3-04-2019 As much as I want to keep this experience of a lifetime to myself I have to praise the love and care that was put into this place, from the inception of the project to the way it's operated today. The design of the rooms, the integration into the nature (you could barely see this is a hotel/resort from a boat), the overall efficiency and the lovely people that make this experience is utterly impressive. The food is plentiful and amazing, the cocktails on point and the beer is icy cold.
Don't miss out on this place. It's very special.
24-03-2019 This is the perfect place to take a time out from your normal hectic schedule. The fact that internet is not available throughout the resort really help to create a more social environment where people are talking or playing games our otherwise socialise with each other. If you are looking for a party scene, this is certainly not your place. The food was fantastic and so were all the friendly staff. It is also very convenient that it is next to the diving club where I did some of the most amazing dives, I am still amazed that this island is not more known among divers. I will absolutely return to this hotel and this island.
12-03-2019 The place is very clean and so refreshing, Duncan and I had an amazing time there, the friendly staff always go the extra mile to give excellent service, the food is mouthwatering, fresh and full of flavour, not forgetting their massage treatments which very good.
06-03-2019 I know the Kenya coast well and lived there for some time, so I had assumed that nothing could ever be as wonderful.
I was wrong - this place is magical, and I can imagine that it must be a delightful place just to relax. I have to keep trying to imagine it, because my time there was absolutely full, with diving organised at the nearby Diving Centre, sunset cruises on a lovely old dhow and a truly delightful trip to a nearby little Eden on Chole Island. One of the staff even volunteered in his spare time to take me for an early morning bird watching safari. Such thoughtfulness was the rule - everybody did what they possibly could to make the stay as stress free as possible - the most difficult decisions of the day always revolved around which delicious meal to order.
I would however like to make this special plea - could everybody stop writing on Tripadvisor about the place in such glowing terms - I would quite like it to myself when I return again next year (which of course, I will).
05-03-2019 We spent 10 days at PolePole In February, mainly with the intention to dive with Mafia Island Diving. It became much more than a great diving adventure! In a nutshell: From the airport pickup to the airport drop off- Julie and her team at Pole Pole provided us with an awesome holiday. The estate itself is beautiful, calm, well thought after and exceptionally situated. The whole staff was always so friendly and attentive. We enjoyed our coffee first in the morning on our patio, loved the daily breakfast with fruit and homemade yoghurt, pancakes, toast and always 4 types of coffee of your choice. Not to mention the always excellent lunch and dinner. You always have the choice between two or three main courses out of freshly made fish, beef, poultry, vegetarian, etc. Starter, desert, excellent wines ... Also, exceptional: You do not "have to be" at the restaurant at a certain time. You are being asked when you would like your lunch (which was good for us, because the hours of the diving tours heavily depend on the tide and therefore you have your lunch sometimes at noon, sometimes at 3.30). If you cannot be there, you are provided with a yummy lunch box. Great :-) Dinner starts awesome with a cocktail or beer in one of the several beautiful locations all over the premises - always with candles around you and the ocean in your ears. The waiters are always attentive and thoughtful. Thank you, Malaika for the wonderful sunset cruises on the sailing boat - providing us with the fine Gin Tonic. Two times we had our dinner right on the beach under the stars - which was also a great experience. Julie visited us once in a while and asked whether we need anything, gave us advice about tours or just asked how our day was: Julie, we love you. You are bliss :-))) You are so great and so caring. Our "running" gag will be from now your first words when you greeted us: "We are not a hotel" ... Being irritated at first, now we know what you mean. Stick with this attitude! We appreciated it so much. There would be so much more to laud: The bungalows are beautifully equipped with everything you need, lots of wood, brass and beautiful details. Not to forget the view to the beach through the palm trees, the pool, the massages, the weak Wi-Fi ... Thank you and your team for spoiling us every day! All the best, take care, your four "divers" :-)
04-03-2019 Stayed with my 3 diving buddies for 10 days at this exceptional resort. Beautiful location, just 7 nice bungalows, but lots of space and service personnel.
Super calm, relaxed atmosphere. Julie, the manager, takes care that you are feeling at home and that your wishes become true. Service personnel is super nice and helpful.
Food is excellent, seafood is fresh and comes directly from fishers at the island.
Eating schedules are flexibly adjusted to your daily plans – lunch at 12 or 3pm – all possible.
Not to mention the dinners at the beach or the lovely sunset cruises that can be booked ad hoc.
For divers like us it’s the perfect place as the Dive Base (Mafia Island Diving) is a 10 min walk away. David, the manager, stops by every evening at Pole Pole to plan the next day with you, pick up is usually by boat at the resort beach. The protected Island Marine Park and its abundance and variety of reef fish is a diver’s dream!
So – in a nutshell – just the perfect location to relax and catch some exciting dives!
23-02-2019 Staying here was a dream. The views, the bungalow, the romantic restaurant overlooking the beach, the immaculately dressed, friendly and professional staff. We slept so well in the big bed with ceiling fan above it. The food was excellent - even for me following a mostly-vegan diet, and the packed lunches they provided for our boat diving trips were the envy of everyone else aboard! We did a lovely sunset cruise and had several excellent Swedish massages. Otherwise we were always diving - Pole have close links with mafia island diving who were around each evening to confirm your plans for the next day. Everything was so easy, relaxing and luxurious. Would love to go back one day
21-02-2019 After four days safari in the Selous and the extraordinarily sublime Siwandu camp we thought we had reach a pinnacle of luxury peace and superlative service. Pole Pole rewrote that assumption and more. Julie and the team were utterly charming and could not have been more helpful - even harvesting aloe vera from the garden everyday for my heat rash. Mafia island is Tanzania's best kept secret and the sunset cruise and the snorkeling - not to mention swimming with Whale sharks in sea as warm as a bath were memorable. Pole Pole was a beautiful lush and shady oasis with the most fantastic food imaginable and the lodges are incredibly comfortable and the linen crisp and cool. We would not hesitate in recommending Pole Pole to anyone wanting to chill and deeply relax away from the madding crowd with a lovely team of people to look after you. Asante from Edinburgh
20-02-2019 After travelling to Tanzania before and knowing the meaning of the swaheli term "Pole Pole" (take it easy, no hurry) we instantly wanted to stay at the "Pole Pole Lodge" when we discovered it on the internet! All our expectations were fullfilled ore even topped! The Lodge is located remotely in the Mafia Island Marine Park, while the island itself is allready far from everything. It has only 7 Bungalows, so all that is there (the beach, the pool, the tropical gardens, the bar & restaurant and, of course, the attention of the people working there!) is to be shared with a maximum of only about 14 people. That alone made or experience really "pole pole"! All the staff is very friendly, polite and professional, and Julie, the Lodge-manager, went out of her way to make us feel home at any time from arrival to farewell. Thanx a lot, Julie! After a minor adjustemt (the bushes in front of our Bungalow had grown very dense, so we had no view at the bay - but Julie gave us a different room right away!) we spent 7 wonderful days and never had any reason to not be satisfied. A highlight were our excursions with the Mafia diving center (we will rate that on their own page), and sorry we missed all the complementary excursions due to that. But after a private "surprise candlelight dinner" and a wonderful dinner at the beach under the stars on our last evening, we hope to come back to "Pole Pole" one of these days.?Thanks to Julie, David and all the staff for making us feel home away from home!?Asante sana!
05-02-2019 Pole Pole it’s a five star rating in every category I can imagine: Accommodations, Hospitality, Beauty, Food, Charm.
Pole Pole picked us up at the airport, and when we arrived at Pole Pole, we were greeted by Julia who is the manager and the most sincerely friendly, welcoming and delightful person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She offered us each a coconut adorned with a flower and filled with, what else, coconut water. She personally showed us around the grounds and to our bungalow where we found our beds strewn with flower petals.
I was continually amazed by the attention to detail by each of the staff. They asked each evening if we wanted coffee and tea brought to the Bungalow in the morning; and came at six in the afternoon to ask if we wanted a drink. The staff also facilitated and arranged transportation for different trips: to see the whale sharks; snorkeling, or sunset cruises. Pole Pole is a very relaxing place.
The beach was beautiful and you can swim at high tide. The water is crystal clear and a wonderful temperature.
23-01-2019 For us, Pole Pole was the perfect holiday getaway. It was quiet, calm, cozy. They have got a little beach that we got all to ourselves, with the warmest and nicest waters. The pool is perfect for when there is low tide. I also loved the fact that they give a couple different options for lunch and dinner. Food is really good!
The snorkeling trips are great and very well organized. Also the sunset sailing was surprisingly good!!
10-01-2019 The bungalows are spacious and beautifully done (fans, no A/C), the food is excellent, the crew is very happy and nice. The location is quiet, calm and perfect to de-stress from the daily routine. Only 7 bungalows catering for up to 18 people (5x2 + 2x4). And then there is Julie, the General Manager, who will go out of her way to make you a happy guest. She is wonderful with the staff, and she will make sure you will have an absolute wonderful time....
23-12-2018 The happy, charming, thoughtful staff and the feeling of calm that immediately envelopes you on arrival are the two things that really stand out for me.
I loved Pole Pole from the beginning. I have never stayed in a place that is set right in the trees before and it was novel and very relaxing.
I loved looking at the industrious, healthy squirrels so confident and funny going about their business a metre from where we sat on our veranda.
it was lovely looking through the lattice of deep green tropical leaves at the bright blue sea beyond, always changing, always beautiful.
The picturesque sails of the dhows sailing in and out to sea during the day and the spectacular (and surprisingly large) fruit bats crossing the pink sky at night.
it's a beautiful place, simple, but elegant and the staff make everything even better, coming to your room to ask if you would like "sundowner drinks" on your veranda, in a pavilion with a hammock looking over the sea or beside the dining room. I thought that was v special after a day of swimming with Whale Sharks (with Kitu Kiblu) or diving on the unspoiled reef with (Mafia Island Diving).
The food is healthy, fresh and delicious.
We loved everything!!
11-12-2018 I cannot speak highly enough of this place. The bungalows are stunningly designed, with beautiful touches of flowers and wooden details. The food is abundant and delicious. The view spectacular, the swimming pool perfect. The staff and service is superb.
No TV, no music, just quiet, serene and relaxed.
Really helpful with booking excursions too, whale sharks an absolute must.
9-12-2018 If you are looking for a place to escape the hustle of the present times this is a very good spot. No TV, radio or Wifi in the rooms. Just the sounds of the nature.The ocean, birds and at night the calls of the bush babies.
We have spend ten nights in November 2018 at Pole Pole and the staff put all their effort into it to fullfil our wishes. Bearing in mind being on a remote island in Africa we did not miss anything. The food was plenty and very good. We recommend to visit the spa for a massage, the ladies are doing are very good job after a dive. Coffee or tea is served with the wake up call, which we very much appreciated. Sitting with a cup of coffee on the porch and following the nature to wake up is just great.
For those not familiar with the ocean: Mafia Island is in a tidal area exposed to the forces of the ocean. Therefor you have to adjust your plans to the tides and the weather.
Our special thanks to the staff of Pole Pole, great people giving us the feeling to be welcomed. Thank you for sharing you beautiful place with us. The management of Pole Pole is doing a great job in employing and training local people. With your stay you support the community. We will definetly try to come back.
Asante sana! Your icelanders!
6-12-2018 We spent 4 nights in this lovely lodge. The food was excellent with an Italian touch and our accommodation confortable and quiet. In the evening we had lovely a gin and tonic on our deck while admiring the sunset. Nice, clean and safe beach. We went on a sailboat trip for the day and had a delicious lunch on a nearby beach. Every body was so nice and helpful.
05-10-2018 Wer Erholung und Ruhe in fast unberührter Natur sucht ist hier genau richtig. Die Bungalows sind zwar einfach aber schön eingerichtet. Die ganze Anlage ist sehr sauber und gepflegt. Der wahre Luxus ist daß es nur 7 Bungalows gibt dh. bei voller Belegung ca. 14 Personen. Der Service ist einfach fantastisch, wir haben uns rundum wohlgefühlt und es wurde uns jeder Wunsch von den Augen abgelesen. Besonders hervorzuheben ist die frische und leichte Küche. Afrikanische Gerichte mit italienischen Einfluss und viel frisches Seafood, täglich frisch zubereitet. Die Managerin Alex hat sich täglich persönlich um jeden Gast gekümmert und Ausflüge etc. perfekt organisiert. Das gesamte Team, vom Service bis zum Housekeeping ist wirklich gut organisiert und sehr freundlich. Wir waren traurig als wir abreisen mussten, aber wir werden auf alle Fälle wiederkommen! Vielen Dank liebes Pole Pole Team für die unvergesslichen Tage!
01-10-2018 - My wife and I spent a week of our honeymoon at Pole Pole on Mafia Island this past August and to our delight it was everything that we had hoped for; rustic eco friendly elegance in a remote location. The hotel is tucked away under a grove of palm trees along a sleepy area of coastline in the Marine Park. Daily excursions with the dive shop next door, Mafia Island Diving, took us whale watching, snorkeling, and to uninhabited sandbars where swimmable beaches were surrounded by shallow, warm aqua water. They were the most beautiful beaches i've ever seen!
The food was superb all week (they catered to our vegan and vegetarian preferences) and managers Alex and Mussa made us feel as though we were their only guests the entire week.
Pole Pole's intimacy allows the resort to feel quiet and private even if it's full which is something we love. For us the charming lack of "action" was wonderful. If you're drawn to far away remote spots that are uniquely beautiful you'll probably love it here. We did!!
01/10/2018 - A truly stunning setting with absolutely fantastic views. The food here is the best on the Island. Extremely well run and managed with lovely staff. Menu changes every day and if you’re lucky when you’re here they will do the Swahili night with authentic Swahili dishes this is an experience not to be missed. A big thank you to all the team at Pole Pole we can’t wait to come back.
28/09/2018 - My friend and I took advantage of the special offer of 5 days for the price of 4, and couldn't have been happier. Lovely accommodation in private bandas set among coconut palms overlooking the sea. We loved the daily excursions on offer and included in the package price, managing to visit Chole Island to see historical ruins (dating back to the slave and spice trade) and traditional wooden ship building, snorkelling among the tropical fish and a sunset cruise. The food was excellent - a combination of locally available ingredients and Italian style cuisine - the lime granita and fresh fish a favourite. We had free 15 minute massages, and if we'd had time we would have gone for a full treatment. Alex, the manager, is a delight, and super responsive to needs. I ventured away from the lodge for a day, hiring a local motorbike and exploring other parts of the island including the lighthouse (don't climb it if you suffer from vertigo!), Kanga Beach, which is stunningly beautiful, and the hippo lagoon where a local man calls in the hippos.
A wonderful stay within Mafia's marine park.
11/09/2018 - My family and I spent a very happy few days on holiday at Pole Pole. Laid back charm, understated luxury, and a team (led by the new Alex) that was top notch, with nothing too much trouble. Delicious food, and comfortable bungalows.
1-07-2018 If you are looking for somewhere to relax and completely switch off from the world, then this is definitely the perfect place! There are only 7 bungalows in total so it will never be crowded and everyone is treated as an honoured guest. The staff are very friendly and happy to give advice on things to do in the area. The rooms are comfortable with a lovely balcony overlooking the sea ….. There is a nice pool area where you can site and relax and read a book or have a spa treatment if you don't want to sit on the private beach….. Mafia Diving Centre is a short walk along the beach or, at high tide, you get picked up from the hotel by boat to be whisked away to visit a neighbouring island, go snorkelling, diving or enjoy a sunset cruise…. David from the dive centre visits the hotel to list out the options for the following day. We were thrilled to be able to watch turtles hatching on a nearby island as this definitely wasn't one on the itinerary and a lovely surprise.
So, for a relaxing break, we can definitely recommend Pole Pole!
16/06/2018 We had the most wonderful holiday at Polepole. The service is outstanding. The food was amazing - a real highlight of our stay and very unexpected for such a remote getaway.
The staff are all incredibly friendly and nothing is too much trouble.
Everyone went out of their way to make sure that we had a relaxing and peaceful holiday.
The resort’s affiliation with the Mafia Island Dive Centre makes your activities during the day a very easy extension of your holiday. There is one free, daily activity offered by the resort through the Dive Centre. Every evening the owner of the Dive Centre, David, comes to the resort for a quick discussion of the potential activities that are available for the following day. This is a wonderful service as the tides and weather can change quickly on Mafia, so it was useful and easy to discuss your next day’s activity in this way. David is extremely friendly and easy going, nothing is too much trouble and his focus on, and love for the environment and nature was evident throughout. What we felt was great, was that he has definitely instilled this attitude in his staff who were so friendly and accommodating and had a very real connection with the environment that they live and work in.
I would highly recommend this holiday to anyone wanting to relax completely and get away from it all. You will not be disappointed!
26-05-2018 My husband and I had an amazing week at Pole Pole at the end of our honeymoon. It was the perfect place to relax after a busy couple of weeks on safari. Paola was so helpful in the lead up to our visit. She helped us book our flights to and from Mafia Island and was very responsive throughout the process of transferring money. From the moment we arrived the service was impeccable.We were collected from Mafia Airport and given a thorough welcome at Pole Pole.
From then until the moment we left we were truly looked after.
A real highlight was that every night at 7pm we would gather for a drink at the restaurant/ bar area and chat with the lovely team from Mafia Island Diving about what activity we wanted to do the next day. Several were included in the accommodation price, including an amazing fish bbq on a sandbar, snorkeling and a sunset sail. They also organised our whale shark excursion (which costs extra). It was so incredible to have all the organisation done for you. They even packed little snack packs for us in case we got hungry while out on an activity.
Our bungalow was lovely. Spacious, clean, comfortable and with a wonderful balcony area where we spent a lot of time relaxing on the day bed, gazing at the ocean. The food at Pole Pole was incredible. There is NO risk of going hungry. Each day we enjoyed a different 3 course meal at lunch and dinner. We loved how small Pole Pole is. Even though it was pretty well full the whole time we were there, that’s still only about a dozen people, and we loved chatting to people from around the world.
Cannot recommend a visit to Pole Pole and Mafia Island enough!
1/05/2018 This is one of the most beautiful places to stay in the world. Right on the beach, with really fantastic and private bungalows. The staff are friendly and attentive, and the meals are delicious with a good mix of local seafood. The owner, Massimo, was also kind enough to organize boat trips for us, and I found him a really great host.
7/04/2018 Siamo stati ospiti del Pole Pole nel mese di febbraio. La struttura si presenta bene a partire da sito, chiaro ma esaustivo e impreziosito da bei disegni. Arrivati a Pole Pole siamo stati accolti con garbo e professionalità.
Tutto corrisponde alle aspettative. Le poche stanze sono sparse su un’estesa collina che consente a ciascun ospite di godere di privacy e silenzio. Le stanze sono spaziose e curate nei dettagli d’arredo e nella pulizia. Il servizio di tutto il personale è’ attento e premuroso ma discreto al tempo stesso. La spiaggia è’ piccola e raccolta e protetta dai venti che spesso spazzano la parte opposta dell’isola. Nel prezzo è’ inclusa un’escursione al giorno ed è’ una formula che noi abbiamo apprezzato molto per godere delle tante bellezze, acquatiche e non, della zona
21/03/2018 Came here to relax after climbing Kilimanjaro - it was amazing. Such excellent service, and the food!!! Amazing seafood. Great snorkelling. Swam with a whale shark. The day bed on the patio was a bonus!
05-03-2018 I would absolutely recommend this place. We had only booked for 5 or 6 nights and decided to stay for 10. With the daily tour included in the stay you always have something great to do. The staff was amazing, kind and top service oriented in a nice relaxed and comfortable manner. And this is the place to go for couples, romantic, no kids and only a few bungalows so it's still okay private.Vi stayed at cottage nr. 5 or 6. The one with the biggest padio, sligthy different in the style from the other cottages, but the one with the greatest view.
I wanna go to Pole Pole again and can only give them my best recommendations.
10-02-2018 We stayed here two nights and loved the amazing meals, attentive and very friendly/kind staff, peaceful environment, no TVs, and the dining room was just very special, too. You walk into lodge and all seats in the dining lodge are in the open in a covered, beautiful wooden lodge with a ocean view and where no shoes are worn. The service is outstanding. Coffee can be (and was) delivered to your bungalow and someone comes by at 6 pm to take an order for a sundowner. Mafia Island is quiet and nice. We did see one whale shark on an excursion and we took the trip to Chole Island (10 minute boat ride) which was interesting. We did a half day of diving and it was nice and well-organized and I did not even need to lift a tank. If you want to relax, this is the place to do it. Very small lodge.
31/12/2017 Three things really stand out from our six nights at Pole Pole:
1. The joy of all the people that come together to make staying here such a positive experience. Everyone always has a smile and takes enormous pride in making your stay memorable.
2. The food is truly great. Even my 16 yr old son enjoyed a steady diet of seafood, home made bread, unique preparation of local vegetables and soups, and breakfast any way you like. Also, you can eat on your own schedule depending on when your activities start or end.
3. The grounds are immaculately kept. Each bungalow, the main lodge, all the paths, the shore area are all kept free of leaves, easy to walk bear foot, and the pool was a daily refreshing oasis after warm days of diving, touring, or just enjoying the grounds.
I would highly recommend Pole Pole while stayIng on Mafia Island.
16-12-2017 We stayed in Pole Pole for 9 days - it felt like 9 days in paradise. It is unbelievable how quickly you can calm down just because there is no noise, in particular no technical noise, just the whisper of the leaves of the trees in the breeze and the exotic chirp of the birds, and sometimes the people sing native tunes - it is just natural silence, relaxing and peaceful. With just 7 bungalows there are not that many guests there, mostly out for diving or snorkeling, so sometimes it feels as if you would be even alone in the wonderful area which is kept pretty natural. Many places to stay and enjoy the scenery, down at the beach, on your private veranda, in the open air library, or at the lovely bar which allows to watch the bats flying from Chole island to Mafia in the twilight, while you are sitting there, having a glass of wine and recounting the adventures of the day above and below the surface in low voice waiting for another superb dinner. That is Pole Pole. And a service team who seems to have only one concern: To make this stay for you to the best stay ever.
1-11-2017 I am so glad that we decided to spend a few nights on Mafia and I am doubly glad that we ended up at Pole Pole.
The food was amazing. The accommodation was lovely. The staff were the most attentive and sweet that I have ever met I think and Mussa seemed to have his finger on the pulse of everything. That is, if you consider Mafia to have much of a pulse, and I say that in a good way. This place was all about relaxing for me.
We loved our snorkling trip and we were lucky enough to see a whale shark in late October. But it really was the attention to each guest staying at Pole Pole that blew me away.
28/10/2017 Having been off grid for the rest of our honeymoon we had mixed emotions about moving onto Pole Pole for the last part of our trip but Pole Pole has a good balance between rustic charm and modern convenience. The staff were attentive and professional and made every effort to make our stay a memorable one.
The food was to a very high standard and we were treated to a private meal as we were on our honeymoon as well as very relaxing massages in the spa.
A number of activities were included in our stay here including a very good snorkeling trip with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide. The resort is very small so it was easy to find a spot to relax by ourselves to enjoy the tropical island breeze.
We would definitely recommend Pole Pole to those who want to escape modern life but still expect some creature comforts.
25-10-2017 All I can say is I am SO glad we chose to stay here. From my first contact with Paola to enquire about reservations to our final departure, everything was perfectly taken care of for us. Mussa (THANK YOU Mussa!!) and his entire team at Pole Pole made our stay so relaxing and stress free. Many people seem to come here after a safari to chill, but we came to Tanzania just for Mafia and the diving. With only 7 bungalows, everything feels quite private. My husband enjoyed 3 massages during our stay. I especially loved that we could have coffee delivered to our bungalow in the morning to enjoy on the terrace before heading to breakfast or venturing off to any activities planned for the day. They'll take your order for sundowners on your terrace in the evening, but we often ended up hanging out at the beach for a beer after diving. Like many other reviewers have mentioned, Mafia Island Diving runs many of the activities and one of the team from the dive center comes over each evening to discuss what you might want to do the next day. Because our dives were during the middle of the day, Pole Pole packed a lunch for us each day and delivered it directly to the boat in the cool box. Easy peasy. We basically just needed to show up on time! The photos you see definitely don't do Pole Pole justice. It's even more beautiful and serene in person. If you like a small island vibe with a good mix of relaxing and activities (turtle hatching, whale watching, sunset sails, village visits, snorkeling or diving, etc.), Pole Pole is definitely the perfect place to spend your holiday!
29/08/2017 It was one of the highlights of our trip. We've been travelling for days and days and this friendly lodge, right on the beach, was one of the things that made our stay in Africa a wonderful experience.
The staff is very friendly. The venue couldn't be better. It's right at the beach and still near the airstrip. The dive center is next door and run by very professional team. The bungalows themselves are quite basic, but were clean. The breakfast was really good - lots of fresh fruit, cookies and really tasty omelette with cheese and bacon cooked into it.
Friendly manager and helpful whenever we needed something.
The place is tidy and clean. And I mean clean by European standards.
We would've stayed longer if we could.
29/08/2017 Me and my husband spent the last week of our honeymoon in this wonderful place. It's perfect to relax after the safari, we loved everything about Pole Pole, the kindness of all the staff, the peace and silence of the place, the delicious food and the almost untouched nature of Mafia island. We will come back for sure!
26/08/2017 7 Bungalows, ein kleiner Strand, ein Pool und ein engagiertes freundliches Team, das macht Pole Pole aus und ist ein wunderbares Konzept. Zusammen mit der örtlichen Diving Station werden wunderbare Ausflüge organisiert: Sunset- Cruise, Tauchen, Whale-Watching und Barbecue auf einer kleinen Sandbank machen den Aufenthalt unvergessen.
24/08/2017 Wonderful trip. From the time we checked in we had exceptional service. Has the feel of a "non-strip" hotel. Quieter and more sedate. The food was great. Nice to sit by the pool. They have a lovely buffet and a la carte menu. Staff and manager were all very friendly. Two particular employee (I believe the names were salma and yoseph) really made our stay special. They made us feel very welcome and well tended to.
21/08/2017 Wonderful rooms with Indian Ocean views as well as great trips to see the Blue lagoon, marimam sandbank BBQ, fabulous snorkelling at Chloe island bay and finished with cocktails around the pool while watching the flying foxes fill the air above. Also with great food and service this small hotel was very comfortable. Highly recommended.
18/08/2017 I had a few days to relax after my Kilimanjaro climb in July and decided to try the snorkeling at Mafia Island, and booked myself at Pole Pole "Slowly Slowly" in Swahili. I have already booked myself at Pole Pole for February 2018 with my wife.
Serenity, Quiet, Breezy, Safe (I never locked my doors) This 7 Room Boutique Eco lodge located about 20min from the airport and is perfect for those who really want to get away. The snorkeling IS super and is expertly run (PADI dive center, nearby) The 3 meals are included and the food is fresh and plentiful. The staff is friendly and always about to assist you at any time, but never intrusive. This property is very very quiet...no music, some internet, no TV, just gaze at the incredible stars at night. Bring a book or get one from their library. One daily excursion is included in the price, or do absolutely nothing it's up to you. Have coffee in the room in the morning....and then go from there. The diving and snorkeling will bring you to Mafia island, the Stars at Pole Pole will guide you back.
17/08/2017 Perfect end to our family safari holiday. We had thought the wildlife was over but we're whale watching humpback whales on day 1 and having our paid discovery first dive on an insanely perfect coral reef on day 2. Loved everything about it. Thank you. We travelled with our 4 children aged 18 to 12. All loved it.
9/08/2017 Mafia è un isola molto poco turistica, molto diversa da Zanzibar.
Ci sono due paesi dal sapore veramente Tanzaniano. Al di fuori dei resort nulla è costruito per i turisti, l atmosfera è veramente bella.
il Pole Pole è un bellissimo resort. Il personale meraviglioso, il cibo è ottimo e i bungalow sono davvero motlo belli. Pochi bungalow uguale molta tranquillità. Se cercate un posto "vivo" di notte non fa per voi, ma in generale non fa per voi Mafia. Se si decide di andare a Mafia è per una vacanza rilassante in immersione totale con la natura
8/08/2017 My son and I spent three days here and loved it. It's small (7 bungalows) and the service/staff couldn't be better. There is a pool, massage area (free while we were there to make up for some construction they were doing which we did not even notice!), open air dining, and many 'relaxing' areas. We went diving via the dive center next door, went to see turtle hatchings on a nearby island and went whale watching followed by a stop at an incredible sand bar in the center of the sea. We got to know the other guests and enjoyed cocktails and dining with them. The beach at low tide doesn't allow for swimming and we actually did not use the beach. The rooms were beautiful, with outside private lounge areas as well. Wifi by the pool only. You are given one free excursion via boat per day (although we opted for the paid excursions instead). The coral/diving was amazing.
27/07/2017 These guys call themselves eco luxury. And they are. I especially loved the recycled bombay sapphire bottles as water bottles with customised stoppers. No nasty plastic water bottles here, a global scourge. Glorious, kick back, barefoot luxury. And I loved that they encouraged us all to make the most of this incredible destination. They enjoy a tight partnership with Mafia Island Diving to get you out onto and under the sea whether its island walking, turtle hatching, whale watching or diving. Best thing about Mafia is that there's lots to see and do but not alot of other people seeing and doing.
20/07/2017 We were lucky enough to spend a week at Pole Pole. I cannot think of a better place to relax and enjoy life at the beach. The setting is gorgeous. The bungalows are great and perfectly appointed. The food is superb and a wonderful blend of African and Italian flavors. The messages in the spa… so relaxing. They also work closely with Mafia Island Diving which is a great dive shop! But the stand out here really is the people. All the staff is friendly and attentive. We really felt cared for. Finally, I can’t say enough about how great Paola is. She calmly and kindly took care of EVERYTHING. It started from our first email exchanges. It continued when we first arrived and we were welcomed with fresh young coconut cocktails. Every evening at dinner she made sure that we were having a great time and help customize the outings for the next day. She even helped arrange a special Spice Tour in Zanzibar the day after we left Pole Pole. I hope someday I will get a chance to go back to this very special place.
12-07-2017 Our extended family spent a week at Pole Pole after being on safari for many days. It was the perfect end to a great Tanzanian adventure. Our group of 6 people took up 3 of the 7 bungalows, and they are all spacious and lovely. The verandas are private and have views of the ocean. There are even swinging day beds on the bungalow verandas that have mosquito nets if needed (they weren't!). Breezy and beautiful.
We had coffee and tea brought to us in our bungalows every morning before breakfast! The food was delicious--there was homemade bread and pasta and lots of seafood. We had Swahili meals, Italian meals, and curries as well, all were wonderful. The staff members were plentiful and attentive. They made great cocktails too. And the massages we received in the spa bungalow were top notch! All of the resort bungalows were brilliantly designed. At sunset they light the sandy paths from the sleeping bungalows to the restaurant and bar bungalows with lanterns. It is beautiful!
The coordination and personal service between Mafia Island Diving and Pole Pole resort was seamless. Each night at 7pm David came to speak to us about planning for the next day. The daily snorkeling excursions were great, and the divers in our group were thrilled with the expertise and professionalism of the dive crew.
So special! We loved every minute.
20-04-2017 Il soggiorno al Pole Pole nell’isola di Mafia è stata una magnifica esperienza. Abbiamo potuto trascorrere una bella vacanza in pieno relax, in un ambiente accogliente per chi cerca il vero contatto con la natura con un ottimo livello di servizio. Grande attenzione ai clienti sia per quanto riguarda il resort, che affaccia su una spiaggia privata che per quanto riguarda il relax con un ottimo centro massaggi. I Bungalows sono accoglienti e spaziosi e con un arredamento molto ben curato. Escursioni magnifiche con possibilità di visitare le isole vicine e fare gite con la barca a vela, per fare snorkeling o per ammirare la splendida barriera corallina
28-03-2017 My husband and I spent 6 wonderful nights at Pole Pole. The food was amazing and the staff made us feel so welcome and special. We especially enjoyed the coffee delivered to our bungalow in the morning. Our bungalow was beautiful with a wonderful balcony. I had a wonderful massage and manicure -- please be sure to take advantage of these services. We did a variety of activities -- snorkeling with whale sharks, diving, snorkeling, island tour and sunset dhow ride. These were all very enjoyable. If you are going to Mafia Island I would highly recommend Pole Pole!
27-03-2017 You will never regret coming to Pole Pole. The location is amazing. The staff takes so good care of you that you never want to leave. I can warmly recommend Pole Pole to anyone who wants a truly relaxing vacation. Go swim with the whale sharks, dive or simply relax at the balcony of your sweet bungalow. Well worth the price! I would love to come back.
15-03-2017 We came to Pole Pole with my bf for a week. This is an absolute paradise on earth. Beautiful gardens, very lovely lodges and romantic views over the ocean. The staff treats all guests like kings and queen and you can really switch off at Pole Pole. The restaurant food deserves Michelin star - only local ingredients, all fresh, freshly baked bread and you can adjust the menu to your dietary preferences.
There is no wish that cannot be fulfilled at Pole Pole. Absolutely worth seeing and experiencing. Excellence is present everywhere where they engage.
13-03-2017 I stayed 4 nights at this hotel while on a diving trip in Mafia Island. The rooms are comfortable and well equipped, the property is beautifully landscaped, the staff are friendly and well trained, and the food is really top notch.
The food was particularly surprising, you can really tell the Italian owners / managers spent time paying very close attention to recruiting the right chefs and training their staff. Mafia Island is super primitive and people don't come here expecting any sophistication, I was really pleasantly surprised with the food at this hotel. Really well thought of menus, very creative combinations and most importantly excellent execution. Far from your typical mundane hotel food, or the easy-way-out options you expect from such a primitive island.
The resort is tiny with only about 7 rooms, each a stand alone bungalow style room with a nice balcony / terrace - most with a sea view. Expect very personalized service with really professional staff.
I used Mafia Diving Center, which is about a 10 minute walk from this resort and the two teams are fully synchronized to the extent that we'd receive random snacks on the boat - sent by the resort team.
11-03-2017 We came to Mafia Island to dive and get away from "it all" and left feeling as though we received so much more. We did!
Pole Pole's natural beauty is intoxicating.
The service is outstanding. The food is delicious, creative and so fresh. The management and staff make all of their hard work look so effortless..The service was flawless and made us feel special and welcomed. Not to sound like a Chinese fortune but: Unplug at Pole Pole, be in the moment and you will live a long and happy life!
Warning, returning to "civilization" will NOT easy.
Thank you Pole Pole!
Tia and SF
01-03-2017 We loved our relaxing, quiet post safari stay here. We found it very comfortable for our one week stay. Small and intimate, Italian run and owned with 7 unconditioned (ceiling fans), comfortable, spacious, ensuite, sea view bungalows, 5 are stick and thatch set on stilts with open decks, 2 are plastered concrete with thatch roof. All have good privacy, and are connected by sand and rock pathways.
The open air dining/bar bungalow has individual tables - perfect for couples. Meals are served in several courses and it's best to let them know if you have a time limit. The kitchen is very accommodating for preferences. The food is most often delicious, which makes an occasional miss noticeable. Seafood is usually available.
They include a daily excursion in your stay, weather and tide dependent, discussed individually with you every evening at dinner. The beach area has sun bathing, there is also a pool with sun and shade deck and bar, massage therapists (very good), wifi is a bit spotty and available only at the office area. You do need shoes for path and beach walks but leave them at dining and bedroom entry - easy slip off water type shoes are ideal. There is some coral and oyster shells on the beach.
The management staff is very accommodating and check in with you daily once or twice to accommodate any need. All of the staff is cheerful and helpful.
Pre-breakfast tea/coffee can be arranged for room delivery. A waiter comes to the room in early evening for room served drinks. They will supply you with breakfast or lunch to go depending on your excursion. This is more of a place for couples or adults than young families, certainly no tour groups. There are mosquitoes, bring deet, and there are some biting ants on the walkways. Most at the hotel were snorkelers or divers using excellent Mafia Divers next door. You pay $20 p/d p/p for the marine park at a road toll on arrival - so you may as well get wet. The marine park has been successful in preventing destructive fishing.
18-02-2017 Pole Pole was our first stop on a trip visiting 4 places on the Tanzanian Coast. We were immediately made to feel very welcome. We liked the lay out of the property especially as we were given Bungalow number 6-second from the end so quiet though it was not a noisy place anyway. We were very happy here and the staff were lovely. Good food and lots of it, we often skipped the soup course as a bit too much.They have a folder for each room at the bar with your preferences and after breakfast you can ask for an alternative if you don't like what is on the menu for the day. After dinner you can request "bed" tea or coffee brought to your room in the morning. Massage was good, small pool a nice place to relax. Very much enjoyed our visit to Chole Island, the sunset cruise on a dhow [magical] with lovely cocktails and the walk to the Village, Utende, with Kaseem who was an excellent guide.A long sleeved shirt & not skimpy shorts etc advisable in the village as Muslim area. We did not do the whale shark tour as included free elsewhere. You do need to be able to walk up and down hill as the restaurant is at the bottom and bungalows at the top. Flip Flops or flat sandals useful as people take their shoes off on going into the restaurant.
WiFi only at reception and not brilliant so do not rely on it . Look out for the Bats at sunset coming over from Chole about 6.25/6.30 each evening. Tidal here as nearly everywhere on this coast so activities depend on the tide to a great extent.
What really made this place were Paola, Marina, Hassan, Mussa, Kaseem and the rest of the staff. Thank you to them for a wonderful 6 days.
7-2-2017 There are no words for how perfect Pole Pole is. This was the perfect end to a long safari. Here are some of the things that made it so great:
THE GROUNDS. It's just gorgeous. Beaches and palm trees and huts. The beach is on a bay with severe tides, it's true. But it's beautiful to watch them come in and out and it makes great sea life viewing.
MAFIA ISLAND DIVING. Every night, someone from Mafia Island Diving is at the bar to talk to you about what activities and dives are available the next day. We had a great time having drinks, talking to other guests about activities, and learning to relax and trust- they really do know what is going to be most enjoyable. ;-) The relationship with them is unique, it's a brief walk up the beach, and really enhances the experience.
THE FOOD. The best we had in Africa- I have CELIAC and need to be gluten free for medical reasons, not as a choice. They were beyond accommodating- making me delicious rice pancakes, versions of desserts with chickpea flour, and even frying calimari in a separate fryer with cornmeal for me. They were so sweet about it, never made me feel like a pain, and always gave me delicious options.
THE SERVICE. Everyone was really nice. It's clear this place has a great relationship with the community, and that the people who work there are taken care of, and this makes for a great environment. We really felt taken care of and spoiled, but also like everyone was genuinely friendly.
The accommodations were perfect for us- very comfortable but not over the top. Are there sometimes bugs or squirrels around? Sure. But you're in a really remote part of the world, so that's part of it.
Paola and Marina were amazing- so nice, and really gave it a feeling of home. The whole vibe is so relaxed and friendly, and it has a lot to do with their hospitality.
The only sad thing is that it's so far away. No words for how much we loved it.
6-2-2017 I have been traveling around the world. Never I got such an exceptional customer service. Paola helped me with everything, from flights tickets to diving tips. Anyone who goes to Pole Pole is assured to have a wonderful experience from the time they book to when they get there.
5-2-2017 When returning to Mafia and Pole Pole after 1,5 year it is fantastic to see how they excel and improve on our previous stay. It is something truly magic over this Island and lodge. The way Pole Pole is designed and run enables you as a guest to relax and stay in the present - to disconnect from the outside world and just enjoy what happens now. With only 7 bungalows you feel truly exclusive as a guest during your stay. The way you are greeted and met, makes this a very personal and varm stay.
The natural garden, the bungalows and different buildings are fantastic and underlines the nature and eco concept. The 2 pax bungalows have a magnificent and big veranda for relaxing - overlooking part of the garden and the Chole Bay in the background. The Room inside is big with attention to details in construction and design - luxury connected to nature. Dining is a pleasure where the kitchen brings the best out of the local ingredients, combined with a good and affordable selection of South African wines.
Since our last stay, Pole Pole improved and really managed to find the right balance between dining, relax and activities - of course up to your own preferences and balance. One thing we appreciated even more this time is the cooperation with Mafia Diving for excursions/activities - most of them included in your stay. Every evening before dinner - you discuss with Mafia Diving Centre what to do for the next day. Once the decision is made, it is just for you to show up at the agreed time. This makes it easy to explore Mafia and the Marine Park without any preparation, planning or extra cost - a unique concept of active relaxing.
A bit sad to leave after 10 days - but at the same time truly relaxed and satisfied - prepared for the global and connected world out there. One of the best vacations ever!
1-02- 2017 Posso parlare di questo posto solo per il ristorante: delizioso.
Ci siamo regalati una bella cena qualche giorno prima di partire da Mafia Island ed abbiamo trascorso una bellissima serata.
Ambiente rilassante al lume di candela con il rumore del mare di sottofondo.
Ottimo il cibo: un mix di materie prime locali cucinate in maniera ottima; dall'antipasto al dolce. Buoni vini sudafricani a mescita.
Da consigliare, se nel vostro budget, anche per un indimenticalbile soggiorno.
24-01- 2017 A week in Pole Pole was a lifetime experience we would not forget.
Absolutely taste of paradise.
Food, services, scuba Diving, beach and pool ... all works perfectly
We came without any prior knowledge or preparation, just looking for a Diving hotel, and were pleasantly surprised.
Endless options in and out of the water.
12-01-2017 We would whole heartedly recommend PolePole to anyone who wants to experience the real Africa. No sterile 5 star experience, just beautiful,raw and unspoilt Africa, but with all the trimmings of comfort - G&Ts on your sunset cruise, delectable picnics made to order ... Excellent food and service. Everything they did, from delivering morning tea, to organising excursions, to sorting out refunds for overpayment on park fees .... was just faultless - very friendly staff and excellent management. Paula is a star!
11-01-2017 Pole Pole was our first stop on our honeymoon, a 6 week trip through east Africa. We couldn't have found a better place to start! Paola and Marina were so welcoming and the staff so friendly - we were told they are here to help and be flexible to make our stay enjoyable. Whether you feel like relaxing in the peaceful lodge or want to head out to enjoy the activities, Pole Pole is a wonderful place to stay.
The bungalows are very comfortable, fans and mosquito nets (no aircon but this really wasn't needed as particularly in the afternoon and evening there was a lovely breeze) and hats and towels all provided. The rooms are serviced in the morning, but also turned down in the evening while you're at dinner so the shutters are closed, mosquito net opened and covers turned down for you. The highlight is a lovely Zanzibari bed on the verandah (with mosquito net) to enjoy a nap or some reading time - as well as your morning coffee or evening sundowner which are delivered on request.
The food was outstanding - and so much! A few days I didn't go down for breakfast just to work up an appetite for lunch! With an Italian chef, there is plenty of beautifully made pasta and focaccia, using local flavours (think coconut, chilli, lime). Dinner each night had a seafood and alternative option - the seafood is also local, fresh and wonderful. Plenty of fish, crab and octopus. 2 meals during the week were also traditional Swahili meals and were a real highlight. You're always given options to change the menu in advance, with lots of flexibility.
We really enjoyed the activities - included in the stay, we took up the options for snorkelling and a BBQ lunch in fisherman island, which were lovely. David, who runs the activities from the Mafia Diveshop (just a 5min walk down the beach) visits the restaurant each night to see what you might like to do the next day. It's very causal and makes the process very easy - and you're always reminded that the team is happy to be flexible and accomodate requests as best they can.
We had such a wonderful 7 days that despite leaving to go on our safari adventure, we couldn't help but be sad to be leaving! Pole Pole has such a lovely, personal feeling to it, thanks to Paola, Marina and the staff - we can only hope to be back one day!
5-01-2017 review by Expert Africa's client
Very relaxing stay at this very special place. It all felt very intimate/private, almost like we had the place to ourselves.?Hosts and staff were super friendly and very accommodating/flexible (e.g. changing the menu to our taste, arranging a romantic candle light dinner away from the other guests, dinner on the beach).?Diving and excursions were lots of fun and super easy to organise the night before.?Really enjoyed our stay! Highly recommended.?Tide can be a bit of a pain if you want to swim in the ocean.
7-01-2017 Awesome location, food, attention, views, skies, trees, tranquility. Spent 3 nights as a family of 5, wished it was 10. It's a very nice chilled quiet group of bungalows, well laid out, well designed. the bungalows have verandas with a mozzy-netted bed to chill/read/watch sunrise/set. will be back
1-01-2017 Mi mujer y yo estuvimos unos días pasando nuestra Luna de Miel y sin duda fue una experiencia extraordinaria en todos los sentidos. Desde sus hermosas playas y cómodas cabañas donde sientes que estás sólo tú y la naturaleza, pasando por las maravilloas excursiones privadas que te brinda Pole Pole (muy recomendable Blue Lagoon) hasta la amabilidad con la que nos atendió todo el personal.
Uno de los mejores lugares donde puedes ir para desconectar de todo y que te traten como a un rey.
Inolvidable también la experiencia de nadar con tiburones ballena... simplemente alucinante!!
7-12/2016 This is the trip I will always keep in my heart. We promised a review and it arrives month later the reason I am writing it despite time passing by is the memory that keeps coming back with the warmest hospitality and unforgettable time we had!
Bungalows - magic
Food – mouth-watering
Staff – represents a mist of a beautiful culture and grace
Entertainment – if you are diving or not this is the place where you will see colours and every reef fish from discovery channel
Beautiful people, magic landscape don’t forget to go safari – leopards and lions will be on the palm of your hand, Sylwia & Patrick
7-12-2016 Very suggestive place, "pole pole" atmosphere and very cool african bungalows. I advice every day excursions like chole, sand bank, snorkeling and white shark. The meals are very 'Akuna matata-African mood'. Go go go
29-11-2016 Stayed there for a few days in October and had a great time. The rooms are comfortable and nice. The staff was friendly and responsive. We enjoyed the food and felt that the drinks were rather affordable when compared to other resorts we have stayed at in Africa.
The staff coming over from the dive center was a nice touch that made scheduling activities simple and easy.
Strongly recommend--it's nice, relaxing, enjoyable, and you are on the main island.
27-11-2016 Spent seven nights in Pole Pole and wish it could have been longer. The staff were all exceptional and made life so easy and relaxing for the entire stay. Paula was very welcoming and would ask about our day every evening and David from the dive centre would come to speak to everyone each night to plan what they would like to do the next day. Nothing was ever too much and if it could be arranged it would be - with absolutely no effort on our part except to turn up at the right place at the right time, everything else was sorted out behind the scenes making a completely stress free holiday.
The diving and snorkeling were fantastic, good visibility and so much amazing sealife including seahorses, cuttlefish, squid and more tropical fish than I could name!
All the boats for the exursions were in great condition and would use the sail when the wind was in the right direction which was lovely. The captains were brilliant and very friendly- as was everyone we met at Pole Pole and at Mafia island diving.
If you want a relaxing holiday with great food and fantastic service along with diving, snorkeling, chance of swimming with whale sharks, drinking sundowners on a private dhow watching the sun disappear, cultural tours or just lounging by the pool this place should be top of your list.
Was a long journey to get there but I don't regret a second - highly recommended!
23-11-2016 We were so happy with our choice of Mafia Island and Pole Pole as the perfect end to our East African safari adventure.
The staff - they are all so welcoming and lovely - we felt relaxed and at home immediately
The beautiful bungalows - designed to capture the sea breeze with a big deck to laze away the days and enjoy sundowners in the evenings
The food - inventive and delicious with a focus on local seafood - favourites were the octopus salad, spiced potato balls (these were so good), homemade pastas, fish soup, calamari and many others!
The activities - whaleshark trip was phenomenal - we were really lucky to see and swim with around 10 whalesharks! The snorkelling was also really great with a guide to show us the moray eels, lobsters and lion fish that we wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Thanks so much to Paola, Martina, Marina, Selma and the whole team for making our stay so special!! We didn't want to leave - five nights weren't enough!!
14-11-2016 Lovely small lodge with 7 lodges, we were in lodge 7 which was two bedrooms, large patio with a bed and chairs, lovely view to the sea.
The staff were lovely and Paulo the manager could not do enough for us, snorkelling was excellent and swimming with the whale sharks was fantastic, we went with Kitu kiblu who are a research company and focus on the animals welfare, we also had half a days deep sea fishing with Mafia Island Fishing which was a really well run day.
Food was very good, the spa was lovely and everywhere was very clean and tidy.
Really enjoyable stay
26-10-2016 We went to Mafia island after to chill out after our safari and had a great relaxing stay, in a perfect setting. The bungalows are spacious, very comfortable and well equipped and the surroundings are beautiful with views over the Indian ocean from our veranda. The staff were attentive and extremely friendly. The food was varied and well cooked. The daily boat trips were great and the access to the dive centre staff each evening is really helpful. Be aware that it is very tidal and that the beach is not huge, but certainly kept very clean and tidy. If the tide is very high, you have the option of using the pool. The spa is great and the massage very relaxing.
19-10-2016 A place where time stands still and you can escape the madness with natural beauty and tranquility. A fantastic team at Pole Pole and the local dive centre looked after all our needs from swimming with the whale sharks to seeing turtles eggs hatch and not to mention snorkelling around beautiful reefs. Thank you Paula, Marina and the Pole Pole team for looking after us from Antonios and Mara
5-10-2016 Pole Pole is an amazing place to visit.
From first entering the lodge, it's immediately apparent that you've discovered somewhere special, and immediately, a sense of calmness surrounds you and stops you in your tracks. The attention to detail is very impressive, everywhere you look. Its banda's are very luxurious, with private balconies overlooking breathtaking ocean views. Food is some of the tastiest I've ever eaten and service was great too.Pole Pole is a destination in itself.
3-10-2016 Spent 4 days at Pole Pole and had a lovely time. The food and service were excellent, everyone was very friendly and helpful. Having links with Mafia dive school was a bonus as each evening David (from the dive school) came to the bar and we were able to discuss our personal plan for the next day. Tides are very influential to what can be done each day, so be aware that if diving or snorkelling the timing can change daily
08-09-2016 Wir können uns den vielen positiven Reiseberichten über das Resort nur anschliessen. Das Essen köstlich, die Menschen sehr freundlich, die Anlage gemütlich, die Bungalows bequem und Tauchen hervorragend. Wir finden es super, dass das Resort umweltschonend betrieben wird und die Produkte vorwiegend regional eingekauft werden. Wir können Resort und Tauchbasis auch nur wärmstens empfehlen.
1-09-2016 A beautiful place to relax and unwind. The snorkeling was amazing! Dining was quite a culinary experience with fresh caught, fresh made, breakfasts lunches and dinners. We found it the perfect place to relax after a 7 day safari in Tanzania
27-07-2016 After a week of Safari in the north of Tanzania, we spent a relaxing week in Polepole. Everyone in the resort is very friendly and helpful. The food is just delicious. The bungalows are well equipped, perfectly maintained and clean. Diving with the partnered Mafia Island Divers is also nice. A well run Hotel we definitely can recommend.
28-03-2016 The location, the enviroment, the people, the food, the diving centre, the activities, the massage... all of it was really wonderful.
And the calm... if you want to relax, do not doubt it. Go there but without hurrying. Pole Pole
11-12-2015 Je suis arrivé à Pole Pole aux alentours de midi sous une pluie torrentielle, mais l'accueil le sourire et la gentillesse de Marina m'ont très vite fait oublier ces éléments déchaînés. Une fois le soleil revenu(au bout d'1 heure) et pendant toute la semaine tout n'a été que du bonheur, activités multiples, excursions diverses,excellente nourriture,massages personnel au top de la gentillesse, cocktail parfait pour une semaine inoubliable! Merci à Marina et à tout le staff.
27-11-2015 Relaxez-vous! Vous serez servis en toute occasion avec le sourire. Vous êtes dans un cadre merveilleux. Vous vivez dans la nature. De nuit, vous entendrez quelques fois les Bush Babies rire bruyamment. Mais mieux vaut être réveillés par le vacarme d'un Bush Baby que par le bruit d'un camion qui passe dans la rue.
L'alimentation complètement à base de poisson, quel régal!
Pour la connexion internet, apprenez à vous en passer, elle est totalement irrégulière. cela ne dépend pas de Pole Pole, mais du caprice des service fournis par le gouvernement. Donc cool!
21-11-2015 Bungalows, located in front of the sea, are beautiful and very comfortable. Restaurant is very good. Service and assistance are accurate. Team is freindly. A great location for a fantastic period of holiday.
5-11-2015 Wir waren 5 Nächte im Pole Pole und haben jede Minute davon genossen! Die Lage im Mafia Island Marine Park ist wunderschön, die Bungalows sind einzigartig individuell und sehr stilvoll eingerichtet. Die Küche ist regional gestaltet und auf Fisch und Seafood ausgerichtet, jedoch mit italienischem Einfluss und sehr, sehr gut! Der Name ist hier Programm und so sind Mobiltelefone Tabu und es gibt weder TV noch Radio, dafür erholsame Stille - einfach herrlich! Womit sich dieses Resort jedoch am meisten auszeichnet sind ihre tollen Mitarbeiter: Sehr freundlich, hilfsbereit und herzlich - sie sind alle perfekte Gastgeber und machen den Aufenthalt unvergesslich!
21-10-2015 The accommodation and location of Pole Pole make it a very relaxing, very comfortable, beautiful place to stay, and with excellent food. Having said that, what really "puts the icing on the cake" is the staff! From the management, to the waiters to the cleaning staff, they are so great and lovely people too. We stayed for 8 nights, and could easily have done another 8. Highly recommended!
21-10-2015 De notre arrivée à notre départ le sourire n'a pas quitte les visages de tout le staff du POLE POLE.Un grand merci à Marina et à toute son équipe qui ont fait de notre séjour un moment de plaisir fantastique.Restaurant parfait plats delicats bungalows au top.Plein de petites attentions au quotidien.Toutes les activités proposées à partir du lodge il suffit de se laisser porter c'est ça les vacances.À peine partis et déjà envie d'y revenir.
10-10-2015 review by Expert Africa's clients
We stayed at Pole Pole for 5 nights after Safaris in Selous and Ruaha.
We wanted somewhere to relax and recuperate after the rigours of 8 days on safari and what a great choice this was.
Everything about Pole Pole was excellent, the accommodation, the staff, the service, the food and the location.
We were made to feel very welcome on our arrival by Marina, the manager. We shown round the resort and taken to our Bungalow (Number 1).
The bungalow was a wooden construction with a thatched roof and sides. It was a good size and included a separate en-suite facility with two hand basins, shower, flush WC and even a bidet plus complementary toiletries. The bed was large and covered with a substantial mosquito net. A large wooden verandah overlooked the palm trees in the garden with views of the beach and bay towards Chole Island. On the verandah there were a couple a chairs and small table plus a day bed (just big enough for 2) with a mosquito net – perfect for an afternoon snooze.
The pace at Pole Pole is slow and relaxed. Early morning tea/coffee was delivered to our room at our request. Meal times were flexible. There was a good choice of goodies available for breakfast including fruit, pancakes, muffins, yogurt, eggs, bacon, tomatoes and toast along with fruit juice, teas and coffee. Lunch was a fixed 3 course and dinner 4 courses with a choice of main course (usually fish or meat of some sort). The quality of our meals was always excellent as was the service in the restaurant; the waiting staff were attentive, efficient and friendly.
At about 6pm each evening a waiter arrived at our door to take our order for a ’Sun downer’ to enjoy on the verandah as the sun set, watching the masses of bats fly across the sky from their roost on Chole to feed on Mafia.
Over pre dinner drinks in the bar David from ‘Mafia Island Diving’ would discuss the excursions that were available the following day. We did a couple of snorkelling trips (saw a Whale Shark) and a boat trip to see the ruins on one of the other islands. The trips were well organised, the snorkelling was great, the boat trip was enjoyable but the ruins were a bit disappointing.
Many thanks to Marina, Mussa and their team for making our stay at Pole Pole so memorable.
07-10-2015 we spent 4 nights at Pole Pole having arranged a safari trip through Imagine Africa... We were looking for some luxury relaxing beach time to finish it off...what we found at pole pole was way beyond our expectations..while It is stylish, stunning and peaceful with wonderful activities...extraordinarily good food in fact everything you could ever wish for from such a destination...but for us the warm, welcoming, friendly nature of the staff and the wonderful service made it the perfect end to our trip..thank you especially to Marina and Paola
13-09- 2015 Fantastic lodge with stylish bungalows, located in a garden with coconut palms - with attention to every detail. We stayed with our two grown up children in a family room, which was fantastic both on inside and outside. Windows and underneath the roof are open, so you practically sleeps outside, with only a net keeping Mosquitos and other animals out. Sleep at the sound of the waves from the beach just 50 m down the hill. Bathroom comes with a nice selection of soap, cream and shampoo. Sunhat and beach towel included. Unfortunately the twin beds in the second room was a bit two narrow for grown up children, although the length was OK.
Pole pole's theme is to slow down and relax, disconnect from the daily connected life - and It works. You have your Bungalow, with nice chairs and a bed to relax at, the pool, a spa, the beach and other facilities. No need for internet, tv or news. But it is not only about Pole Pole - a daily activity/excursion is included (depending on your package). This could be snorkeling, picknick at an island/sandbank, etc. Every evening the guests discuss and agree what they to do the next day. The snorkeling at the coral reefs are just fantastic - with a seemingly unlimited marine world. The excursion use a small dow - giving it an extra touch. The included daily activities are definitely an extra plus, to be considered when you look at the fairly high price and comparing to other lodges at the island.
Service is excellent, but meals tend to be a bit to slow and time consuming in the long run. You find yourself spending a lot of time eating - leaving less time for other things. Still OK, since the food and dining area is excellent, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fresh coconuts directly from the palms in the garden. Good and affordable selection of wines, from the cellar.
The lodge is located next to its own beach that is tide dependent, so unfortunately it is of no use for half of the day. 10 minutes away (by foot) there is a larger beach that works also at low tide. But let's face it, you do not find the white and never ending beaches here at Mafia marine park, unless you go for one of the sandbank picknicks.
Pole Pole is a fantastic place to stay and relax, to enjoy the life of Mafia island and its natural resources.
02-09-2015 Really Eco Luxury Resort! Unique villas, wonderful food and SPA therapists', very beautiful and peaceful environment, good range of activities and, last but not least, excellent staff! It has been an Amazing experience with such wonderful memories…
31-08-2015 My girlfriend and I spent two nights at Pole Pole as part of a trip including a couple of other high end places on Mafia - and this was possibly the best small hotel experience I've ever had. Indulgent romantic luxury that perfectly embraced and respected the incredible natural environment and traditional culture of Mafia Island. On our last night (and included in the price) we dined in private on the beach - Swahili food cooked by a world-class chef!
I guess the rooms are similar, and ours was paradise. The staff are fantastically attentive, but in a very personal, friendly and genuine way. Cocktails delivered to our private veranda as the sun set between coconut palms after a couples massage in the open air spa :-)
28-08-2015 We would like to share our experience of Pole Pole stay with you. My husband Etienne and I have been to mafia island and stayed in this wonderful place !
We had one of the most an amazing moment, our bungalow had a view overlooking the sea and surrounded by palm trees, the inside is just gorgeous with a large space in the entrance, gorgeous homemade equipped, African mixed with an Italian touches, the details of the bunglows were just amazing, everything to facilitate your stay and enjoy your time. Very ecologic with non-plastic equipment including shower gel and shampoo in handcrafted glass bottles.
The place has 7 bungalows in total ideal to feel like home, very quiet and most of all very friendly. You lose track of time and relax totally. We had a proposed wake up coffee each morning and a sun-down drink proposed to our room each evening!
The food was divine, with some Italian touches in each plate and a daily recommendation. Theu asked us every day what we wished to eat and was flexible in each lunch/diner, whatever you wanted to have.
The hotel organized for us every day and asked us what we wanted to do. Great trips arranged with their dive shop partner and nice walks around the mangrove with their recommendation
We had a tourific day visit to a new island and discover new diving spot with an incredible tour between the low and high tide ! We had even an hypothesis on the mystery of Ras Kisimani ruins including a gorgeous Sunset ruins was just superb !
Pole Pole is so much the best you can get from the people to the commodities, friendly, very detailed oriented and giving you full attention.
The team are so friendly and nothing can be as perfect as this experience Etienne and I had. At the departure day the managers came to say good bye and to welcome us anytime very soon. The final touch was offering us special ginger and chocolate cookies we had during the stay and that we loved so much (they even made some cookies as they noticed we loved them)
Mussa is the first and one of the manager who came to pick us up from the airport with a lovely friendly introduction to the island and the population around
Marina and Paola the two Italian managers took care of us each day with such a high quality of treatment ! Thanks to all of them and hope to see you soon
I just recommend this place to everyone who wish to have incredible moment in his life. It was just a fantastic moment that will stay in our mind forever !
23-08-2015 Pole Pole, ça veut dire "cool-cool". Tout au sein de l'établissement est fait pour votre confort, avec un niveau de service au top. Il n'y a que 7 bungalows, et cela contribue évidemment à cette sensation de sérénité.
Pour ceux qui ne ne sont pas 100% pole pole et qui veulent rester actifs pendant leur séjour, il y a plein de choses à faire pans les environs immédiats qui sont organisées par l'hôtel et le Mafia Island diving centre. On se retrouve le soir à 7 heures autour d'un verre pour décider ce que l'on fait le lendemain. Très convivial et flexible, au menu : plongée ou snorkelling, visite du village, visite des îles, croisière coucher de soleil (apéro à bord, of course) etc...
C'était vraiment dépaysant et charmant, avec une équipe aux petits oignons pour vos petits désirs ou petits soucis...
18-08-2015 Der Aufenthalt auf Mafia Island war für uns der krönende Abschluss einer wunderschönen Reise. Nach 8 Tagen Safari mit beeindruckenden Erlebnissen, wurden wir in Pole Pole rundum verwöhnt. Wunderbare Menschen haben von der ersten bis zur letzten Minute dazu beigetragen, dass wir diesen Ort nie vergessen werden. Freundschaftliche, nahezu familiäre Atmosphäre mit lockeren Gesprächen, hervorragendes Essen, bester Service in allen Bereichen - all dies eingebettet in einer traumhaften Umgebung mit ebenso traumhaften Angeboten. Kein Wunder, dass sowohl uns Erwachsenen als auch den Jugendlichen (14 und 17) der Abschied sehr schwer fiel. Hier möchten wir alle gerne nochmal hin!
25-07-2015 Review by Expert Africa's clients
Pole Pole is set in beautiful gardens right on the beach.
Our Bungalow had an amazing view overlooking the bay and surrounded by palm trees. Inside there were lovely homemade touches including shower gel and shampoo in handcrafted glass bottles. As there are only 7 bungalows, the place is very quiet and you feel quite secluded form the others. We had a wake up tea/coffee each morning and a sun-down drink brought to our room each evening!
The food was lovely, with some Italian touches and you could choose which courses you wanted each day. They would even make something else for our daughter when she did not fancy what was on the menu. She also has a peanut allergy; we had no worries as they were very aware of this and able to cater for her.
We had some great trips arranged including snorkeling and turtle hatching on a nearby island. We had a fantastic Sunset Cruise where we went on a Dhow boat, and had a lovely drink as the sunset and the fruit bats flew overhead. One of the waiters from Pole Pole accompanied us and told us lots of information about mafia and the local people.
The staff are so friendly and nothing is too much trouble. They made sure everything was perfect during our stay.
We visited the local village Utendi on our last day with one of the waiters who comes from there. He was full of information about everything in the village. We saw the local schools, and visited the NGO (non government organisation) located in the village which aims to improve education and healthcare through projects they arrange. If you have time this is well worth doing, as you get to see the local people and their home environment.
07-07-2015 East African hospitality at it's very best. The resort is beautiful, the rooms are perfectly comfortable and immaculately kept without being pretentious. The service is friendly and warm but professional. The guys who do their excursions (such as snorkelling) are brilliant and make you feel like you are in very safe hands - and are a good laugh. They just get it right in every way! We only had 2 night here but I WISH we had not booked into another place just over the water (which will remain nameless!) in favour of a few more nights at Pole Pole.
03-07-2015 I've been on a lot of beach vacations in "beach paradises", but Pole Pole on Mafia was - by far - the most wonderful. Located in Mafia's marine reserve park, it is infinitely quiet, calming and gorgeous. The bungalows have a bunch of thoughtful design details: the beautiful cotton "curtains" which protect against the strong sea breeze. The patio's day bed, with its comfortable shawl and straw hats. The lovely drawings on their information booklet.
Everything was very clean, it smelled amazing, and the staff was attentive without ever being intrusive or overbearing. The food was always extremely tasty. It was romantic, gorgeous. We went diving with a nearby diving outfit, but even just staying at Pole Pole to relax and read would have been heavenly.
Highly, highly, highly (!) recommended.
10-03-2015 On a passé 4 jours à Pole Pole en février 2015 et on a adoré.
Petite structure qui garantit calme et relaxation dans un très bel endroit, face à la mer.
Les bungalows sont spacieux et très bien aménagés, avec notamment une belle terrasse avec un lit (idée géniale pour la sieste).
Le restaurant sert tous les midis et tous les soirs des repas variés et délicieux avec vue sur la plage. Une belle carte de cocktails aussi.
Le service est lui aussi excellent et tout le monde est vraiment adorable.
La proximité du centre de plongée (à 10 minutes à pied en longeant la plage) et le site exceptionnel (dans le parc national marin) permet des excursions de tout type (bateau, plongée, snorkeling...) très facilement.
Pole Pole est un superbe endroit que nous recommandons chaudement.
06-03-2015 We came back because we found the hotel so comfortable and relaxing two years ago. The service and food was as good as before. The dive centre lays on snorkeling trips (or other activities) each day and although the areas are a half an hour dhow ride away, the trip is relaxing and the coral and diversity of fish is magnificent. Happily the coral is healthy and varied. If you want to escape and reenergise, this is the place. The efficient, yet unobtrusive staff help you all the way.
04-03-2015 Pole Pole is in the marine park on the island and is very tropical and wooded with exotic trees and flowers. Rooms are a bit dark because of the natural wood used. But they look like what thatched roof structures should be. Lots of overhead fans, including outside fans and daybeds on the balcony. No A/C, but you can get wet in the pool or shower to cool off. And we often snorkeled, seeing exotic colored fish, like the ones in Two Oceans Aquarium in Capetown. Staff was so helpful, bringing wake-up coffee and biscuits, sundowner drinks to our room. Food was lovely, too much of it. Loved the African coffee. Waiters in the restaurant were friendly and helpful about the menu. And they made the best G & T's ever! We took a doula out twice to snorkel. The guides and a young man who seemed to be assigned to us were helpful and fun. They cooked white snapper for us over a fire of coconut husks. The young Mafian man spoke excellent English and shared tales of the island, info about structures and of sporting events. Their town, right next to our lodge won the regional soccer title while we were there. We also heard the "call to prayer" several times. The indian Ocean was a beautiful turquoise. We did yoga one morning in the library/beach house. So exotic!
22-02-2015 Siamo stati 12 giorni in febbraio 2015. Assolutamente stupendo! Tutto lo staff si impegna al massimo per garantirti un soggiorno indimenticabile. La cucina è assolutamente grandiosa. Complimenti a tutti.
21-02-2015 I spent with my wife 8 wunderfull days in Pole Pole from 8th to 16th Feb 2015. I can only warmly recommend anybody visiting Mafia to stay in Pole Pole. From the minute we arrived at this lodge until our departure, we have been spoiled by the whole Pole Pole team. They made sure our stay was just perfect! The staff is absolutely wonderfull, the bugalows are spacious and well equiped, beautifull batchroom and all perfectly clean. The food was trully outstanding and very tasty (excellent fish and seafood, fresh vegetables and salads, great desserts and all this homemade with a little Italian touch). We enjoyed great relaxing massages near the swimming pool, yoga courses, daily well organised personalized activities (visit of local villages and getting to better know their way of living, snorkeling, amazing diving,....).
This is Paradize!
08-01-2015 Dopo un safari al Serengeti, abbiamo deciso di finire la nostra vacanza e ricaricare le batterie prima di tornare al nostro frenetico mondo ed è stata un esperienza incredibile.
Appena arrivati abbiamo trovato ad accoglierci i gestori Paola e Christian, una simpatica giovane coppia, che ci ha fatto entrare nel meraviglioso mondo del Pole Pole e ci siamo sentiti subito a casa.
Questo resort con i suoi ( per fortuna ) pochi bungalows, tutti frontemare, immersi nel verde di un rigoglioso giardino tropicale è un luogo tranquillissimo dove troverete pace assoluta.
I bungalows molto spaziosi sono di legno eleganti e allo stesso tempo caratteristici, con un ampia veranda dove al mattino è piacevolissimo farsi portare tea o caffè prima di andare a far colazione.
Tanti i luoghi dove regna un silenzio per noi quasi irreale: la spiaggia semi deserta, la piscina ampia e piacevolissima, la library così intima......
Veramente piacevoli le immersioni al centro diving che si trova a pochi minuti dal resort.
Comodissimo il fatto che ogni sera all'ora dell'aperitivo gli istruttori del centro passino al Pole Pole per organizzare le immersioni e le tante escursioni disponibili con ognuno.
Il servizio è ottimo e la pulizia degna dei più alti standard.
Tutto lo staff e i gestori sono sempre disponibili senza mai essere intrusivi.
Una nota speciale per il cibo: più che squisito!!!
Il menu è sempre vario, estremamente curato con ingredienti freschissimi e scelta sia di pesce che carne.
Una deliziosa scoperta ogni pranzo e cena e in totale sicurezza: noi abbiamo usato ghiaccio, mangiato verdure crude e gelati senza alcun problema.
Per chi è in partenza vorrei assicurare che non esiste nessun rischio di Ebola in Tanzania.
Godetevi in serenità questo meraviglioso paese.
28-12-2014 Séjour très agréable dans cette hôtel très confortable au bord de la mer. Bungalows construits en matériaux locaux et joliment décorés. Accueil merveilleux de la part d'Anne, parfaite pour vous rendre votre séjour au comble de vos souhaits. Personnel très prévenant et gentil. Cuisine très bonne et varié : le seul petit problème, la cuisine est éloignée du restaurant et les plats ont le temps de refroidir durant le trajet. Ce serait bien que le propriétaire investisse dans des cloches pour garder chaud les mets très bien cuisinées par la cheffe.
La plage devant l'hôtel n'est pas idéale pour la natation étant donné les mangroves environnantes.
24-11-2014 Wir haben 4 Nächte hier verbracht und uns hervorragend von der zweiwöchigen Safari in Tansania erholt. Die Unterkünfte sind geräumig, sauber und die Betten sehr bequem. Moskitonetze waren intakt, trotzdem fand wie überall die eine oder andere Mücke immer einen Weg zum Bett.
Badezimmer ohne Tadel. Warmwasser war immer da.
Das Personal war sehr freundlich, wir haben uns rasch zu Hause gefühlt in der kleinen PolePole Familie. Das Beste war das Essen. Die Küche ist wirklich hervorragend und die Portionen grosszügig. WLAN gibt es, allerdings nur an der Reception und langsam. Das dürfte aber kaum stören, schliesslich kommt man zur Erholung hierher. Zur Erholung und Enstpannung können wir das Ressort vorbehaltlos empfehlen.
19-11-2014 Tout y est fait pour votre confort. Cadre authentique : matériaux locaux et bois. Propreté et entretien impeccables. Accueil chaleureux et gentillesse non feinte.
Cuisine excellente avec une touche italienne dans un restaurant vue mer.
7 bungalow en tout donc calme assuré.
Club de plongée à 5 minutes en passant par un chemin dans la mangrove. Et on transfert votre équipement.
Pour les amateurs, les sites de plongée sont exceptionnels tant à l'intérieur qu'à l'extérieur de la baie avec un corail en excellente santé et une richesse le la faune en rapport.
Vous ne serez pas déçus.
Loin de la cohue des îles trop connues.
A choisir sans hésiter.
07-10-2014 Un lieu de rêve à Mafia ! Des bungalows à la décoration très soignée fait de matériaux locaux, une cuisine excellente, une équipe aux petits soins, des plongées superbes...bref un lieu d'exception où il fait si bon vivre. Une véritable adresse de charme !
05-08-2014 Stayed at this small but perfect Lodge for six nights after ten days in Rwanda. Perfect place to end the trip. Just relaxing at the beach and Diving at Mafia diving each day. They have a wonderful deal with Mafia diving centre just five min from the Lodge. Staff, food and service is just Perfect.
04-08-2014 We have just returned from 7 days at this very special place - so nice to find a unique paradise with a responsible attitude towards tourism on the local community. As well as this pole pole staff went out of their way to cater for my coeliac son - the food was superb, bungalows immaculate and individual, all areas of pole pole were very well groomed. It is hard to find fault with this place and also hard to do it justice, it is well managed, the staff are superb and friendly and to top it all the local diving and snorkelling are great. ... And nearly forgot fantastic and reasonably priced massages are available at their little spa !
07-01-2014 A mon avis, le seul endroit où il faut aller à Mafia.
Les chambres sont belles, les repas délicieux, tout le personnel est souriant et à votre écoute, tout est organisé pour que vous vous sentiez bien et que vous ne manquiez de rien et si vous aimez les massages, surtout n'hésitez pas.
La plage devant l'hôtel est tout à fait correcte pour Mafia.
Des excursions différentes sont organisées tout les jours et le centre de plongée est à 10 mn à pied.
Un petit conseil : garder du liquide avec vous car la réception n'est pas toujours ouverte !
Et attention au personnel de l'aéroport qui essaye de vous raquetter en vous demandant une taxe d'aéroport de 125 $ à la place de 14$ !!!
Merci à Sarah, Sadini et toute l'équipe de Pole Pole pour cet agréable séjour.
13-08-2013 Thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Pole Pole. Beautiful surroundings and great customer service. The lodges were private with open views onto the beach. Coffee in bed to the sound of the palm trees is my idea of heaven. Great food and excellent management. Met all our family needs, wish we could have stayed longer.
12-08-2013 Pole Pole Bungalows far exceeded all my expectations (and these were very high): the location is beautiful and peaceful, with bungalows overlooking Chole Bay surrounded by palm and mangrove trees; the bungalows are comfortable and full of subtly elegant touches; the food was superb; and the staff are welcoming, friendly and professional. I was travelling alone and felt completely at ease straight away. Special thanks to Sarah and Lorenzo for their warm hospitality! I went to Mafia Island principally to dive and to unwind and got exactly what I came for - there is an excellent dive centre just 10 minutes down the beach; and Pole Pole is the perfect place to stay if you want peace and quiet. I hope to return one day soon and I would strongly recommend Pole Pole and Mafia Island to all travellers who appreciate understated style and luxury.
03-04-2013 This was my first trip to Mafia Island and I was traveling alone. I was overwhelmingly pleased with Pole Pole. The staff immediately put me at ease, greeting me with a festive coconut beverage and whisking my luggage to a beautiful bungalow. The bungalows are amazing! Each one thoughtfully designed, privately situated, and has a lovely view of the island foliage and water. The meals were AMAZING - fresh, healthy, and well presented with perfect service. The beach and pool areas are both lovely. The massages are absolutely amazing, the complementary morning in-room coffee service, and evening in-room drink service are divine. A short walk down the beautiful beach is a truly top shelf scuba diving facility, which Pole Pole can arrange for you. The small gift shop features locally made, fair trade crafts. I hope to return to Pole Pole again soon.
01-04-2013 After a long, hard-working winter, we were looking for something that would take us out of ourselves, dispel the winter blues and allow us to completely relax. Mafia Island and Pole Pole gave us all that. It was a magical, away from it all, utterly enchanting place that allowed us to leave the daily grind behind and be taken over by the warm beauty of this special location. Pole Pole is a comfortable, sophisticated lodge which just lends itself to the area. The bungalows have lovely views over Chole Bay, as do the bar and restaurant areas. The whole thing is presided over by Enrico, the charming manager, and Charlotte who must rank as one of the most welcoming and wonderful hosts ever. Full of infectious energy, enthusiasm and attention to detail, she went out of her way to make our stay there perfect. But all the staff at Pole Pole had an unusual gift of hospitality which all contributed to an exceptionally warm experience. The lodge offers free excursions every day (though there are some that have to be paid for) – snorkelling and diving, nearby islands, turtle hatching, sunset boat trips in the bay, around the island, a guided tour of the local village, bird-watching, etc – which add a nice rhythm to the business of just unwinding and enjoying the warm sea and amazing views across the bay.
30-03-2013 Our Pole Pole experience was wonderful, what a treat after a hectic Safari ( even if a little tedious to get there). It is unpretentious, understated hospitality at its best, located in a natural tropical environment; what a refreshing change these days. The rooms are a delight, nestling in swaying coconut groves, with the sounds of the waves lapping below. They are spacious, comfortable, with delightful attention to details. All of the Staff were professional, helpful, charming and friendly, particular thanks to Charlotte. Food - excellent, a treat to have fresh food, and an interesting varity of dishes cooked for us daily. Freshing change to the preverbial 'Buffet' offerings. The association with Seapoint ensured we enjoyed experiencing some local color.
23-03-2013 7 days of pure pleasure and relaxation in a wonderful environment, with a team of great staff looking after us: simply marvelous. The personalized morning yoga sessions in front of the sea were definitely a must! We definitely recommend it, hoping we'll have the opportunity to enjoy it again once ourselves!
02-02-2013 We stayed at Pole Pole for 4 nights towards the end of January following on from our equally excellent safari experience in Selous. We were welcomed by Charlotte (Enrico was away during our stay) and from the moment we got there nothing was too much trouble. From very early morning wake up calls (our request) with fresh coffee, to cocktail orders at the other end of the day for sundowners delivered to our lovely lodge so we could sit outside on our terrace overlooking the sea. Our lodge was immaculately clean and very roomy and it was a pleasure to return back to the lodge after a difficult day of snorkelling, swimming and eating the very delicious food. Breakfast started with a plate of fresh mango, banana and melon and even a choice of international coffees and progressed to a hot breakfast of your choosing. The food at each meal was fantastic. Charlotte set up tables on the beach one evening for dinner and the whole evening surpassed all expectations. Another evening we had a Swahili meal which was equally fantastic. We very much enjoyed the partnership Pole Pole has with Seapoint, a diving and water excursion centre 5 minutes walk away. Whilst we are not divers we took advantage of every snorkelling opportunity and were looked after by a Seapoint guide each time we ventured out on the Dhow. The guide also swam with us to ensure we saw everything around and that we stayed safe. Charlotte and the Pole Pole team worked hard to make sure we had the best possible time.....and we did!
27-01-2013 We stayed at Pole Pole in the beginning of January this year. We have travelled through Tanzania for 2,5 weeks already and have stayed in several hotels and lodges.
But what we found here exceeded all of our wishes and expectations..
First of all: Mafia island is a hidden gem, more beautiful, authentic and less developed than Zanzibar.
Pole Pole is located within the breathtaking marine reserve and the beach is hidden between mangrove forests. With only 7 rooms, we had this white strip of sand almost to ourselves.
The luxury bungalows are made out of natural materials (but 100% isolated) and are beautifully set amongst green gardens, with a big terrace, sea view and a lot of privacy.
The atmosphere in the lodge is very laid back and peaceful and if you seek some action, the 2 extremely friendly and helpful hosts will arrange anything for you, from snorkeling with 8 meter long wale sharks to island trips or massages. Pole Pole is also involved in development projects supporting the local communities, so we were able to get a glimpse of real traditional village life.
The service is nothing else than splendid. And so flexible: we were able to order breakfast and lunch whenever we wanted, also to our room and the food was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! The best we've eaten in 3 weeks (we'll never forget the fresh tuna burger..).
On our last evening, the managers surprised us and prepared a table with candle light on a private terrace overlooking the sea for us. There's no more romantic place to have dinner in the whole of Tanzania...
Pole Pole was the cherry on the cake. Not only because of it's beauty, the great food and laid back luxury. What really does makes the difference here is the staff and excellent service!
01-01-2013 My boyfriend and I had a lovely three nights/ four days at pole pole. The atmosphere was beautiful, relaxing and fun. Everything was run so professionally that you don't even notice it. The food was delicious and activities offered were great fun! This is a very special place that's a treat for anyone.