Reviews of Pole Pole
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Pole Pole review
After eight days of Safari we were looking for a change of pace - Pole Pole was the perfect place to be. Mafia Isalnd only 35 minutes from Dar and the Lodge was in the Marine Park. Six cabins with a full occupancy of only 12 meant that it was peaceful, a beautiful small private beach and outstanding snorkelling on the reef in Chole Bay. The children loved playing in the soft sand, the crabs and starfish when the tide went out and the trips in the dhows out to the reef.
The rooms were outstanding - drinking a cold beer on the verandah, watching the sun go down on the sea with the flying fox's setting off in the sky for the night after a day on the beach is simply marvellous.
However the outstanding feature of Pole Pole was the food - mainly fantastically fresh fish and seafood with an obvious italian bent thanks to Maura, the manageress, fresh pasta and focaccio to rival that in city restaraunts in Europe - each mealtime was looked forward to. The kitchen quickly adapting to any foibles so you never went without an excellent eating experience.
The trip over to the community on Chole was eye opening, the boat building , the fruit (sweetest orange ever tasted straight off the tree), the friendliness of the people - especially good for our children to see the way other people live.
A perfect place to wind down, even with two children - nothing forced on you, flexible meal times and extremly accomodating staff - even facility to check into flights on internet. Will return should opportunity arise !
Heaven on Earth at Pole Pole
It's a pity that your classification - and the English language - only goes as far as 'excellent', as Pole Pole ticked the top boxes for everything and made Steve's 50th a truly memorable experience. Pole Pole is exemplary - for us, just the right combination of small resort, beautifully designed & furnished 'barefoot luxury'. The diving activity / snorkelling is of a professional standard and other activities are conducted effortlessly and by friendly staff.
Of particular mention is the food, which excels at every meal in quantity and diversity and is THE best we've eaten anywhere on our travels. The team, under the managership of Maura, are at the top of their game and a real asset to the resort.
The team's efforts on the night of Steve's 50th - the wine, service and the birthday cake - showed a true attention to detail and a natural friendliness, which made the day so special. We're so pleased we stayed for 6 nights - it gave us the chance to totally relax after such an exciting travel experience in perfect surroundings.
A 5-star resort worthy of the highest praise.
Pole Pole review
Pole Pole is lovely. The rooms are lovely, as is the food and service (although don't go there if you don't like sea-food - we had sea-food for starter and main courses every day but one). The drinks delivered to your verandah in the evening is a lovely idea. Maure and her staff are very good. My husband was ill whislt we were there and they were very concerned about him and bent over backwards to do all they could to help, including providing special meals, like boiled rice, for him, and delivering it to the room.
I had a massage whilst we were there and it was very good and excellent value for money. The snorkelling trips were good, although i only managed two of them and my husband didn't manage any. One thing we regretted was that he was not well enough for us to go on a trip to see and swim with whale sharks. We talked to fellow guests who had and who said it was a super experience.
The only negative point is that there are a lot of sand flies (No-see-ums) there. My husband did not get bitten once, but I got over 100 bites, despite using 100% DEET. I guess they either like you or they don't. If anyone knows of anything that deters them I'd be gald to hear of it.
Pole Pole review
The staff are very nice but not around much during the day. Nice surroundings a little disappointed having seen the website and viewed the stunning photos of the beach. A lot of the beach shots are of the marine park located a good 1-2 hours away by boat. The local beaches are nice but nowhere near as nice as the photos.
I stayed for 4 days and apart from the last day the weather did not permit travelling to the other islands. For light sleepers take ear plugs this area is full of birdlife, fruit bats and Bush Babies all very lovely until you are still awake at 3am listening to the chorus. ;-)
The snorkelling was fantastic I swam around Coral Garden the most beautiful coral I have ever seen. Other guys that were diving equally had great things to say. A little disappointed that the bar and all the staff went to bed around 10:30 leaving us with empty glasses, especially as I knew I would still be awake from the bird song until the early hours. Difficult to find a place with earlier closing times than the UK.
A few strange rules, only emergency internet access allowed (strictly no browsing) a guy got told off for playing a ringtone twice, felt like school a little, waiting to be scolded. An ideal place for any clean living Benedictine Monks that love to dive.
Pole Pole review
Top for food - liked that the staff told us the menu and we sat back relaxing. Loved the Zwahili night.
Resort an excellent design with shade and breeze.
Very relaxing including massages which were exellent.
Very romantic and private.
New Year on the beach was magical.
All staff so friendly and helpful.
Excusions easily organised.
Suggest they get themselves Pole Pole postcards - had to go to the another resort.
Thought the menus, welcome notes etc, lovely. The little things are so important to make it special.
Scuba diving available, good sites.
Lovely relaxed place - excellent
Lovely location with easy access to great snorkelling / diving. Excellent service & general relaxed atmosphere. Good range of trips / activities - lack of a pool wasn't an issue.
Got a good feel of local life from visit to nearby Chole island etc
Pole Pole review
I enjoyed my stay at Pole Pole but felt that perhaps we could have been more accomodated for. The rooms were not very comfortable, especially the beds.
The food was absolutely lovely but some times I found the service a bit too pushy at certain times yet oddily lackadaisical at others.
Expert Africa comments
We are investigating the comments from these travellers about the beds at Pole Pole not being comfortable, however it is worth noting that Beho Beho – which they stayed at before Pole Pole – is a hard act to follow. It's a top lodge that usually gets fantastic reviews!
Pole Pole review
After Selous Safari Camp, and Ruaha Mdonya Old River Camp, we arrived at Mafia for 5 nights at Pole Pole for sun, sea snorkelling and relaxation.. We were lucky to be the last to land that day and to be the first to take off when we left, as the runway was closed for the interim duration for maintenance. This meant we had to fly from Dar to Mafia in a small tin box with wings that seated 6 people and which I was told was an aeroplane, due to the runway being half shut (ie too short) so we had this Cessna instead of the bigger Caravan plane. I was too tall to fit in the back seat and the poor lady who did get that tiny back seat was more scared than me, and that says something. However, the pilot was great and flew slightly higher above any turbulence, and not only did we survive but we actually had a good view of the great Rufiji river delta and small coral islands on the way.
Thereafter we had the lazy luxury time that we had expected. The 'bungalow on stilts' rooms at pole Pole were superb, comfortable and quiet. It was great to have pre-dinner drinks brought round to the room as the sun went down, and to look out from the veranda, over the gardens and see a single dhow with bright white sail slipping by on the surreal azure blue water and watch the fruit bats flying over the palm trees whilst we sipped beer/G&T's. It sounds corny but it happened every night.
We went for the snorkelling, but the small private (and deserted) beach is good for lazing. I get sea sick, but the sea in the lagoon area was calm enough and each snorkelling trip was fine. The Dhows under sail are quite stable and very relaxing. The snorkelling was varied but good. Some areas with better coral, some with more/bigger fish. The natural lagoon was protected from most of the El Nino bleaching that the other Indian Ocean islands have suffered, so the coral was generally better than expected. There are more fish in the Maldives, but overall Mafia is a good snorkelling area, and other divers reported excellent diving and big fish!
Pole Pole is run by a most charming Italian lady, who was a mine of information and who helped arrange our days and trips just perfectly, and her keen and attentive team, provided a friendly 5 star service. Overall, Pole Pole is highly recommended and we had a wonderful stay.
Pole Pole - a fabulous relaxing experience
Pole Pole was simply fabulous - a faultless, intimate, lodge that offered an experience that we just think couldn't have been bettered.
The lodges (only 7 in total) were decorated in African style, with wall hangings, and furniture that set off the timber framed lodge. Each lodge had a 'Zanzibar bed' on the private verandah for that peaceful doze in the afternoon. There were delightful little touches everywhere, straw hats to use, handmade local soap in the bathroom (also presented as a gift on leaving), parchment menu's, a regular room service to bring drinks to your verandah prior to dinner ...
The spa was very professional with a local masseur, the private beach and the rustic timber/woven sunbeds were ideal for losing a few hours in the sun.
The visit to Chole island was well worth it. Seeing the village life and boat building on this island was a delight. We felt a little like the pied piper having collected a small band of grinning kids who's favourite word was 'photo' ! They loved having their pictures taken and seeing the results. The massive Comores bats hanging in their thousands from the trees provided an awesome sight during their nightly excursion back to the mainland to return in the early hours.
A trip to Mange reef (not offered by Kinasi due to the length of the trip ?) was an excellent excusion, probably taking 2.5 hours by dhow, arriving at an elongated tear drop shaped sand bank. Gorgeous clear waters and coral around the island allowed for some great snorkelling, however the diving was even better. Although somewhat bumpy on entry, we saw a great variety of fish - white tipped shark, potato grouper (about 200+Kg and 5ft long - awesome), turtle, moray, tuna, crocodile fish, scorpion fish, and it just kept going. After nearly an hour under water and probably 2 miles along the reef we surfaced to return to the now substantially diminished sand bank.
We had freshly caught fish griiled over open fire for lunch and returned to Mafia under full sail - what a great day out.
Pole Pole was a real delight, you were made to feel special, stayed in gorgeous, and very comfortable surroundings, with staff who were always on hand, with beaming smiles. Sad to leave however what a great way to finish our holiday.