. +255 772434 995

Duyen beach restaurant @Sharazad, hotel, Jambiani, 11:00-22:00, Mondays closed

It’s not the label, which makes you green but the content. This certainly applies to the Blue Oyster Hotel, a family-run, popular hideout with 18 rooms in Jambiani. The hotel, opened in 1999, can pride itself of being the very first in Zanzibar to receive the “Responsible Tourism Tanzania Certification” (RTTZ) at the highest, so-called ‘tree level’. “We had to fulfil 272 criteria for that in an auditing process”, says Simon Beiser, who together with his brother Anwar runs the beach property founded by their father, the late Klaus Beiser.

Sorry, no pool

There is no pool and no air conditioning. Instead “we have the ocean on our doorstep, coastal winds and fans in the rooms”, says Anwar Beiser: “Responsible tourism has a high importance for our daily business.” A simple set-up of only four solar panels provides hot water for the entire hotel, while a natural basin filters grey water for gardening use. All waste is collected and recycled. Staff are encouraged to bring their trash from home to learn how to separate it. “It’s the simplicity of most ideas which strikes me most”, says manageress Louise Tinning, 29, who holds a bachelor degree in sustainable tourism. 

Staff from the neighbourhood

Other pillars of green success include fresh seasonal dishes. No endangered fish, but a local catch, fruits, veggies and meat from local farms. “Aware and well-trained staff”, says Tinning, is also very important. Many of the thirty or so staff members come from neighbouring villages, all are properly health insured and were kept on board even during the pandemic. 
Blue Oyster has started a foundation for schools and maternity support in the neighbourhood. Captain Zapi, a former fisherman, takes guests on popular sunset cruises in an ngalawa outrigger boat - one of the many examples of Zanzibari being integrated in the hotel. But the most special Blue Oyster green trick is the most simple: Everyday around 5 pm while guests are happily turning their sunbeds towards the gentle late-afternoon sun, a young waiter goes around to collect early dinner orders. Fresh coconut crusted fish today? Or better spinach stew with chapatis? “With early orders we avoid throwing away at least twenty portions per night”, explains Louise Tinning. So easy a conscious holiday can be! 

Tree house for a parliament

The Pritzker prize for architects is what the Oscar is for Hollywood stars. In 2022, for the first time an African architect won the most prestigious award. Diébédo Francis Kéré from Burkina Faso is known for innovative buildings made of ancient material such as clay and wood and for his sense of “giving back to the community”. 

57 year old Kéré studied carpentry and architecture at the Technical University of Berlin, where he has his own architecture firm until today. After his studies one of his first designs was for a school in his home village in Burkina Faso, where he grew up  as one of 13 siblings.

In 2017 he designed the Serpentine Pavilion at Kensington Garden in London, in 2019 one of his most iconic buildings, a wooden parliament for Benin, a project still in planning. It is inspired by the concept of the Palaver Tree, an African  tradition of gathering under a tree to make consensual decisions.  Kéré has received multiple awards for his contribution towards ‘architecture for humans’; including the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture. His work is spread across four continents and in numerous countries like Mali, Yemen, China and the United States of America. 

The Pritzker Prize was established in Chicago in 1979; architecture stars like Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have received it.

Coral reefs are the rainforests of the sea. And yet, in Zanzibar they are diminishing at an alarming speed. In Mnemba, corals are now artificially re-grown. 

Corals are critically important ecosystems hosting more than 25 per cent of all marine life. Their decline threatens local livelihoods, fisheries and tourism. The pressures on Zanzibar’s reefs mirror threats facing coral reefs around the world: increasing water temperatures resulting from climate change, tropical cyclones, destructive fishing practices, plastic waste and, last but not least, unregulated tourism. 

The reefs adjacent to Mnemba Island and northern Unguja Island – a very popular snorkelling and diving spot - annually contribute an estimated one million dollars to the local economy via eco-tourism. However, the pressure on these reefs “has led to their rapid degradation, with live coral cover significantly reduced to only five per cent of the reef area”, says the environmental group “Ocean without borders”. A coral reef restoration project on Mnemba Island now includes a quite spectacular community-owned artificial reef site. 

Tiny corals growing up like babies

The project kicked off in September 2021. An area near the original Mnemba Island Reef was selected as a living underwater laboratory for the project. In 15 so-called coral nurseries made of nets and frames new corals are re-grown. The “successfully cultivated coral colonies will soon be transplanted onto degraded sections of the Mnemba Reef”, the organisation announced. The experiment is comparable to a hair transplant for a bold guy. 

At this crucial point some funding from the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) became available. Against several competitors worldwide 30,000 euro were awarded to the Zanzibar group of Dr Tessa Hempson, a marine biologist, diver and special representative of Mnemba owner andBeyond. The activist said: “We are thrilled to receive this important funding that will have far-reaching benefits across marine research and education in Zanzibar.” 

More pressure by more hotels?

But what about the on-going pressure on the reef by ever expanding tourism on the island? Directly opposite the quiet Mnemba private island with its small barefoot luxury retreat , a large new hotel and villa project with more than 1000 beds are being built on mainland Zanzibar. “The andBeyond team together with the marine conservation department in Zanzibar are keeping a close eye on these developments to ensure no further negative environmental impact”, the company said.

The reef rebirth in Mnemba is one of the daily activities undertaken by “Oceans Without Borders”. Three days a week marine rangers go underwater to check on the coral nursery. It’s a scientific task almost like a space mission – but underwater. To create the artificial new colony, corals were collected from a variety of sites around Mnemba Island. The GPS location of every small part is recorded before it is glued with cement to the so-called coral table. To ensure healthy growth, algae is brushed off each coral piece. The fragments, a mix of different species ensuring genetic biodiversity, take between 25 and 40 weeks to grow into a transplantable coral colony. 

Local reef custodians

A team of local marine rangers, headed by coordinator Nancy Iraba, collects the research data. School learners, young people, boat operators and fishermen have already been brought into the boat, so to speak. They learn about tending the underwater nursery, are involved in beach erosion surveys and spend plenty of interactive community time. The next phase of the project will create a full additional reef. Fishers, tour guides and school children will become local reef custodians – for a healthy sea in Zanzibar. 

EXCLUSIVE How Zanzibar will turn small islands into big-time holiday spots

19 small islands are to become prime luxury hideaways. THE FUMBA TIMES was given exclusive access to the amazing plans for the first of them, Pamunda A and B. 

Meet Lukáš Šinogl, the new prince of – well, not Zamunda – but Pamunda. The 34 year old rightly feels like having entered a blockbuster, similar to Eddie Murphy as crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda, a Hollywood mega success in the 80s. Šinogls company, the owners of renowned 5-star Tulia Beach Resort in Pongwe Pwani, was given the much-fought-over green light to develop two tiny islands, Pamunda A and B, just south-west off the Fumba peninsula. Budget: 30-50 million dollars, coincidentally just what Hollywood spent on making Murphy’s “Coming to America”.

The uninhabited Pamunda isles – until now merely coral rag bush country – are two of ten small islands recently handed over to investors by the government for a total of 261,5 million dollars in expected investments. “This shall boost the blue economy and open up more investment opportunities for Zanzibar”, a government spokesperson explained the purpose of the deal, happy about the cash flow. And because the initiative, which attracted over 50 affluent bidders, went so well, Zanzibar immediately decided to put another nine of his small isles up for grabs.

Zanzibar goes Maldives

 “But we do not sell them, we only lease them”, assured Shariff Ali Shariff the public. The director of the Zanzibar Investment Promotion Authority (ZIPA) and Investment Minister Mudrik R. Soraga are the driving force behind the island scheme. Strategic investment is the key word of the deal: the daring financiers, whether local or foreign, are promised wide benefits in return for their island venture such as a 50 per cent exemption of income tax for ten years. 

The envisaged small-island-tourism will bring a touch of Maldives to Zanzibar. Pamunda’s winning design is not just luxury but upper-upper-luxury: a circle of stilted water villas will be connecting the two Pamunda islands of together six hectares. On the slightly elevated islands, premium restaurants, bars and event space will be placed. The 16 water and 7 coral villas, each ultra-spacious with more than 300 square metres, will form a private wellness world complete with a resident doctor, sauna, gym, spa, home office. Does the lady of the house require a hairdresser? “She’ll be served in her private salon”, envisages Šinogl. Guests arrive by boat or helicopter.

No bling-bling, please!

“Will have no bling-bling”, insists the gentle, down-to-earth manager, among whose clients has been the Sultan of Oman. “Even VIPs can take their masks off with us.” His visitors want “the real thing”, he says, “genuine, natural, quality relaxation, hakuna matata, but with quality.” The architectural plans for Pamunda are drawn, the environmental assessment studies done. “Zero harm to the environment”, promise the developers; bungalows will be placed four metres above sea level facing east, taking tides, wind and yes, also global warming, into consideration.

All small-island-candidates, the ministry says, were tested but only a few found worthy of the projects after screening their financial and operational capacity. All had to prove “ability to conserve the environment, biodiversity, cultural heritage and community development”- lest no one would accuse the government of selling its assets. For cultural festivities Zanzibari still have access to the islands. Lukáš Šinogl and the two investors behind him, all hailing from the Czech republic, passed the test without hesitation.

Green care learnt in Fumba

They have learnt to master the game at the Tulia resort, opened in 2015 and one of Zanzibar’s best five star retreats. 16 bungalow suites, 125 staff, manicured gardens and a service so perfect one doesn’t even notice it, are the backbone of the property. At Tulia, Champagne is all-inclusive and so is a waterslide, rather unusual for a luxury hotel but much loved by children. Especially impressive is the green back-up, developed by the permaculture team of Fumba Town: 250 hens and 150 ducks happily roam around a huge ever-green farm in the back of the beach property which produces all there is to eat and enjoy by Tulia guests. Friendly maids are mopping shiny mahogany villa floors with lemon grass concoction, a natural insect killer.

“Much of what we have learnt here, we will also put into practice at the future Pamunda resort”, says the general manager. There, villas will start at $3200 - per night.  For Šinogl and the government the ultra-luxury concept makes sense. Presently, only one per cent of accommodation in Zanzibar is in the premium range. “Zanzibar is too small to go for quantity; high-value-tourism is the better option”, says the manager. And who knows, maybe the concept will harvest just as much for Zanzibar as the Prince of Zamunda, who brought in 350 million dollars at the box office.


Christo, the famous wrapping artist, would surely have loved it. A huge black fabric covering an entire block of new apartments dropped down with the precision of a stage curtain during the official opening of The Soul residential resort in Paje a few weeks ago. When the curtain fell, a dozen new homeowners from Tanzania, Kenya, UAE and from as far as the US and Canada ran towards the building to examine and take over their African investment. “It’s so beautiful, I don’t want to live anywhere else”, exclaimed an African-American lady from Panama, who said she is planning to spend her retirement in Zanzibar.  

The paint has not yet dried on the facade, ten more apartment blocks and a huge man-made lagoon are still in the making, but for Zanzibar, the holiday complex in the hinterland of kite-surfing hotspot Paje, only about 300 metre walking distance to the beach, is already making history. It is an entirely new player within the tourism landscape. The first-ever residential resort on the island offers holiday apartments for sale. The first residential leisure facility falling under a new condominium law entitling foreigners to buy property on the island. And thirdly, it implements environment-friendly wood technology still rarely used in multi-storey buildings. “Zanzibar is propelling itself into the ranks of leading timber builders all over the world with this project”, says Thomas Just, 45, owner of Volks.house, the company constructing The Soul. 

“This feels like home”

With its modern, all-white look, industrial-type black window- and door frames and many timber elements, The Soul resort will eventually consist of eleven terraced three- and-a-half storey buildings, each with about twenty apartments, making it a total of 240 fully serviced holiday apartments. Well-equipped flats with built-in-kitchens and wardrobes range in size from one-bedroom to three-bedroom. Kids get built-in bunk beds. Global nomads eco-working spaces on rooftops, kiters their surfboard garages and all globetrotters together an organic restaurant. “This already feels like home” commented some of the new owners during the opening.

Properly managed, wood is a fully renewable resource. Volks.house company, which employs more than 80 carpenters and other workers in Zanzibar, uses prefabricated timber frames for the house structure and cross-laminated timber (CLT) for the ceilings at The Soul, expert Just explained. Only the foundation and the staircases are made of concrete for stabilisation and to keep termites away. Extensive fire tests have proven the wooden structure to be as fireproof as concrete. Another huge advantage is the prefabrication which minimises constructing mishaps.

The Soul is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Only a handful of units are still available. “We were literally overrun with interest”, says Milan Heilmann, 31, the site manager. “The Soul stands for beach-life, freestyle, leisure-oriented living. Among our buyers are young entrepreneurs, surfers and people looking for a second home or an investment.” 

Apartments from $75,900

Apartment prices range from at $ 75,900 for a one-bedroom, ideal for a single or a couple, to $163,900 for a three-bedroom holiday flat. “Where in the world can you get a property near the beach for that money”, Milan Heilmann said. 

The leisure complex is the brainchild and development of CPS, a German led company also building Zanzibar’s first eco city Fumba Town near the capital, and Dutch entrepreneur Rick Viezee. The Africa veteran who first came to Zanzibar in 1959 when there was no tourism at all, is quite a popular figure in Holland, has crossed the Sahara several times and started trans-Africa overland tours in his home country, before developing one of the biggest travel agencies of the Netherlands. The 75-year old adventurer loves Paje, for him “the right place at the right time.” 

For all the partners involved in bringing The Soul to fruition, environmental solidity and community involvement play an important role, they stressed. “Green is a currency for us”, Dietzold said: “In Tanzania we need more than 300,000 new homes every year. We need to change the way we build in the future, whether in urban developments or in leisure projects.“  A growing number of holiday-makers, that’s for sure, are eager to minimise their carbon footprint. The Soul will help them.

Zanzibar is well known as a top notch destination for tourists all around the world. Paje, located on the south east coast of the island is home to a number of water sports activities, historical and cultural activities whilst also boasting kilometers of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. 

Here are five of our favourite things to do in Paje: 

Visit the beach:

To call the scenery of the paje beaches heavenly is an understatement. The white of the sands and the clear blueness of the waters beckon to you. We love to take an afternoon off, carry a blanket, an umbrella, some drinks and the company of friends. The sight of the ocean, the various activities happening on the beach and the kitesurfers kites dressing the blue skies is just a sight not to miss.

Spice Tour:

If you know anything about the culture of Zanzibar, you will know that spices are a big part of their history. Immerse yourself in the culture of Zanzibar by joining in the spice tours, taste, smell and enjoy the lovely colors of the spices. 

Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park:

The only national park in Zanzibar, Jozani National Park boasts a big population of Red Colobus Monkeys. Additionally, this national park also hosts over 40 species of birds and 50 species of butterflies. If you are a lover of forests and all the exciting creatures to be found in there, then a trip to Jozani Park is definitely one worth taking!


Did we mention that the reefs along the Paje beaches are picturesque? If you are curious about the underwater world and the life it hosts then snorkeling is definitely an activity you want to partake in!


We wouldn't be proper fans of Paje if we did not mention kitesurfing. Paje is well known as a kitesurfer's dream destination. Whether you are a beginner, or well experienced kitesurfer, you will definitely have the time of your life on the shallow, clear blue waters of Paje. 

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