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“Simply The Best!”

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Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel
Ranked #1 of 13 Hotels in Jambiani
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 25, 2012

We stayed at Mamamapambo for 3 nights during our 4 weeks trip at Tanzania and all we can say is WOW!

We traveled for 16 days at Zanzibar and stayed in several places at all the "touristic beaches" such as Nungwi, Pongwe, Paje, Matemwe and Jambiani, and Mamamapambo was with no doubt the place that we liked the best.

The owners of the place (Fabio and Stefania) are really amazing people and they will let you feel at home and take care of everything that you need. The rooms in Mamamapambo are very comfortable and the food in the restaurant is also great. Compare to other places in Zanzibar we can absolutely say that this place is a great value for money.

We will recommend Mamamapambo for everyone who wants to get away from the "big resort and hotels scene" and is looking for a small and friendly place with great atmosphere and lovely beach (don't forget to ask Fabio to show you the sandbank in front of the place, which is really worth a visit at low tide!).

Overall we can say only good things about Mamamapambo and there is no doubt that if we will come back to Zanzibar this place will be our first pick!

Thank you very much Fabio and Stefania for the great time and hope to see you soon!
Shir and Omri

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank omri z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 - 179 of 310 reviews

Reviewed October 5, 2012

This place is defenitely worth it to visit. Amazing people who make your stay as much pleasant, confortable as possible. Please do not eat at other places while your stay. Mamamapambo has the most delicious food what we had in Zanzibar. They even make their own pastry. And the service is incredible. You have to meet Kombo. Whole place is amazingly designed and furnitured. Rooms are very beautiful and clean. We realy enjoyed every minute of our stay. And we wish we could stay longer. Five days were just not enough. Fabio and Stefania we wish you all the best and thanks again for everything. T+V

  • Stayed: October 2012
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1  Thank TomasVen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 3, 2012

Having researched various hotels in Zanzibar we came across a lot of great reviews for Mama Mapambo and so decided to book a week there. Within seconds of our arrival it was clear that the reviews were well founded! Fabio and Stephana (the owners) could give master-classes in how to make people relaxed & welcome!

They greeted with open arms and bare feet and went over and above the call of duty to ensure that we had a holiday of a lifetime there. There are only about five rooms in the hotel and Fabio and Stephana ate with us guests most nights. Our room was beautifully decorated (as is the whole hotel – a combination of African décor and Italian chic) The sea at high tide was just a few yards away from our veranda and we went to sleep each night with the sound of the ocean just outside.

Every single staff member at the hotel was wonderful – nothing was too much trouble and they were always ready to stop and have a chat with us. Once in a while, at the end of an evening they had a dance in the dining room before finishing for the night which was fabulous to watch!

The layout of the hotel means that it’s easy for guests to wander along to one another’s verandas to have a chat, but it’s equally easy to find space to have some privacy if that’s what you want.

The food was exceptionally good, (with all bread, pastries, biscuits and pasta being made fresh each day) It was predominantly fish based,, but if you wanted something else it was no problem to order it (with a bit of notice). We booked bed and breakfast but ended up eating at the hotel pretty much every night and most lunch times because the food was so good.

Swimming in the sea locally is possible most of the time, but it’s a good idea to ask the hotel staff when to swim, as local tides can sometimes make a difference. There’s a fantastic sand bank that exists at low tide about 15 minutes’ walk in front of the hotel where the surrounding water is really warm and clear – it was like bath water!

You do need to watch out for sea urchins though and for that reason it’s wise to take some shoes that you can wear in the water – also be aware of washed up sea urchins on the beach too, as they sometimes get caught up with seaweed and are hard to spot. I took ‘croc’ style shoes, but old, sturdy-soled trainers would have been better. Sometimes the water is very full of seaweed which means swimming isn't quite so pleasant, but it’s still possible and still wonderfully refreshing on hot days!

Mama Mapambo is one of those rare hotels that not only supplies you with towels for your room, but also supplies towels for the beach! They also ensure that the rooms have battery operated lights (to cope with the regular power cuts), hair-dryers, mosquito nets, insect spray and spare blankets for the occasional cold night when the sea breeze is a bit stronger than usual!

There are quite a few people who stop you on the beach to either try to sell you souvenirs or day-excursions. Don’t fall into the trap of just dismissing them as a nuisance! If you don’t want to buy anything, tell them that at the outset, then take the time to get beyond the sales pitches to have a chat to them as they really know the area and (whether you buy anything from them or not) are lovely and fascinating people who are very willing to talk to you about their lives and Zanzibar.

One thing to be aware of is that there are a limited amount of shops in the area. There are some small shops & stalls in Jambiani village that sell fruit, veg and some other stuff such as lighters, but what they stock depends on what’s available to them at the time. If you walk along the beach for about 15/20 minutes,(heading away from Paje) there is a great little gift shop that stocks local art and crafts. We discovered that there are no chemists within easy reach of the hotel, so make sure you’re well stocked up before you go there!

There are lots of restaurants on the beach front but we didn't have a chance to visit them. We particularly wanted to try “Kim & Mum’s” place as it sounds really quirky but didn't we get a chance to get there. We did try “Sale and Pepe’s” though (about 5 minutes from Mama Mapambo) and can thoroughly recommend it. It also has free Wi Fi access – all you have to do is buy a coke. (ut note that Fabio is also willing to let people use his laptop if they need to) I’d especially recommend Sale & Pepe's carrot and passion fruit salad which is quite exceptional and they serve drinks with lovely little bite size chunks of bread fried in olive oil and garlic. It’s worth checking with them whether you need to pre-order some of their main dishes in advance.

Also, be prepared for the fact that there are no ATMs locally and no-one takes credit/debit card payments. I.e. you just have to get out as much cash as you need before you go there. (The only ATMs in Zanzibar are in Stonetown) Some of the bigger hotels will take dollars and euros, but best to assume you need to pay in Tanzanian shillings.

There are quite a few exertions you could take from the hotel. We booked a local boat to go snorkelling and also booked the dolphin trip The snorkelling trip was great, but be aware that the boats often end up with quite a lot of water in them, so it’s not a good idea to go with anything that would be damaged by water. The dolphin trip was fabulous! It’s an early start but well worth it.

All in all I can’t think of even the smallest criticism of this hotel. The rooms were lovely, the food was delicious and the owners and staff treated you as valued friends!

So if you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Zanzibar, I’d recommend Mama Mapambo with no hesitation at all!

Thanks so much to Fabio, Stephana and all the lovely staff there for giving us such a fabulous holiday!

Room Tip: All the rooms are great, but the rooms on the sea front are particularly special.
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank jakaz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

Here everyone is guest of honour in Fabio amd Stefs beautiful house. It is a triumph of design and African culture with the warmest welcome. The staff are happy and treated excellently too. We slept so well. It was worth the money.

We wouldnt hesitate to stay here again.

Two minor points: bring Euros as the exchange rate to USD cost us another 15%. Also although the food was lovely, the portions were small, even my petite g/f agreed. This must be how Stefania stays so thin and beautiful! ;-)

  • Stayed: September 2012
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2  Thank JamesHaughton1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2012

I stayed in this hotel in August: is a real jewel.
Fantastic owners Fabio and Stefania very nice and always available.
The decor, the cleanliness and the care with which they manage the hotel is fantastic. Great food. One evening we went to dinner at another hotel, but immediatiely we got back "home" ...
For a few days the sea at low tide create a strip of sand with wonderful colors of the sea right in front of 'hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank marpel78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2012

After looking for a prefect Zanzibar accommodation and failing to find a place that was both had local flavor and good amenities, we somehow stumbled upon this place on Tripadvisor, and eventually found their website. At the time of the booking, there were not too many reviews, which I later found out was due to the fact that the place is new, with 2012 being their second season since opening. When we arrived, it was everything we were hoping for and more! The hotel is designed and decorated by the owners, Fabio and Stefania, who put a sophisticated spin on a local African/Arabic theme. The building itself and most of the furniture was skillfully hand-made by local craftsmen from locally sourced materials based on Fabio's designs. The decorations, antique artifacts, and lighting has been hand-picked by Stefania, who is a interior designer by trade. The amenities, however, are on par with any European hotels, including foam memory matresses on the king-size beds, glass double sinks and Italian-made faucets in the bathroom, and some things that westerners take for granted such as steady stream of hot water and a back-up generator, which do not come standard in Zanzibar. The rooms and the hotel grounds are carefully maintained, each room gets cleaned daily and even the sand in the common area gets raked every morning.

Mama Mapambo is the ultimate place to relax. Morning starts whenever you want it to, with the breakfast of fresh fruit and Tanzanian tea or coffee served to your table, followed up by continental breakfast staples such as eggs and omlets.The vibe is set by the steady playlist of reggae and other lounge-chair worthy music which softly resonates through the common areas during the day. The low tide in the morning is a perfect time to walk down the beach, soak up the beauty of the Zanzibar coastline, and get a glimpse of the local lifestyle.

Jambiani beach is a quiet fishing community, and sets a stark contrast to the touristy and crowded Stonetown. During the low-tide hours, you can observe local people going about their fishing and seaweed-growing business. Some of the fish caught will inevitably end up on your table, as Fabio buys it straight from the fishing boat when they come in with the fresh catch. Same with the fruit, which is procured literally piecemeal on daily basis, and which made for some of the most delightful breakfasts ever.

As the tide and the sun start rising during the day, swimming in the turquoise waters becomes the next thing on the agenda. The beach along the coast consists of white sand and clusters of seaweed, but abundance of sea urchins calls for watershoes. Once you wade out a few hundred feet, you can take off your shoes and alternate between swimming and or sunbathing on the sandbank that sometimes appears directly across from the hotel. Fabio can organize tours to the nearest reef on a local sailboat boat, where you can snorkel, or other tours by motorboat, where you can go deep-sea fishing or swimming with the dolphins.You can also walk about 40 minutes up the beach (bike and scooter rentals are also available) to Paje, where the scene is packed with tourists and kitesurfers alike, and which offers more dining and entertainment options. Once you've had enough excitement for the day, you can return to the peace and quiet of Jambiani and spend the rest of the day lounging and reading while your dinner is being prepared from the freshest ingredients. Food is a delicious fusion of Italian classics and the local flavors, and the menu changes every day. You can buy a-la carte or have the dinner included in your half-board price.

With it's funky decor, delicious food, and wonderful service, Mama Mapambo definitely lives up to its "Boutique Hotel" classification, but honestly it has a feel of a riad or a guest house more so than a hotel. The best part of Mama Mapambo are the wonderful hosts! Fabio and Stefania showed such hospitality that we felt like we were visiting old friends. They were always glad to chat with us, sharing with us about their experience of living in Zanzibar, showing us the bests spots for swimming, and telling us about the history of the hotel (by the way, the compound is built on the grounds previously occupied by the village chief, and the door to the compound facing Jambiani is the original door to the chief's house). They were always available while staying unobtrusive, and it was clear that they truly enjoy hosting people and providing for the best, most worry-free experience one can get on the Zanzibar. Hakuna Matata!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank IgorDmitry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2012

Being budget travellers, we decided to "splurge" a little and spend 3 nights at Mamamapambo (which turned into 4 because we couldn't leave!). We can't say enough about the service provided by Fabio, Stefania, and their staff. They are friendly and professional to the core, and do everything in their power to make your stay a relaxing, enjoyable time. We loved our room, with it's two reclining loungers on our own verandah facing the ocean. The food was tremendous and the atmosphere was warm and fun. We would recommend it to anyone looking to relax in a more intimate, friendly place as opposed to a large resort. We would love to return some time!

Room Tip: Room 4 is worth asking for!
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank brabby
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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Jambiani
#1 Romantic Hotel in Jambiani
Price Range: $100 - $161 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Mamamapambo Boutique Hotel Zanzibar Island/Jambiani

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