Culture Diving Fundu Lagoon Hotel facilities Pemba Island

Part 5; Continuing the Fundu Lagoon Build

The construction of Fundu Lagoon was a labor of love that required a tremendous amount of effort and dedication from its visionary founders and the community of Pemba Island. In part 4, we spoke about how it all started, here we unpack all the details that joined together to create a truly unique place we are so lucky to call home. This read will give you a deep appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating our serene abode, Fundu Lagoon.

Since Ellis arrival from her trip in Morocco, where she got most of her design inspiration, Ellis headed to Mwenge, a market outside Dar es Salaam where traders brought artifacts to sell from all over Tanzania. Masks, sculptures, jewelry, hand-crafted fabrics, and beautiful African artifacts where all laid out on the dusty ground. Ellis found fabrics that would add vivid colours to the walls of Fundu Lagoon as well as a collection of traditional masks. “I was absolutely delighted and astounded by the different faces of tribal Tanzania – serious masks mostly, very beautiful” – recalled Ellis.

Back on Pemba Island, the workforce went from 20 to around 150 workers. Things were heating up and the second stage of building began (the back of house, kitchen and laundry). Colossal amounts of earth were dug out of the hill to level the ground for the kitchens. Despite the oppressive heat, progress seemed assured. But Zanzibar has its seasons too, most notably the rainy season. Wambaa was pounded by massive floods that filled newly dug trenches with soil and washed away newly excavated foundations. Relentless tropical storms of torrential intensity made it almost impossible to work on the site, which was now engulfed in thick, muddy sludge. Identifying this period as the most challenging and undoubtedly the lowest point during the construction, Marcus and Emma were in complete agreement. Despite the weather making working conditions nearly intolerable, they persevered and never gave up or felt defeated.

From the dusty markets of Mwenge to the pounding rains of Wambaa, every step of the way presented unique challenges that the visionary founders and dedicated workers overcame with unwavering determination. Ellis’s keen eye for design and attention to detail, combined with the craftsmanship of the workers, resulted in a truly unique and breathtakingly beautiful retreat that we are fortunate enough to call home. The construction of Fundu Lagoon is a true labor of love, and it serves as a reminder that with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck, we can achieve anything we set our minds to.

Keep a look out for Part 6 where we unravel the Fundu Lagoon build even deeper.