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“There is no better way to unwind and relax in east Africa!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kervan Saray Beach Lodge

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Kervan Saray Beach Lodge
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Physical: Plot 29, Makangale Village, Tanzania   |  
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Stone Town, Tanzania
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“There is no better way to unwind and relax in east Africa!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2014

After a hectic week at work We'd planned a few days away for some rest, recuperation & diving in Pemba! Kervan Saray is a little peace of heaven in the North-west of the island. The staff are really friendly and helpful, the rooms are stunning and the food is excellent. The relaxed ambience of the place makes you feel part of the Swahili divers family straight away and we made some really nice friends.
The diving, especially off "the wall" is spectacular and there is so much to see.
I'd happily recommend a trip here to anyone, diver or not. It's either great diving, forest walks, beaches, kayaking and cycling or lying by the sea with a good book. The perfect way to unwind!

Room Tip: Fear not, all the rooms are spacious and beautiful with real character
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  • Stayed February 2014, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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137 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    88
    32
    5
    6
    6
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15
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

Very pleasant, tranquille place. Nice bungalows - big and clean. Set menu with very good food. Swahili divers are competent, nice and fun dive operator. The location is remote and with no near neighbours. Reading, relaxing, diving, walking and kayaking is the name of the game! We liked it a lot.

Room Tip: There was no gym or spa.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brasilia, DF
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2013

The Kervan Saray Beach Lodge is a fantastic place for who is looking for amazing dives and good accomodation. Everything works well!

The diving staff is excellent! Nice atmosphere! It is a place to meet people and make friends!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

I was at Kervan Saray Beach lodge mid Oct 2013 when I went to Zanzibar and Pemba Islands on a diving trip, and I have to say it was nothing like what I expected. Although I knew the lodge and the dive centre is located in the greens, I didn't know it meant exactly that !

The manager, Deon took us on a short tour of the lodge and explained how everything worked. I fell in love with the deck by the ocean on the very first sight, I think I must have spent every free second (apart from diving & kayaking) at the deck, just reading my book, dozing off, watching the sunset. So peaceful !
So, the rooms or the bungalows are pretty basic with a thatch roof, and semi-open roof bathrooms, but it's the best that you can get in the middle of nowhere. If you scream at the sight of spiders and gekkos, this place isn't for you. But if you can truly appreciate the beauty of wilderness and untamed nature, you'll love this place and the tranquility it has to offer.

There's a big dinner table in the bar/restaurant area where all the guests eat their meals together, it's a really nice concept as you can get to know people from different walks of life.. and really you have to talk to your fellow-guests, coz otherwise you'll end up having conversations with the bush-babies haha..
I had my first taste of a real Swahili meal here at Pemba, and I absolutely loved it. I especially enjoyed the African spicy chai with ginger and cloves, really nice ! :)

The dive centre run by Swahili Divers is totally upto the mark. Instructor Darren talked us through the do's and dont's and everything else you should know about diving in Pemba in detail. That was extremely helpful. I went diving with Instructor Craig the next day, and I have to say he's a beyond-excellent dive guide. DM-in-training Issa was very helpful too.
Very professional and friendly guys, they make you feel at ease instantly, and you just know you're on for a great diving experience which I did. Although the currents were crazy strong in the second dive, it was good fun. You can't expect calm waters here, you're in Pemba !!
I went kayaking the next day, that was quite nice as well !

Before this whole adventure even started, I was in constant touch with Francisca through emails, and I have to say this trip wouldn't have been possible without her help. I knew zilch about diving and staying in Pemba, and Francisca literally held my hands through planning EVERYTHING - right from flights, equipment, finances..I had her input on everything. She's really prompt and extremely helpful. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see her as she was travelling, but hey there's always a next time.

Guys, if you are planning to go to Pemba Islands - Kervan Saray and Swahili Divers is the place you want to be at

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2013

I visited the first week on October and had a memorable time.
Family atmosphere- The moment my group arrived, we were welcomed as part of the family. Cisca had set up the arrangements for my group, therefore when all the accomodations and excursions were handled, we had a no stress trip! The genuine staff(Deon, Craig, Daren) made the experience very warm and inviting.
The meals were friendly dining with the other visitors and staff. The homemade cuisane kept us looking forward to the meals and anticipating what speciality would be for dinner. Open fire pit wtih skewer catch of the day to soups made from scratch. Spoiled would be a simple desciption.

Great Dive Staff- Craig and Darren were top notch Dive Masters. While keeping a close eye for safety at all times, the dives were an incredible experience. Knowing that my group only had a few days of diving, Craig expertly arranged a variety of dive sites to ensure we had a diverse exposure to the Pema.

Would I recommend to anyone wanting a family, relaxed atmosphere with great staff and a diving experience to be remembered. Yes.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2013

I went to Kervan Saray Beach Lodge in August and had an unforgettable experience! I was there for the world class diving that was provided by Swahili Divers and I've got to say they offered some of the best diving I've ever done. Their operation was run by professional PADI instructors Craig and Darren who were always very helpful and knowledgeable about the diving in the area. They ran a tight ship and were excellent guides! Iza the dive master in training was also very helpful with the divers and will make a great DM one day! This is a place to go if you want to be immersed in the beauty of Tanzania. It is by far one of the coolest places to visit. Special thanks to Raf, Cisca and Deon for all their help!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stone Town, Tanzania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2013

I work on Zanzibar, and don't get much time to get away from it all (yes, I know it is quite unbelievable for someone living in a tropical paradise to be complaining about being stuck there) - I headed up there at the beginning of June 2013 for some rest and relaxation, and I'm so glad I went here!

Pemba is a much different creature than Unguja (the main island in the Zanzibar archipelago), with less hustle and bustle than the relatively thriving city life in Stone Town - and for someone wanting to kick back and relax without any hassle I cannot recommend this place highly enough!

I spend the majority of my life diving, but I still couldn't resist checking out the diving conditions on the northern island - WOW. The crystal clear waters and jaw-dropping drop-offs need to be seen to be believed. With the island being somewhat off the beaten track the dive sites benefit from not being inundated with numerous dive boats and being swamped with divers kicking lumps out of the reefs... so while I'm saying this is good, I'd like to say in the same breath that it's bad that more people don't know enough about this small island in East Africa and make it one of the top items on a wishlist of places to dive!

The resort was clean, and the food was magnificent! It was very nice touch to have the managers sit and eat and chat with you - Deon, Cisca, Raf and Sam always have some great stories about Africa and they are a real pleasure to spend time with.

Top tip: make sure you spend at least one of your evenings have a nice drink sat on the deck overlooking the beach and ocean as the sun slowly sets. Simply fantastic.

  • Stayed June 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kervan Saray Beach Lodge

Address: Physical: Plot 29, Makangale Village, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Pemba Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Pemba Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kervan Saray Beach Lodge is a series of large airy bungalows beside the sea. Started as simple accommodation for divers , the Kervan Saray has evolved into a comfortable lodge for scuba divers, birders, sea kayakers and adventurous souls alike. A bar, pool, restaurant and deck, allow our guests to really relax. The Hotel is also home to Swahili Divers, Pemba’s first PADI 5 star dive centre, The Kervan Saray Beach is owner managed. ... more   less 

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