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Reviews (276)
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All reviewsday bedeach eveningmafia island divingchole islandseafooddive centreearly morning coffeesunset cruisehomemade breadthe restaurant bar areaeco luxurydifferent activitiesfree excursionnice balconypeaceful environmentcoffee deliveredlocal ingredients
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Reviewed July 25, 2010

pole pole completely exceeded my expectations. from the warm welcome to the amazing (and plentiful!) food to the fantastic service - this is a special place. the food features local ingredients prepared with italian style and you will NEVER go hungry. it was also the best coffee i had in tanzania. the 7 bungalows feel authentic african and luxurious at the same time. the daybed on my porch in the bungalow was my favorite reading spot. chole bay is very tidal so if you're looking for a beach where you can swim all day long, this is probably not the best choice for you. pole pole is not the big, zanzibar-style beach resort. but if you're interested in diving, snorkeling, watching turtle hatchlings make their first journey to the sea and a range of other excursions - the proximity of sea point dive center can keep you busy. and if you just want to relax in a stunning, remote, and authentic destination where the staff know how to appear and disappear as and when you need them, this is the place. i was on my own and the staff made me feel like family - but the kind of family who know when you want some alone time! i absolutely loved it.

  • Stayed: June 2010, traveled solo
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Thank s-curve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 29, 2010

My partner and I stayed at Pole Pole last December after a safari break in northern Tanzania. He wanted relaxation and I wanted a place to refresh my diving. It could not have been better. The hosts, Robyn and Zenny, are the perfect blend of laid-back and friendly, the staff are all delightful and capable, and Jenny is a superb masseuse. The accomodation, en-suite wooden raised chalets with a large relaxing balcony area, are wonderful, and the food is, quite frankly, exquisite.
There are some local trips you can take, such as visiting nearby Chole island (well worth it), a picnic on a sandbank revealed at low tide, some great snorkelling, which was so good it nearly got my dive-phobic partner to agree to a dive course, or just a trip around the bay in a dhow. Indulge in all of them. Trips further afield on the island usually rely on others wanting to accompany you but do look interesting too. If you decide on the whale shark spotting trip check out what the boat will be like as ours wouldn't suit the less adventurous.
There is a small beach area for sunbathing (and swimming only at high tide) which is necessary given the heat and my partner made great use of it while I was off diving. This takes place from the neighbouring resort a short walk away and while I was there the owners brought in a great, and very experienced, couple from South Africa to improve it. They were newly arrived and sussing the place out and hadn't yet introduced any changes, but I was nonetheless perfectly happy with my diving experience. Having talked to them in detail I am convinced that they will only enhance an already enjoyable experience. The dive team were great and we visited sites both inside and outside Chole Bay. No shark sightings for me but we did see hawksbiil and green turtle, massive potato grouper, Napoleon wrasse, various rays and nudibranchs (you've got to love the small stuff too!), tons of reef fish and some incredibly beautiful coral gardens.
The one thing which impressed me was that at both Pole Pole and the dive centre all but a couple of employees were locals, and there is no doubt that this place has helped the local economy by providing jobs. At these prices we had European expectations of service and quality, and all those expectations were fully met. We were there for 6 or 7 days and it felt like ages and we definitely didn't want to leave. "Hi!" to all the wonderful staff there. I still miss Pole Pole!

Stayed: December 2009, traveled as a couple
Thank MartinGirven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 7, 2010

After having the priviledge of staying at a number of beautiful beach resorts in East Africa and diving some very good sites throughout the region, our expectations for Pole Pole and Mafia Island were very high. Our 7 night stay here during the end of January and beginning of February, 2010, brought us experiences that easily exceeded any beach/dive experiences we've had anywhere.
The Resort: The moment we arrived at Pole Pole, the pace of life seemed to immediately slow to a whisper. There are only 7 bungalows at the resort and it often felt like we had the place to ourselves. The cabins are wonderful, spacious, with excellent beds, verranda, and bathroom. Service was gracious and attentive - Robyn and her team have mastered the art of providing all your needs without being intrusive in any way. The on site massages were very good - thanks Jenny! The beach was very peaceful and natural. The restaurant was wonderful with excellent sea food, wonderful pasta, and they went out of their way to cater to my wife's vegetarian requirements.
The Diving: In short, by far the best diving we have ever done. Huge schools of huge fish, pristine coral, visibility averaged between 50-100 feet. Napolean wrasse, massive groupers, bumphead parrotfish, sharks, mammoth turtles, tonnes of pleagics, and all the regular reef critters as well (not that we had time to look at the small stuff with all the action around us in the blue). We even snorkelled with a whale shark. Sea Point was the name of the dive shop and the management and crew catered to us graciously and customized our dive trips to where we wanted to go even if we were only 2 divers.
In short, the resort was perfect and the diving was perfect.
Asanteni sani team Pole Pole and Sea Point!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Lemayian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2010

Our four nights at Pole Pole in January definitely rank as among the most memorable seaside holidays ever, anywhere. The resort is small, beautifully designed and situated and very well managed. Food was superb, every single meal memorable, and service and facilities excellent, without exception. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Parrysounder75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

My husband and I visited the Pole Pole lodge almost two years ago and loved it. It was the perfect end to our three week-long trip to Tanzania and Rwanda. We dove nearly every day, ate very well, and enjoyed the laid-back nature of the resort. The size is perfect- small and intimate and we got to know some of the other folks on holiday there. There isn't a lot happening so don't go expecting a huge party. But if you want something beautiful, relaxing, with friendly staff, this is your spot.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank ciaoamy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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