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Pole Pole Lodge

Zanzibar & the Coast

Rating: Mid-range    

Pole Pole Lodge overview

Pole Pole is a beach lodge on tiny Mafia Island, surrounded by tall palms and sea breezes. Excellent diving and snorkelling can be experienced in the nearby Chole Bay. Comfortable luxury and friendly service makes this the perfect place to unwind after a safari.

The seven spacious bungalows have polished wooden floors, mahogany furniture and door and window frames made from doussi. Verandas have large 'day beds', tables and chairs looking over the water through the palms. Bathrooms feature double washbasins, showers, bidets and toilets. Ceiling fans keep the rooms cool. Two of the bungalows are ideal for families, having two bedrooms each. 

The food here is superb, a blend of different culinary traditions using mostly organically grown food bought from local farmers and fishermen. The bar serves fresh fruit juices, a range of cold drinks, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Bottled water is provided in each bungalow daily.

Pole Pole can arrange a variety of excursions, including swimming, snorkelling and diving in Mafia Marine Park. You can also take boat cruises to other islands, enjoy quiet picnics, have a 4x4 tour of Mafia Island and visit local villages and markets. Back at the lodge, a trained masseuse offers massage, manicure and pedicure. There is also a small library with a range books and magazines, playing cards and board games. The swimming pool offers respite from the heat of the sun. 


Open: Pole Pole is open from the beginning of June to the end of March.

Location: The lodge is on Chole Bay on the southeast coast of Mafia Island, near Utende village. It is about a 30 minute taxi ride from the airstrip at Kilindoni. The flight to Mafia from Dar es Salaam takes about 30 minutes.

Rooms: There are 7 en-suite bungalows, all overlooking the bay. They provide spacious accommodation and are furnished with hand carved and antique items and have polished wooden floors. They can take an extra bed if needed. 2 of the bungalows offer family accommodation with 2 bedrooms and a shared bathroom. All rooms have large verandas with Zanzibari daybeds, chairs and a table. There are ceiling fans in the bedroom and on the veranda. Hot and cold water are available 24 hours a day.

Activities: You can go snorkelling and diving, observing the colourful fish and coral reefs. Sailing and boat trips to secluded sandbanks and beaches are popular past-times. The lodge offers 4x4 excursions across the island and to local villages. The location is good for walking, light trekking and bird watching. Staff are on hand to advise on available activities and help you plan your time.

Facilities: There is a swimming pool with a coconut wood deck and a poolside bar. The hotel is set in gardens, where you will find the Alasiri Spa, offering manicures, pedicures and massages. The restaurant serves varied cuisines including Italian. You can have a 3-course lunch and a 4-course dinner. There is a Swahili dinner once a week. You will find a selection of books, magazines and reference material in the library. Board games and playing cards are available. There is a gift shop. The lodge provides a laundry service and a safe is available at reception.

Dining: Meals are taken at individual tables.

Children: Children aged 10 and over are welcome.

Health: This is a malarial area.

Communication: There is good mobile phone coverage. The manager has internet for emergency use and there is Wi-Fi internet access by the office.

Map for Pole Pole Lodge

Lodge IconLodge Yacht IconVessel Tented Camp IconCamp Hotel IconHotel National Park IconNational Park Historic site IconHistoric site Place of Interest IconPlace of Interest UNESCO world heritage site IconUNESCO heritage site

Tracy Edwards
Christine MacDougall
Dave Lock
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customer rating

100% from
1 reviews











client reviews

Mrs. Karen Coe

"This is a charming place to spend a few days relaxing after a safari. The cottages have an almost 1930's colonial feel to them, and the location by the ocean is stunning. I had a wonderful massage from Esther, the food is really good, and it was nice to meet the Lodge dog, Eppo!"



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