We got a booking with Emerald Bay on the day of our arrival in Pemba. We were picked up from the airport and driven through villages and plantations to the resort. After a warm welcome we were shown to a simple but otherwise nice and spotless room. Meals are served on the roof, with a view (through the mangroves) of the bay.
If you are after expanses of white beach and opulence, this is not the place for you. Instead, come for the peace and great service in this fairly new resort. The beds are comfy and everything in the bathroom was clean and in working order. The food is Western-style, copious, and often overly salty. The vegetarian offerings are limited. There is a bar. There is no internet or WiFi.
We took a day trip to Misali island, which was beautiful, and almost deserted. On the island are lounges and thatched umbrellas, and the snorkelling is quite good. The boat used for outings is fairly old. We found out afterwards that there were life jackets aboard, but these were not offered, despite quite a rough trip home, and some of our fellow passengers were poor swimmers (and one of them was 5 years old).
There is no beach in front of the resort, just a clearing in the mangroves where the locals launch their boats. You can get a free daily trip to a sandbank for a swim, but there is no shelter there. The resort is planning to install a pool soon.
On our second night we decided we would like to leave for Zanzibar the next day. The staff organised plane tickets for us for the following morning and nothing was too much trouble. We had an easy transfer back to the airport.
Overall, a lovely escape from the mainland, although perhaps a little pricey.
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