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“amazing experience..go!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pemba Lodge Ltd.

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Pemba Lodge Ltd.
Shamiani Island, Kiweni (Shamiani) 3361, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
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Zanzibar & Pemba Package!
Cph
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“amazing experience..go!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Wonderfully relaxing beach paradise. If you like falling of the map then this is for you. People told us Pemba was a must-go whilst visiting Zanzibar and they were not wrong. It is another world.

We spent 2 nights at Chumbe afterwards (it must be said that the bungalows there are very special & probably the best part of that experience) but Pemba Lodge then went up in our estimation compared to this renowned & highly rated island.

Pemba Lodge is not wildly luxurious or five star and this is reflected in the price which seems very fair for what you get. Everything is well done. Think natural, simple, authentic. At the moment it does not get too busy and there were only a few other guests during our stay. On New Year’s Eve we had the whole place to ourselves. They served us dinner by the ocean under a star-filled sky and made palm-leaf bowers for our room and beach bed to celebrate the New Year. Very nice attention.

We kept on laughing out loud at having the whole beach and all the staff just for us – it seemed so crazy and lucky.

You are on a small island inhabited by fishermen/sharecropping farmers so you will meet the locals as they go about their business on the beach and in the sea.
Everyone is very friendly and slightly surprised to see strangers – especially the kids who go all goofy (a bit scared/a bit showing off).

The beach is to die for. The finest sand we have ever come across - it’s like talcum powder & goes to a soft seductive fudge texture when it is wet. It is very tidal (as I believe all the beaches in the Zanzibar archipelago are) so you can only really swim at high tide and even then it is quite shallow. Turtle beach is a 15 minute walk away and this gets a bit deeper with some surf – you can watch the sunset from there. If you like birdlife there is an abundance, so bring your binoculars, we saw something new every day.

The food is good – not exactly amazing but very good - and mainly about the daily catch. Highlights were the fantastic fruit plate at breakfast, an unctuous braised octopus, a nicely cooked white snapper, and a great grilled whole fish for new year. A couple of minor criticisms (management please note): the fish with very little natural fat such as tuna was overcooked and dry, and the use of either rice or chips with the main dish was a bit boring after a day or two. You have a good chef who makes tasty food so we feel you could extend the repertoire of side dishes and accompaniments & this would enhance the food experience a lot.
Go local, not international. You are very nearly there!

All the staff were great. Ali was running the place during our 5-night stay and he really looked after us. A star. Seeing him in action on the breezy dhow trip was amazing.

All in all, very special. The resort experience trimmed back to something truer and more rewarding. Get there before the rest of the world finds out.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nassor_Maharouky, Owner at Pemba Lodge Ltd., responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Dear Nick,

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback on your New Year stay with us here at Pemba Lodge. It is always rewarding to hear when guests have enjoyed our lodge and services and to receive affirmation that we are on the right track in our vision of providing an affordable eco-friendly experience.
I will ensure that your comments regarding the overcooking of fresh fish are passed on to our chef for his attention. It is only through such critique from our guests that we are able to improve the service we provide.
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52 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Stockholm, Sweden
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

My husband and I stayed here in December 2012 for five nights, six days. We had really been looking forward to just relax in the sun and swimming.
Unfortunately, we have not much positive to say about this place. During the time we stayed there, it was NEVER high tide; we could not swim for six days. At best, the water was knee-high. It was not possible to cool off with a shower, as it was only a tiny little jet. Could not even wash your hair. There was beach loungers but no shade, no umbrellas. You only had your patio or the restaurant to get some shade. The worst was the SMELL from the toilet. It was horrific. At night, it felt as if you breathed in poisonous gas. There was a smell of sulfur and other things ..... We complained about the smell and had to change bungalow but it was the same there. We also told them that it was too hot at night. On the website it says that houses are built so that there will always be a cooling breeze. This is not true at all. We were the only ones who lived there but still, they waited to give us an electricfan until the last night. Arriving to the island is not easy. First an hour by car from the airport, then you have to wade through mangrove swamps, mud and clay in about 20 minutes. Then a boat trip, which was nice, and then a long walk, it says 10-15 minutes but it takes about 30 minutes. Then add that to it that it was really hot and it was not possible to swim or cool off with a shower. The food was good, variation vas good even though it was the same fish for lunch as for dinner. Something that upset me very much was the lack of bottled water. I asked several times for water, they gave me their filtered tap water in a very old and used bottle. That there is no water available is not acceptable. Could not get a gin & tonic, as they had no Tonic Water, let alone a few drinks. There was much that was finished. We asked for snacks such as Pringles. In response we received that the owners friends who was staying there had eaten up everything. We also asked about the nice catamaran, if we could book it and make a trip. No - it was not possible, it was the owner's boat and only for his friends. We asked about the tide and we were informed that there would be a board where we could read about the different tides. No such board came up during our 6 days stay. This place has a lot to wish for and we don´t really know to whom we would recommend it to.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4south, Owner at Pemba Lodge Ltd., responded to this review, February 21, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review your December stay with us.

We take the satisfaction of our guests most seriously and in this case it is quite clear that we have failed. I do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Please be assured I will personally look into all the issues raised with our Manager to ensure they are addressed appropriately.
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Durban, South Africa
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2013

I returned to Pemba Lodge for another family holiday in my favorite, untouched island paradise. A lovely summer holiday away from the busy city life where you can soak up the sunshine, enjoy the tranquil setting and do lots of exploring of the island, surrounding mangroves, sea and coral reefs. There have been noticable improvements in the help and understanding of the staff and I know it will continue to improve in the future. We sailed the Tiki from Dongoni (place on Shamiani island) to Misali where we spent one night sleeping under the stars - an unforgettable experience! I recommend this Eco lodge to anyone who enjoys nature, simple living (trying to have the smallest possible negative impact on the environment) and going to untouched parts of the world where nature takes your breath away!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nassor_Maharouky, Owner at Pemba Lodge Ltd., responded to this review, October 24, 2013
Thank you your review it was a pleasure to read that you understood and appreciated what we are trying to achieve at the lodge. We are continually making improvements on Shamiani Island.
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

My wife and I spent amazing 5 nights at the Eco lodge, we cannot speak highly enough of our experience. The service by Mr Ali and Mr Tila was attentive but, not entrusive. Chief Ali's cooking was outstanding with local ingredients. The fresh crab meal is one we never forget, cooked to perfection!

Activities - fishing, sea kayaking, and snokneling were also great highlights.

It was amazing to be the only guests staying, it was like we has the island to ourselves.

This place is rustic but, a real gem for pure relaxation in tropical paradise.

Usually we don't post on trip advisor but, we felt it was a must with this great lodge.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dodoma
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

Pemba Lodge is a superb place that gets you away from it all. In a authentic African setting we enjoyed an almost private beach, great seafood, wonderful snorkeling and kayaking in a blue lagoon. The staff is very friendly and they will make sure you will enjoy your stay.
Pemba itself is very picturesque and more beautiful than Zanzibar (Unguja). The protected marine parks that are close (eg Misali Island) are simply stunning.

Room Tip: There are only 4 houses and they are all comfortable and enjoyable.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nassor_Maharouky, Owner at Pemba Lodge Ltd., responded to this review, December 28, 2012
Dear F.K.

Thank you for your positive comments, myself and the rest of the Pemba lodge team always appreciate the feedback from our guests.

We are more than pleased that you enjoyed your stay and hope to see you again in the near future.

Thank you.

Nassor Maharouky

Owner.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Latina, Italy
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

Spent a week in this little, secluded paradise.
We were searching for a quite place to relax.
We wanted an hideaway, far from discos - cars - beach-boys - ringing phones ...
...and we have got much more.
Lovely people, simple genuine delicious meals, clean accommodation, stunning view from the bungalow, long desert beach to walk (during the day and at night), cristal clear water to swim.
Those little tiny sailboats cruising in and out from the laguna, listening the screams of the bush-baby while having dinner.
And more: kayaking around the Shamiani island in the mangroves, visiting the local village, snorkelling on the corals of the inside reef, watching monkeys running into the bush.
Pemba Lodge is surely NOT the cheapest place on earth, but the way you are spoiled by Ali & Co. makes the stay so special!
On the way back to Zanzibar the plane was flying just above the resort, and looking from above we realised once more how lucky we were.
There were just a few guest in the resort, and we even managed to perform charity act, as a gentleman from Holland had no shoes to carry on his holiday! (R&W will love this).
Not to forget: Pemba Lodge promotes the conservation of sea turtles, buying the turtles that remain trapped from the local fishermen, and so avoid the animal is killed.
The day we left, we released a turtle on our way to the harbour.
Our 8 years daughter would surely keep this touching memory forever.
Will Pemba Lodge stay like this for the future?
Mr. Nassor S. Maharouky, owner of the resort, did a fantastic job, and we really enjoyed it.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
4south, Inhaber at Pemba Lodge Ltd., responded to this review, October 18, 2012
Thank you for reviewing Pemba Lodge!

We have taken a leap of faith to build an eco lodge on this beautiful and very remote beach, knowing that we have to put our hearts fully into the project to make it work – and we did exactly that. To see our guests enjoying their stay so much is a wonderful reward and incentive for us!

Will Pemba Lodge stay as it is now? While we’ll continue to improve our services, it will most definitely retain its character and philosophy, since that is who we are and what we believe in.

It was a pleasure having you here, and we would love to welcome you again in the future!

Best wishes from all of us!

Nassor S. Maharouky
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2012

After a few days on Ungunja we took the ferry to Pemba. There we we're picked up by a friendly taxi driver and brought to a small fishing harbour at the Southend of the island. Here a small boat was waiting for us with a coconut for some refreshment. We left the harbour and after a stunning 15 min boat drive with mangrove bushes, blue water, beautiful beaches and incredible views we arrived at Pemba Lodge.

Here Ali (assistant manager) welcomed us and invited us in to the mainhouse/restaurant for a drink and some explanation about the rooms, diner and things to do. The rooms where all with a sea view, very spacious and due to the constant breeze very comfortable temperature wise (no air conditioning or fan needed). Keep in mind that if you use a lot of water (showering for example) that it is necessary to pump it up, so just give a heads up to Ali or someone else so they can make sure that you have enough water in your tank for the next time you shower.

The food was mostly catch of the day and nicely prepared if you have any special requests just say this to Ali and they can arrange it for you. Breakfast was fresh fruits, fresh rolls, eggs prepared the way you like and pancakes delicious!

What I think was a really nice activity is to visit the small village. We went there by kajak and Mr Tila was our guide. He knew a lot about the village because he lives there and he even invited us into his home! The kids that live there don't see a lot of mzungu's so don't be surprised if they all come to see you and walk with you around the village.

I think that if you like peace and quiet with a beautiful beach and want to get away from a busy life this is a great place to go. The place is still very undiscovered and due to that unspoiled so you have the feeling of being on a desert island but with the luxury of a great hotel!

Thank you Ali, Mr Tila and the rest of the crew for an amazing two days!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pemba Lodge Ltd.

Address: Shamiani Island, Kiweni (Shamiani) 3361, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Pemba Island > Kiweni (Shamiani)
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 hotels in Kiweni (Shamiani)
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pemba Lodge, situated on the remote and beautiful Shamiani Island off Pemba, Zanzibar’s sister island.It is Pemba’s first true eco-lodge ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pemba Lodge Ltd. Pemba Island, Tanzania

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