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Reviewed December 26, 2012

We spent a week at Pole Pole with our two daughters, having chosen Mafia Island for its pristine environment and the beauty of its diving sites. We were not disappointed and had a thoroughly enjoyable stay. Enrico, Charlotte, and the staff at Pole Pole go out of their way to ensure that everyone is happy, and one senses their attachment to the beauty and uniqueness of the island. On top of that, the food was fresh, based on local products, and delicious! A truly special place to discover in time.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ragnar67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 19, 2012

We stayed at Pole Pole for 6 nights in November 2012, having just spent 5 nights on Safari in a bush camp in Selous. We were delighted with Pole Pole from the moment we arrived to the moment we left and were very sorry to have to move on to Zanzibar

The food is incredible, mainly fish based and beautifully flavoured. The ginger crab on our first night, dining on the beach, was amazing. Everything is home made including the ice cream - you have to try it!

The accommodation was very comfortable with a beautiful Zanzibar day bed on the terrace - which is now my screensaver on my computer! Early morning coffee/tea and pre dinner drinks could be enjoyed on the terrace too.

Whilst there are better beaches, the mangroves are beautiful. The beach is tranquil and on several days we were the only people on it. I also tried the pool, which was great. Whilst my husband went diving I 'hung out with the girls' and had a massage and manicure in the massage area. It was great fun and I learnt a lot about life on Mafia from them.

The staff were amazing, polite and attentive and nothing was too much trouble. Hassan took us on a guided trip to his village - only 5 minutes away, amazing hearing the gospel singing in Church and experiencing village life

All in all and amazing place, would love to return

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AliWalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2012

We were at Pole Pole to celebrate two birthdays in the family. The staff were great in organising a dinner on the beach for our first night and baked an amazing cake to make a very special evening! The staff were friendly and we fell for the local dog, Apo, making us feel at home.

Pole Pole is in a good location however we did find the mosquitoes to be the worst here during our trip to Tanzanzia. It was the only off putting factor. However the staff do try with the coils they burn both in the rooms and around the restaurant.Some people are just unlikely with mosquitoes liking them...

The resort only has seven bungalows which makes it nice and private, all with sea views. There is a pool, however we preferred to lie on the beds on the beach for the view and sea breeze. The food was good and more than enough with all the courses.

The only issue we had was with the dive center which is run by the same owners as Pole Pole. We felt there was often miss communication between the dive centre and the resort. However Pole Pole does mean "slow slow". We were dissapointed with the whale shark diving. We found it expensive and had the slowest boat out there with only 15 horse power engine. If we had of known in advance we would've organised with another dive centre. Again it can come down to luck what you see...

However the snorkling at Coral Gardens was amazing with great visibility. At time the tide is a bit high for snorkling but luckily the visibility is so good. If you can dive I think it would be amazing here. The staff did make fantastic tuna burgers for lunch on the boat!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank StaceyHodge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PolePoleMafiaIsland, General Manager at Pole Pole Bungalows, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2012

Thanks so much to StaceyHodge for her lovely comments – we are so happy your family spent such a special occasion with us, and Apo especially was delighted to have made so many new friends!

To all those reading this review, mosquitoes are an unfortunate feature of Tanzania at this time of year, and as StaceyHodge points out – some people are just too tasty for them to resist! We already thoroughly spray our rooms and burn mosquito coils, but you’ll be happy to hear that in addition to these measures, we have decided to try out a new plan: re-use our breakfast coffee grounds by drying and burning them in strategic locations, as the aromatic smoke repels mosquitoes – this also gives us an eco-friendly way to recycle this natural waste product.

As to miscommunication between Sea Point and Pole Pole, StaceyHodge and her family decided to spend the day snorkeling; there was an option to break for a barbecue lunch on a sandbank, but together with both the Pole Pole and Sea Point managers, a vote was taken by the family to decide that they would maximize their time with the fish by eating their delicious tuna-burgers on board their dhow. Midway through their trip, they asked the staff if they could change their mind and have their burgers on Marimbani sandbank, but as it was high tide, the sandbank was underwater; the Sea Point team suggested nearby Fisherman Island for a picnic spot, but the family decided against it.

As StaceyHodge points out, Pole Pole does mean ‘slowly slowly’ in Kiswahili, and this is definitely part of our philosophy when it comes to approaching whalesharks. Sea Point chooses to use a smaller (and slower) engine to avoid both scaring and harming them. It also means we can take a gentler approach to these wondrous creatures and thereby respect their space, and most importantly have full control over the boat to avoid any damaging contact between the boat’s motor and the whalesharks.

Sea Point has in the past considered outsourcing to operations with faster boats and greater horsepower, but at the end of the day, they decided to prioritise marine conservation and consideration for the whalesharks, and the international standards and regulations that dictate how to show consideration for the habits of these gentle giants, and thereby ensure that they keep coming back to visit Mafia’s shores – much as we hope StaceyHodge and her family will come back to visit us!

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A Holiday Lettings verified reviewer
London, United Kingdom
Reviewed December 2, 2012

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed November 27, 2012

First, I checked in at Mafia Island Lodge, then after seeing the facilities at Pole Pole, changed my mind and switched. Ended up spending 5 nights in Pole Pole after a long stressful period of work in Dar. Just what the doctor ordered. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Ofotsu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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