June 3, 2024
4 Min. Read



Why the whole world is migrating to Zanzibar – Who fits on the island?

Who wants to live in Zanzibar? We have asked 5 people from different backgrounds who have invested in a residential or holiday home in Fumba Town, the growing seaside community on the west coast. Maybe you discover yourself in them?

Tourism is booming and with it, foreign investment in the isles. The premier residential and holiday green city Fumba Town on the west coast has sold more than 1400 houses and apartments. But who are the people investing on the tropical island and what are their motives? Housing developer CPS wanted to know it better and contracted two research analysts, the renowned German Technical University (TU) from Berlin and Valantic, a digital transfer,ation company, to pin-point which customer groups are interested in making the big move to the up-and-coming island.

Results? Among the homebuyers from near and afar, five prototypes dominate: locals, members of the diaspora (for instance from Oman), foreigners who come for business or work, global investors and people who simply want a holiday home.  ”Safe, convenient, sustainable and community-minded – that’s the key allure of Fumba Town”, says Tobias Dietzold, one of the CPS directors. 

THE FUMBA TIMES spoke to five typical new residents. Here’s their story.

DIASPORA Naflah Abdullah Al Bahry 56, Oman, retired: “I had been looking for exactly the type of home in Zanzibar that Fumba represents; in Oman and Dubai we have similar ready-made estates and I like them. I was born and raised in Stone Town but we live in Oman. I have four children and two grandchildren. For all of us I wanted a second home, but I was afraid to build on my own or with relatives. On the other hand, I was not scared to return or invest unlike others who do not want to invest in Zanzibar given its history. I was 13 when my parents left the island. I bought three houses, renting out two of them. I am happy when I’m here. Zanzibar is a part of us.” 

LOCAL Arif Mazrui, 56, GM Fisherman Tours, the oldest travel agency of Zanzibar: “I am a Zanzibari and I love Fumba! It’s not true what some say, that Zanzibaris cannot afford to buy a home here. I know quite a number of middle- and upper-class locals who could buy 40 homes in Fumba! Some just don’t like a shared communal life - a house without walls around is still religiously unthinkable for some. My wife and I think differently, we love our 3-bedroom townhouse. It’s simple, relaxed and blends with nature. I bought early knowing it’s a good investment. I also like the fisherman of Fumba. This part of the island is not yet destroyed. Fumba is the future of Zanzibar. You have to expand your life and learn from others.”

WORK Preeti Aghalayam, 50, Director, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) Zanzibar: “It feels like a miracle that the first international branch of our famous university landed in Zanzibar not even a year ago. We had the choice of several African countries but the strong support of the government and the vibe of Fumba got us! We feel a palpable warmth here. Around 12 professors and myself needed residencies, a supermarket, security. The variety of buildings in Fumba Town, the proximity to the airport convinced us. Here, we live close enough but not on top of each other. We happily use bajaj (tuk-tuks) and buy from street hawkers. It was a big decision to locate ourselves in Zanzibar but now everybody is comfortable.” 

HOLIDAY HOME Cristina Franco, Spanish fashion designer of “Tipsy Gipsy”, based in Dubai: “During a safari in Serengeti I fell in love with Africa, and when a friend pointed out to me that there are reasonable and pretty holiday homes available in Zanzibar, I said: yes! I use my holiday home in Fumba to escape the heat of Dubai in summer, or come here directly from Spain, my home country. When I am not here I rent out. I have put a lot of emphasis on creative decoration and quality interiors. I want my visitors to have a unique experience. Anything amiss? I feel Fumba still needs a beach and a world-class holiday rental service - but with the “Chill” beach club and a pool now open, it’s getting there!”

INVESTMENT Gerard Lokossou, 51, investor and real estate broker: “Close to the international airport and to a main town on a rapidly developing island – you can hardly go wrong here. Fumba for me is a holistic place. I originally come from Ivory Coast, have lived in France, and in Nairobi I have fallen for East Africa.. I see myself as entry point for international investors in foreign countries. Two of my principles: invest in real estate in early stages and only in a quality environment. The permaculture landscape in Fumba is an asset. Zanzibar will develop further. I’m happy to take over my house here soon. I would not buy where I don’t want to live myself.” 

Homebuyers of 60 nationalities have invested in multi-cultural Fumba Town. 30% come from East Africa, 20% from Europe, 20% from the US and 15 % from the Middle-East.

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