What is not to love about the idea of purchasing a property on a tropical island surrounded by azure blue seas – and at the same time receive residency rights for yourself and immediate family as well as a multitude of tax benefits and more?
South Africans have been flocking to Mauritius for many years in pursuit of the beautiful beaches, luxury hotels and resorts, and general idyllic lifestyle opportunities. Then in 2017 the Mauritian government made it possible for non-residents to purchase and own property on the island, and at the same time receive residency rights. This has paved the way for many South Africans to buy here – increasingly drawn to the political stability, strong economy, great tax incentives, low crime rate, and excellent quality of life.
Now there is a new kid on the block for South Africans looking to buy affordable luxury property on a tropical island, with a plethora of added benefits – Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is an archipelago located off the East coast of Africa that is characterized by a unique cultural heritage, beautiful white sand beaches, tranquil forests, and world-famous Stone Town as its historical jewel.
Like Mauritius, Zanzibar is also stable – politically, socially, and economically. Though Zanzibar is a small island economy it forms part of the Republic of Tanzania as an autonomous part of the country and which has enjoyed relatively high economic growth over the last decade, averaging 6-7% per annum (according to the World Bank). The economy is diverse with agriculture, quarrying, mining, industry, electricity generation and services all playing a part – together with tourism. Tourists flock to Zanzibar. In fact, the number of tourists visiting the island has increased dramatically in the past few years and more than 620 000 foreign tourists were recorded visiting in the 2020/2021 financial year – almost 200 000 more than was anticipated.
Strategic Investment Projects for foreign buyers Up until recently, non-residents where not able to purchase and own property in Zanzibar. However, the government has recently changed this law and announced a new tax and residency program which allows non-Tanzanian residents to invest in property on the tropical island on 99-year leases with the option to extend ownership by 49 years.
Like the Mauritian government did, the Tanzanian government is working hard to attract foreign investors to Zanzibar and has implemented Strategic Investment Projects, which allows property owners to gain significant tax benefits – such as a 15% tax rate on local income earned, no tax on worldwide income, and no capital gains tax, stamp duty or inheritance tax on properties purchased. Additionally, property investors, together with their spouses and their children under the age of 20 are eligible for residence permits lasting the duration of their ownership of a property and there is no minimum amount of time that must be spent in the country to qualify.
Where can South Africans buy property in Zanzibar? A currently-being-developed sea front resort called Blue Amber is one of these strategic investment real estate developments in Zanzibar – and the only one with an untouched natural beach, offering views of pristine Muyuni beach and Mnemba Island.
Blue Amber is the largest resort development of its kind in Africa and will feature the first all-suite hotel on the island, luxury villas for purchase, as well as East Africa’s first Signature Championship golf course.
The first phase of the project has commenced with the construction of 54 luxury pool villas which are currently available to purchase – with prices starting from only $197 125 USD for a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit with a roof-top terrace, or from $319 000 USD for a double-storey 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom villa.
Another added benefit is a payment scheme for purchasers. $5000 USD is payable upfront as a reservation payment, followed by four instalments, payable over the construction progress of the villa.
Construction of the villa residences and visitor’s centre has commenced, and the first villas are due for completion within the next twelve to fourteen months. Once fully completed, the construction of the Shirazi Resort & Villas will also be nearing completion. This all-suite 5-star hotel will boast two barefoot luxury eateries, a world-class spa, yoga pavilion and gym, as well as a beach club and pool replete with pool bar. There will also be an impressive shoreline aqua leisure centre where both residents and guests of the hotel can enjoy a multifunctional play space that includes a comprehensive water sports facility, along with a beach eatery and a selection of thoughtfully curated retail stores.
“Blue Amber will strongly attract property investors from around the globe, and the pricing also makes it an attractive option for South Africans working in rands,” says Grant Anderson, CEO of Blue Amber. “Demand for property in Mauritius since 2017 has soared – driving the sales prices up to very high levels. The villas at Blue Amber offer massive value for money in comparison, and this is truly a great opportunity for foreign investors. Added to the attractive pricing are all the benefits that go along with purchasing property in a Strategic Investment Project such as Blue Amber – tax incentives, residency permits etc.”
“Zanzibar is well poised to become the next Mauritius and I foresee immense investment potential in Zanzibar, which is a year-round leisure destination that is safe and politically stable. It is a dream destination for investors wanting to enjoy a tropical island escape, whilst also benefitting from the many tax breaks, the residency scheme, and the potential rental return on their property investment.”
Anderson explains that, when not in residence, villa owners at Blue Amber can also opt to place their property back into the rental pool – earning an attractive return on investment. The rental villas will be managed by NEWMARK Hotels and Reserves, which offers a fully integrated property management service.
“This prestigious new resort development will place Zanzibar on the map alongside Mauritius as a high-end lifestyle destination offering sound investment opportunities as a year-round permanent residential or rental destination.”