Pole Pole

Location: Zanzibar, Pemba & the Islands | Tanzania

Price guide: £££££ £200-£350 per person per night

Arriving at Mafia Airport (one small stone hut and a thatched “waving bay”) you’ll know you’re landing somewhere special. This delightfully rural unspoilt island is the timeless Africa that has charmed travellers for decades, and Pole Pole (meaning literally, “slowly, slowly”) is castaway luxury at its most relaxed.
Perfect forBlissful relaxation and excellent diving.
In the knowFor the ultimate diving and snorkelling, travel between January and March - this is whale shark season, and a chance to snorkel with these gentle giants is not to be missed!

Recommended for...

  • Beach
  • Boutique Hotel
  • Eco-tourism
  • Family-friendly

Hotel Overview

Sense of Place

In the marine park on the Southern tip of Mafia Island.

Rooms at Pole Pole

The seven cottages here are unfussy and unpretentious, with thatched roofs, cool, shady bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms. The sea breezes blow gently through the room, and the occasional clatter on the roof is usually the sound of a passing monkey.

Food & Drink

Pole Pole’s had a long line of Italian managers, so the food has a distinct Mediterranean flair. It’s not all pasta though - there’s a real emphasis on using local ingredients, and the weekly Swahili night will give you the chance to enjoy some more African flavours. 


There’s a swimming pool at the lodge, a massage hut overlooking the beach, and a small selection of games and books.

Activities at Pole Pole

This is one of the most peaceful spots we’ve visited in Africa, and it was as much as we could do to walk from the massage table to the lunch table, and from there to a shady spot beneath a palm tree. However, if you really must be active, the diving and snorkelling here are excellent. While people don’t really travel to Mafia for the beaches, we loved taking a picnic out to one of the lovely white sandbanks, and Mafia itself is so utterly charming, we’d definitely recommend taking a dhow across to Chole Island, or having a sedate potter amongst the villages.

Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Best time to go

Hotel location

Stay at Pole Pole on these trips

More places to stay in Zanzibar, Pemba & the Islands


call us on 020 7337 9010 to start planning your perfect trip

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