Pole Pole Resort (it’s name means ‘slowly, slowly’ in the Swahili language) has been hailed by the US Travel & Leisure magazine as one of the top 25 eco-lodges in the world.
Pole Pole is located in the Chole Bay area, near Utende village on the southeast coast of the Mafia Island Marine Park. It lies on the beach, within a tropical garden, overlooking a spectacular view of the Mafia Archipelago and the Indian Ocean.
Seven ‘Luxury bungalows suites’, elegant and spacious, are set among the coconut palms overlooking the bay. The rooms are furnished with carved and antique pieces. Twin and double beds are available and an extra bed can be provided.
Two bungalows are ‘family’ type with two rooms separated by the bathroom and a small corridor for privacy. The large private verandahs are furnished with a Zanzibari bed, chairs, table and an armchair. Each bungalow is self-contained, the bathroom is spacious and comfortable. There are two ceiling fans, one on the verandah and one in the bedroom above the bed.
Pole Pole is a low environmental impact resort with a state-of-the-art phyto-purification plant which is a special process of treating wastewater to prevent environmental pollution.
Food and Drink
The cuisine is a combination of diverse culinary traditions and cultures, with an Italian style touch of class. Swahili dinners are served once a week or on request. The resort caters for special dietary requirements whenever possible. Most of the food served is organically grown and bought on the island to help fishermen and farmers benefit from tourism development.
A selection of alcoholic beverages, wines, beers, juices and cold drinks are always available at the bar.
Additional Services at Pole Pole
• Laundry service is available and complimentary.
• Beach kitenge (or local cloth) are provided for your use on the boats and on the beach.
• Hot and cold water is available 24 hours.
• A hair dryer can be borrowed from the reception.
• A few useful items (shampoo, films etc) as well as local fabrics, carvings and beach items are for sale at the bar & restaurant.
• VISA and Mastercard credit cards are accepted (authorisation costs are involved).
• A safety box is available and located at the reception.
There are different types of activities or excursions: by boat, by 4×4 car or walking and light trekking. The activities in the marine park are: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing and visiting the local villages. Pole Pole organises boat excursions and picnics to isolated islets, sandbanks or islands every day, according to the tide. The Diving Centre provides PADI Federations’ certificates (medical certificates are mandatory to do a beginners course).
The excursions by 4×4 car take you right across the island through villages and changing landscapes up to the northern tip where a lighthouse stands.
You can enjoy a relaxing body massage using essential oils in Pole Pole’s peaceful massage centre overlooking the beach. Their masseuse has been trained in lymphatic drainage style massage and aromatherapy. Manicure and pedicure are also available.
Environment and Local Community
The Mafia Archipelago and the delta of the Rufiji River form one of the most interesting marine ecosystems and coral reefs in the world. The area has a high bio-diversity and is considered an important habitat for endangered species. There are over 400 species of fish. On land the rich vegetation is dominated by large palm groves, baobabs, mangroves and fruit trees. The wildlife is extremely varied; monkeys, small antelopes, wild pigs, bush-babies as well as a small colony of elusive hippos. There are also countless types of birds.
The warm, safe waters of the inland bays and lagoons are a paradise for both expert and beginner scuba divers as well as those simply wishing to snorkel. Mafia Island Marine Park was established as the first Marine Park in Tanzania and covers a surface of 821 km2.
Pole Pole takes it’s environmental responsibility very seriously.
There is no swimming pool for the following reasons:
• Lack of water: we find it unfair to use large amounts of fresh water while local population struggles everyday to get enough water to live.
• Pollution: we are a low environmental impact resort with a state-of-the-art phyto-purification plant and experts consider swimming pools a threat to marine parks because waters with high concentration of chlorine have to be discarded periodically.
• The sea in Mafia is so beautiful you won’t feel the absence of a swimming pool.
They don’t have air conditioning in the bungalows as there is always a cool breeze but we have put ceiling fans above the beds for the warmer days. The rooms are very spacious and windows on all sides ensure a pleasant cross ventilation. Being environmentally inclined, no air conditioning means saving power and most of all, maintaining a quiet and calm place.
What is Phyto-purification?
Phyto-purification is the special process of treating waste-water to prevent environmental pollution. Waste water is pumped away to a main septic sewage system and then filtered underground through a phyto-depuration bamboo pool. The process is so effective that at the end, the purified water can be used for gardening. The process is pollution free.
How to reach Pole Pole
Mafia Island is approximately 30 miles off the Tanzanian coast, about 30 minutes by air from Dar es Salaam and 45 minutes from the Selous Game Reserve and Zanzibar Island. Mafia is reachable by light aircraft only. The resort is a 20 minute drive from Kilindoni, the main village and airstrip. The transfer to and from the airport is included in the accommodation cost.
Our Opinion on Pole Pole
Pole Pole, and indeed Mafia Island, is one of the best kept secrets in the area. Fortunately the size of this resort keeps visitors down and its strong eco credentials ensure that the island doesn’t get ruined for the lucky few who visit.
Be warned, this resort is a little off the beaten track, however those of us who love this style of escapism, and want to spend time relaxing and snorkelling around a pristine environment will love Pole Pole Resort for all that it is and all that it is not.
Looking To Book? Check Prices Here.
- Category3. Excellent
- LocationMafia Island
- TagsPole Pole
- Guide PriceFrom: USD $250 pppn Full Board.
- ReservationsCall: 0044 (0)1227 753181 or Email: [email protected]