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.