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“Manta Resort Review” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Manta Resort

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The Manta Resort
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Box 32 | Wete, Tanzania   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pemba Island
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Manta Resort Review”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2012

My wife and I went for a 2 week safari in northern Tanzania in late Jan 2012. It could not have gone any better. Sanjay, apparently the owner of Roy Safaris, was absolutely the most thorough travel agent with whom I have worked.

Some of these reviews of Manta are, quite simply unjustified. I was expecting much more meager accommodations based on what these other reviews say. Overall, I was quite surprised! Simply put, it’s a 3 star resort in a 5 star location. They have done incredible things at the resort with limited resources. Therefore, I give it 4/5 stars.

Sandy, the manager was super welcoming and made sure our stay was perfect. She even printed maps of Stone Town and gave us restaurant recommendation for when we went back to Zanzibar. She left during our stay to go on vacation herself, but it would have been nice to hang out with her more.

We stayed in a beach bungalow. Nicely appointed, large, great views, clean and air conditioned. But as other reviewers have stated, the toilet does not have a door. That is the only thing I can knock about the room.

The food was excellent. Each group gets the same server every day. He’s a local with whom you’ll develop a nice relationship. Quantity and quality of food were NOT a problem when we visited. Maybe they have fixed that problem, but the food was EXCELLENT, and pletiful. The chef did a great job with what must be limited resources on such a small island. We ate local fish, sausages, chicken, soups, and beef. I actually looked forward to each meal! On the last night they surprised us with a private beach seafood extravaganza dinner under the stars. My wife did cartwheels on the beach at night while I ate the lobster.

The beach was spectacular. Very fine white sand. The best I’ve seen. There are not many people at the resort, so don’t plan on a busy social lift while you are there. It’s a place to relax, read, sunbathe, and dive. Previous reviews stated the quality of the beach chairs were “tatty”. We did not see this. The quality was just fine and clean.

The diving was just OK. The boat was of poor quality and many of the dive sites are over-fished. The locals free dive all day taking most of the bigger game. But the water was warm, and clear. It still enjoyed the diving. Go to Fundu Gap. That was the best diving there.

One other concern is that you really can’t leave the property to walk around. There is no town nearby, and even if there was, I’m not sure how safe it would be in this very traditional, poor Muslim country. We essentially never left the property other than on the water. Certainly, you can get a guided tour of a local village by one of the hotel staff, but you dare not go out alone.

The bars/drinks are all inclusive and seem to be always open. Again, there isn’t a happening bar scene, but that was not what my wife and I were looking for.

Overall, we had an excellent experience. I highly recommend it for adventurous types who want to do some diving in a remote location. I think 4-5 days was just about right.

  • Stayed February 2012, 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
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252 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (66)
Date | Rating
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English first
Nairobi, Kenya
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2012

We had a fantastic time at the Manta Resort. A few things to note.
1. The resort is about 1 to 1/2 hours by car from the Pemba airport. That was fine with us, but some did not expect it and were a bit annoyed. One of the appeals of Manta is how remote it is -- if it were easier to get to then it would be less quiet and relazing!

2. We were there in December. It is quite hot that time of year. We had booked one of the non air conditioned garden rooms. It was okay, but if we go again that time of year we would probably upgrade to an AC room. The room was fine. Mostly one room with bed, and small bathroom facility. The sink is small but serviceable. It was not a room one would just hang out in. But the common area is large, beautiful, and comfortable. This was no problem for us, but if you want a private space during the day, you might look into the larger fancier rooms.

3. The setting is spectacular. Beautiful, beautiful ocean -- water you can see through for meters and meters. The beach is fine white sand. And most importantly, there are few other people on the beach. The local fisherman are also on the beach. They do not solicit at all, but are open to conversation about their catch if you are interested. This is a great change for us from Kenya, where the minute we walk on the beach we are usually inundated by beach people trying to sell trinkets, or excursions, or camel rides. Yes, camel rides on the beach.

4. The dive center is fantastic. I had dived before -- but almost two decades ago. My partner had never dived. David at the dive center was fantastic -- staying close to her and answering all her questions. Jennifer was nervous during the first open water dive (we did some preliminary orientation in the pool), but then loved it so much that we did a total of four dives while there, and would have done more if we had had time. The message: great place for experienced divers but also for newbies.

5. The good is very good, not fantastic. But if we want really good food we go to London or New York. So this is not at all a criticism of the resort. The fish is excellent.

6. While you are away from everything, you can get internet (pretty slow, but useable) in the main lodge. We went to get away from electronic communication, so this was perfect for us.

In sum, this is a fantastic place to get away, either as a couple or family. (There was a very nice family staying while we were there -- couple with two teenage children. They all had a great time.) This is more of a place to rest, dive, snorkel, or swim. There is not too much to see in the area (there are some sites, though we did not go to any of them). The staff are incredibly helpful and pleasant. We will definitely plan a trip back.

  • Stayed December 2011, 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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london
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2012

I'll start by saying that I'm a real fan of Tanzania and when I write this I'm comparing the Manta Resort to other stays in Zanzibar, Mafia and Chumbe islands as well as mainland Tanzania.

Starting with some positives - really great food, nice service, relaxed atmosphere, beach on your doorstep, spa is a treat as are the cocktails and of course a cold kilimanjaro.

However the superior garden room is definitely a dissapointment, very tired and in need of an urgent upgrade. If you can do without air-con then stick with the cheaper but actually nicer standard rooms.

The diving is good with helpful staff and dive masters, definitely recommended for divers.

All in all we really enjoyed our stay which for us combined relaxation with diving in a charming location however Manta really need to improve those superior rooms.

So if you want a laid back holiday and/or diving then Manta is for you.

Room Tip: Superior garden room not worth the upgrade
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2012

This is a breathtaking resort where you will be able relax and rejuvenate in stunning, natural surroundings. The diving was very good and the dive shop accommodated all of our needs. The food was creatively elegant and one day we even saw the fish brought up from the beach by a local fisherman that we had for dinner! Do not miss the village walk to the lighthouse, the sunset Dhow boat ride, and on the way back to the airport, ask to leave early and arrange for a visit of Kidike which is the largest flying fox reserve (there are thousands of them), run by a local community group. We left Manta resort reinvigorated and with wonderful memories.

Room Tip: For the budget conscious, a garden room is an excellent accomodation and you can enjoy the views of...
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  • Stayed January 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
    • 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.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2012

We stayed here in January 2011. After a very loooong, hot and bumpy ride we arrived at Manta. We were immdeiatly greeted by the friendly and efficient staff. This, with the beautiful setting, immediately created a relaxing atmosphere. The service and food were very good as you have a server dedicated to you. The best part is that everything is included in the price and while they ran out of Amarula, it was replaced within a day, which, considering how removed the resort is from anywhere, was very well done. Diving is a must and the equipment can be obtained for free and is generally in good condition.

However, some things must be taken into consideration.
Low tide is very low, the sea retreats for a few hundred meters and that brings out the locals to the beach, limiting our privacy a little. We were never approached by any of the locals, unlike Zanzibar proper, so it is not really a big issue. Get the air conditioned rooms. I had friends staying in one of the non-air conditioned rooms and it can be quite unpleasant in the heat.
There is very limited internet access and no TV, which for us was great, but for others may be an issue.

We had a wonderful time at Manta and so did our friends and it is a definite recommendation from us.

Room Tip: Get the air-conditioned rooms, they are a bit more expensive but a MUST.
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Cape Town Central, South Africa
2 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

Manta, Pemba is an incredibly special place. It is not a run of the mill chain hotel, on an over touristy spot. It is a humble, no frills , simple luxuries, secluded boutique hotel, with incredible staff, on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Manta gave us the opportunity to experience white sands, turquoise waters (not green or brown or even dark blue …. TURQUOISE) in perfect untouched solitude without breaking the bank.

We spent 2 weeks at Manta for our honeymoon, and are so grateful that our lucky (or barefootbreaks.co.za) stars took us there.

Location:

A 1 and a half hour drive from the only airport on the island, through a national forest and small villages, the only people we saw while on holiday were the manta staff, and our fellow manta guests.
Solitude on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world = perfection!

The beach is, simply perfect. With hammocks scattered under indigenous trees on the shoreline, and a fresh lime, ginger and lemon grass cocktail only a meter and a smile away, this (and the hospitality) is why you come to Manta.

There are kayaks that you can take as you please, and we paddled around the pristine waters of the island, hopping off to snorkel or swim or enjoy the nearby beaches. We asked for a picnick and were given freshly baked banana bread and ginger beers, a little piece of heaven right there.

An hour walk away is another magnificent crescent shaped beach reserve. Although your service fundi will gladly take you, we chose to explore on our own. Not once did we feel unsafe, and walking through mud hut villages with children waving and pointing us in the right direction, was an authentic Pemba experience.


Hospitality:
Our amazing service fundi Faizel was friendly, genuine, funny and informed.
We also made friends with a few of the other service fundi’s on duty, they are all such cool guys who are so proud of their island, and gracefully endeavored to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. As did manageress Sandy, who was a tireless and approachable wealth of information on the island, and sourced every request we had (after sun, clove honey etc.).

What impressed us most about the staff at Manta was how happy they all seem to be, and the graceful attitude in which they endeavor to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

It was hard not to get swept up in a laid-back island vibe, and learn a bit of Swahili while we were at it!

Food:

While the selection is limited due to the island not being easily accessible for regular grocery supplies, the food was fresh and well presented.
We were very happy that there was always a seafood option, and loved the 'Swahili' evening where we got to sample local delicacies.

There were also freshly baked loafs of varying sorts every day, and as we were exhausted from swimming, walking or lying on the hammocks, it was hard not to indulge.

Rooms:

The rooms were very simple, but clean and comfortable. When choosing Manta groundbreaking décor or glamour was not on our priority list.
Anything they did not have we felt comfortable to ask Sandy (manageress) for.

We felt that the ethos of Manta is uninterrupted authentic beauty and down to earth hearty hospitality.
We loved that the man aim is relaxation, (no cheesy evening entertainment or pumping music) and to enable enjoyment of the amazing location.

If this sounds as thrilling to you as it does to us this is the place for you!

Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2011

Well. I have been thinking about this review alot since we were in Pemba a week ago. My Wife and I stayed at Manta Resort for 7 nights a the start of a 6 week trip to Africa, Europe and Asia. After we decided on Manta a couple of bad reviews appeared and I was not sure what to make of the resort before we arrived.

We were met at the airport and driven throuh the forest to the resort where we met 'Dulla who looked after us for the next week. We spent the first two days lying on the perfect, perfect white beach and swimming in the perfect perfect blue water. When we got our act together we organised diving - my wife is experienced and did an advanced course and I did the beginners open water course. We spent the next three days diving in the most beautiful coral with Maxwell and thousands and thousands of fish. He was our own private dive instructor (but he still forced us to study). We even saw a Manta Ray at the Njao Gap!

In amongst this activity we were fed by the team in the kitchen and got our massages every day from Happy and Alice. I am not a fan of fish but at Manta the kitchen staff do such an amazing job that I tried everything and found myself looking forward to every meal. We even got a wonderful picnic for one of our diving trips which we ate on the beach with the guys from the boat. In the end we ate too much - but it was such beautiful food! In the end we ran out of time to do all the activities we wanted to do - but that means we will have to come back soon!

After 7 days I now understand the bad reviews I read about Manta. I think these people were looking for the kind of cookie cutter luxury resort experience you can have anywhere on earth. I think people want the same rooms, the same hotels, the same staff and the same service as they can get in a million other expensive luxury resorts. But Manta resort is not like that.

By far the most important and wonderful part of our Manta experience was that it was completely unique. For 7 days we were part of a family. We got personal service from people who became ours friends. We got to live in luxury in a very remote part of the world and we got to share an experience that was so special because of the wonderful people at Manta. This is not a five star luxury hotel in a major capital city or famous holiday island. This is a wonderful, quite, peaceful place where people like us are lucky enough to be able to visit in comfort and see one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Andrea and I want to thank everyone at Manta for making this the perfect holiday. We will never forget this experience and we will never forget you all for making it possible. Thankyou so much.

To everyone else - if you want something unique, and wonderful and special make this journey soon because the rest of the world is waking up to Pemba and people are trying to get permission to build new resorts. In twenty years Pemba might be just like Zanzibar which is ok, but it wont be the same.

Duncan McG

Room Tip: I am not built for the hot climate so I really benefitted from the air conditioning in the Sea Front...
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  • Stayed November 2011, 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Manta Resort

Address: Box 32 | Wete, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Pemba Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Pemba Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Manta Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Elevated and crafted along an idyllic island beach, The Manta Resort offers privacy, romance, adventure, and water sports on East Africa's finest island sanctuary. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Manta Hotel Pemba Island
Manta Hotel Pemba Island

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