International Ecolodges

International Ecolodges is devoted to promoting ecolodges around the world as an environmentally sustainable and economically sound way for ecotourists to travel and for the well being of the communities who surround the ecolodges. They write about us: "Started in 1998 Pole Pole was built and furnished with low impact materials mainly locally taken, like woven palm leaves and "makuti" for thatched roofs, local plants (ukili) for mats and chairs, palm and sisal ropes for deck chairs, booths and decorations. Mangrove wood comes from certified areas and plates and vases are produced by the Makonde community. All the furnishings were handmade on the island by Swahili craftsmen using local materials and each "piece", as each bungalow, is special in its uniqueness. Only the kitchen, the office and the two family bungalows were built with brick. The bungalows are surrounded by nature and hardly visible from the sea. Since the beginning Pole Pole embraced fully the local culture and its rhythms of life. Pole Pole mainly serves fresh sea products bought from local fishermen. Fruits and vegetables are bought by local farmers when the weather permits, and imported from other parts of the country when the island is not able to offer more choices to its guests. Anything that can be supplied by neighboring villages is purchased locally, also to promote local development and enable the inhabitants to benefit from the presence of tourism......"

Read the article

Lonely Planet 4th Edition Published May 2008

Pole Pole Bungalow Resort - This understated, classy place is set amidst the palm trees and tropical vegetation on a long hillside overlooking Chole Bay. Except for the excellent restaurant and the beautiful, open-sided duara (gazebo), which has stunning views over the water, it can be visually underwhelming at first glance. But its quiet style, impeccable service, cuisine, the premium placed on privacy, the lack of TVs and other distractions and the simply elegance of its bungalows - all made completely out of natural materials and with large private verandas - make it a fantastic getaway. The overall ambience is an ideal balance between luxury and lack of pretension. A full range of excursions is offered, including to the Rufiji River delta, and there's a resident masseuse.

Bradt Travel Guide to Zanzibar, Pemba & Mafia

Pole Pole, meaning 'slowly, slowly' in Swahili, is a superb destination for relaxation. This Italian-managed lodge is designed to be fairly luxurious whilst still a little rustic, and smart without being pretentious. Set in a garden of coconut palms, and connected by pathways of the softest sand, Pole Pole has a small beach in front of it, perhaps 100m wide, with mangroves on either side. A path through the mangroves leads in a short walk of a few minutes to Kinasi Lodge (if you turn right) or to Mafia Island Lodge (if you turn left). Pole Pole's large bungalows, built almost entirely from organic materials, have modern en-suite bathrooms, including twin wash basins, showers, a bidet and a flush toilet. The bedroom has a polished wooden floor, some stylishly simple furniture, a ceiling fan and 24-hour electricity; its double or twin beds are surrounded by a walk-in mosquito net. Large double-doors lead onto very wide, shaded veranda overlooking the sea below, complete with some relaxing day-beds and chairs. Typical Italian four-course dinners are served at private tables in the restaurant. Starters are usually light, eg: crab salad, followed by a sizeable pasta course (or soup), then a main dish (typically seafood with simple vegetables) followed by dessert. (Swahili dinners are offered once a week or any day on request) Service is attentive and helpful, and there are also two good local masseuses to relax your muscles after a hard day's exertions. Pole Pole has no swimming pool, but snorkelling, diving, game fishing and other excursions are offered. One dhow trip - usually including some snorkelling and perhaps a picnic lunch - is normally offered every day on a complimentary basis, if guests wish to join in. If you're looking for somewhere small, comfortable and fairly remote with great diving and snorkelling, and involving very low-key excursions, then Pole Pole offers very good value indeed.