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“Amazing place!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel

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Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel
P.O.Box 695, Jambiani, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Jambiani
Brussels, Région De Bruxelles-Capitale, Belgium
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

We stayed in this place for a week in August 2012. We did some research beforehand and decided to stay on Jambiani beach. We then came across this little boutique hotel. I can only say that we were so lucky to have found this place and to have been able to stay there. The place is just amazing. It's no ordinary place. The rooms are all special and nicely designed, each piece of furniture and decoration in the room is well thought through and tasteful. The rooms are big and very comfortable. The food they offer is of superb quality. We travelled quite a bit in Tanzania and we can honestly say that the quality of the rooms, the food and the price is a good value for money. It's not the cheapest, but it's fair for what you get in return. We did not stay in a room with a sea view, but it didn't matter at all because the beach is just there as you step out of the room and there's a little terrace area just facing the sea where you can relax and enjoy the sun without even leaving the hotel premises. Lastly, we would like to mention that the hosts were super welcoming and helpful throughout our stay. They really made us feel welcomed and like part of their life there :-) We wish to go back there someday. So anyone thinking of where to stay in Zanzibar, we recommend first of all to stay away from parts of the island that are filled with big tourist resorts and to go with something a lot more special and closer to local life like the Jambiani beach, and secondly to stay in Mamamapambo. You won't regret it!

  • Stayed August 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
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194 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (48)
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English first
Munich, Germany
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

What a treat to stay here! The Mamamapambo in Jambiani is a lovely little hotel, artfully designed by the owner Stefania. Both Italian owners, Fabio and Stefania, make you feel like staying with friends and help you out with anything you need. We spent almost a week there and enjoyed every single day, either on the patio, in the garden or in the beautiful little restaurant. The rooms are spatious, with great views, big brand-new bathrooms and that certain something. If you go to Jambiani, Mamamapambo is first choice!

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

Excellent value small boutique hotel on a divine, unspoilt and 'local' beach on Zanzibar's East Coast . Great place to relax and unwind. I agree with the other favourable comments regarding the rooms - No 4 being one of the best. Owners and staff very friendly and helpful. Overall a very relaxed and informal ambience and excellent value. A couple of downsides for us - smoking is permitted and because the 'living/eating area is relatively compact, as non smokers, it was noticeable. Food is good but there is better a few minutes walk down the beach i.e The Sale and Pepe - is more than a wifi/internet cafe - great food and helpful staff.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
83 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

Great small scale hotel with with very good food, only 5 rooms and located in a very pleasant village where you can sit on your veranda and see the daily life go by.
Below my experience and view on our stay at Mamamapambo and Zanzibar ...
A bit of a list but hope you find it useful :)

- Rooms at Mamamapambo
I had the room on the first floor with sea view, a huge veranda to chill out and big bathroom with good working warm water and good water pressure. Decoration and style was absolutely charming. This room and the 2 sea view rooms on the ground floor are the best.
At low tide you can see daily life of the locals, the women harvesting sea weed, people hunting for octopus and kids playing soccer on the beach.

- The Food at Mamamapambo
Some unusual combinations but excellent. One day Fabio bought a fresh tuna and we had Tuna Carpaccio with fresh passion fruit for dinner; delicious!
Around noon the menu of the evening is written on the board and you can decide you eat in or go elsewhere. (We ate in many times :)
Breakfast was good with fresh fruit, pastries and eggs or pancakes of choice which the friendly staff will prepare for you.

- The Village
Long and stretched (about 6km). From the hotel you can walk south following the beach when it is hot and end afternoon when it is a bit cooler walk back via the village.
There weren't a lot of sellers on the beach in Jambiani and the few we saw were friendly and we had a nice chat (even we didn't buy anything).

There are some initiatives to clean the beach and village and I found Jambiani cleaner than some other villages we visited...
There is a school and clinic. We visited the school and the teacher gave us a tour. We donated some money and we brought school materials (pens, pencils, note blocks, etc) which really, really they can use....
Overall felt at ease in Jambiani.

- Changing Money
For excursions you can pay in USD or EUR. Restaurants & Cafe's mostly take Tanzanian Schilling (but you get a long way with dollar bills anywhere.)
Fabio can help out changing money if he has available and there is a supermarket in the next village Paje that changes money. There are no ATMs so bring some cash with you... Note that when we changed money at the supermarket they only had change for 80 USD.
Easiest is to change USD or EUR when you arrive at the airport.

TIP: in all currencies, make sure you have some small notes; useful for tipping and they may not have cash back from large dollar notes...

- Excursions & day trips
Fabio can arrange trips for you with help of a local tourist guide.
We choose to go snorkeling and see the mangrove forest (did the snorkeling twice!).

Duwa the guide picked us up around 9 am and drove us to the village of Matemwe. There a boat brought us to the Blue Lagoon; a coral reef which was absolutely amazing. As we did this trip twice, Duwa arranged a typical Dhow sailing boat the second time.
Then we headed off to see the Mangrove forest where they prepared a huge huge fruit lunch.
After we visited the Mangrove Forest, Duwa brought us to a place called Kae Funk, which was the coolest chilled rasta place ever along a beautiful remote beach. We went back here the next day for the sunset party which was a blast!
After Kae Funk we went back to Matemwe as we wanted to have a drink at the 'famous' Rock Cafe (see photo attached), bit pricy here but a good tick in the box.
We paid 30 Euro pp for this. (prices are a bit fluctuating.....)

- Please Do
Take a flashlight with you.... once it gets dark there is no street lighting. Plus in Zanzibar power outage is not uncommon. Our little flash lights were very helpful in many occasions

Wear a T-shirt when snorkeling! Even I am half Asian and put on factor 30, I got grilled...

Bring a straw hat to protect you for the sun... I didn't see any to buy in Jambiani...

If you have spare space in your suitcase, fill it up with useful stuff for the local school for example.

- What to Buy
The souvenirs are pretty much the same in the shops.
We did find that the souvenir shop in Paje (next to the supermarket) and on the beach at Dongwe (near the snorkeling place Blue Lagoon), started with much much better prices then the shops in Stone Town. In any case, always bargain...

We bought some wood statues and nice fabric with colorful prints (great for i.e. table cloths)
Also good African Instant coffee.

The last day of our holiday we stayed in Stone Town. Not only the prices were much higher than around Jambiani for souvenirs, but we were hassled every 5 minutes to buy something (souvenirs, boat trips, taxi, etc).
Jambiani and the south east coast is definitely more relaxed...

- Restaurants & Cafe's
Right Next to the hotel there is a nice chill cafe with decent cold white wine and a great terrace.
Great to chill in the evening if you want to change from the Hotel but don't want to go far.

Sea Horse restaurant
About 5-10 minutes south on the beach had great food and charming owner. Great coconut crusted fish. Walk by to order around 5pm to eat around 8pm.
They don't serve alcohol though.

A bit further south on the beach you will see a fallen tree. Written on it Captain Cook's Equinox restaurant. The cook will often sit on this tree to explain you the dishes he serves.
The restaurant itself is in the village and super super basic, but def has its charms!
The cook will show you his guest book to convince you.

- Internet:
There is an internet cafe called Sale & Pepe in a few minutes walk from the hotel south.
My Iphone worked fine as well on 3G at the hotel.

Again... a bit of a list but hopefully some useful info :)
I fully agree with the positive feedback of the other reviewers.

As there are already many great photos of the hotel, I will attach some of the trips and area.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2012

I can't say whether Mamamapambo is the best hotel in Jambiani, or, indeed, Zanzibar, but I can say that others would have to go a long, long way to beat it!If you're able to, get an ocean-view room, they are amazing, a beautifully comfortable room with a verandah looking over the sea, providing a cooling breeze, the sunrise gently wakes you each morning in the most delightful way!
We chose not to eat in the hotel each night - what a mistake that turned out to be! At first glance, the menu looks limited, but it changes each night, and in the 8 we stayed there was little repetition. So you find all the dishes served up at any of the local restaurants come around during your stay but much much better than anywhere else. Eating here also reduces the risk of food poisoning - something we discovered to our cost! It really is just not worth going anywhere else!
Breakfasts are fantastic, loads of fresh fruit, fresh baked bread, mandazi and pastries, followed by eggs of your choice. Really sets you up for the day; no need for lunch!
Fabio and Stefania are a wonderful couple, so friendly and helpful, they sorted our taxis to and from the airport, Fabio took us to see the beautiful sandbank at low tide, watch out for the sea-urchins that are endemic throughout the water - I got spiked even through the sole of my beach shoes and was at the mercy of our lovely chef, Beka, who, with a (new!) razor-blade and toothpick, skilfully and painlessly removed any trace of the barb.
Fabio will arrange trips if so desired. Local guide Duwa is a great guy, his snorkelling trip to the Blue Lagoon and the totally amazing 'Rock' is not to be missed!
If you have accessibility issues then Mamamapambo is not most suitable, there are steps down to the beach and the final one is about 3ft high!
All in all, our stay was fantastic and we would have no hesitation in returning to Mamamapambo or in recommending to our friends.
Finally, having read all the excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and deciding that we really wanted to stay here, we had a terrible job trying to find their website, I'm not allowed to put the address here but if you search Mamamapambo along with 'altervista' you'll find it!

  • Stayed November 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 22, 2012

We recommend this place very much. Owners and hosts Fabio and Stefania and their team of staff could not have been more welcoming and from our initial - rather last-minute - inquiry to when we reluctantly left after just two days (wishing very much that we were staying for a week like most of the other guests), were friendly and attentive to all the details that made their hotel such a special place to be in.
The hotel has just five rooms, so very quickly one feels rather like one is staying in a private home, though never in an intrusive or claustrophobic way. The bedroom and bathroom were huge, beautifully clean and obviously had been decorated and furnished by someone with wonderful taste and a passion for the colours, textures and art of the place. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and the shower was fantastic.
Ah, now the food...the breakfasts were just wonderful. Lots of fresh bread and pastries, delicious fruit and juice, and very good tea and coffee. The dinner is served at 8pm - this was our only problem as we're greedy early eaters and early-to-bed people (especially when we've got up at 5.30am to go and see dolphins!), so that day we couldn't hold out and walked just five minutes along the beach to a different restaurant. But the dinner we did have at Mama Mapambo was delicious, with elements of the local cuisine such as seafood, and an Italian influence from the owners (a combination that worked very well indeed).
The atmosphere is very relaxed with guests encouraged to dip into a selection of books and games, but trips further afield can be easily arranged too. And we'd echo the earlier comments about getting to know other guests - we really enjoyed meeting the other people who were staying there, and had some interesting conversations over dinner. But there's nothing compulsory about it - it just seemed to flow naturally from our mutual enjoyment and feeling of good fortune in staying somewhere so lovely.
We would love to go back, and fully intend to!

Room Tip: Because we booked last-minute we couldn't get a seaview-room, but honestly didn't feel at al...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

Having been to Zanzibar previously I was keen to go to a different part of the island and Jambiani and Mamamapambo did not disappoint. The hotel is beautiful, with the attention to detail surpassing anything I have seen anywhere else. The room was large and the bed extremely comfortable. The beach on the doorstep was perfect for swimming and we went for long walks along the beach and felt completely safe. The fresh seafood everynight was delicious and all of the staff were extremely friendly and happy to help. Fabio and Stefani were always on hand to answer questions/have a general chat and really made these few days something very special. We certainly hope to return one day and cannot recommend it highly enough.

  • Stayed November 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel

Address: P.O.Box 695, Jambiani, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Jambiani
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Jambiani
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Jambiani
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel Zanzibar Island/Jambiani

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