Manta Resort is beautifully situated on Tanzania's Pemba Island.
Manta Resort: Our full report
In the far north-west of Pemba Island, Manta Resort is a laid-back remote beach retreat with fantastic views, a powder-white beach and 18 simple rooms. It had a change of ownership in 2008, and since then the owners have worked hard to upgrade the facilities and generally improve the standard of the lodge.
The elevated central areas of Manta Resort have some of the best sunset views in Pemba. The large open-sided bar and restaurant is a cool and breezy place to enjoy these panoramic views, book in hand, whilst sipping a cocktail from the inclusive cocktail bar. Quirky additions such as a large old cannon lend character and individuality, and add to the exotic air.
Heading down some steps from the main area, the pool area is nicely designed, with sunloungers and chairs overlooking the sparkling ocean beyond. There’s also a ‘beach lounge’ where bar-tenders are on hand to whip up a drink from the well stocked bar.
The best rooms at Manta Resort are the six sea front villas. The views from the day-bed on the terrace are peaceful, and the spacious bedrooms are a little spartan, but feel bright and airy. Each has air-conditioning, so they keep cool, especially welcome during the warmer months. The bathroom at the back of the room is open (although the toilet is enclosed separately) so these probably won’t be the best option for friends travelling together, or those who like a little more privacy.
There are four superior garden rooms which are laid out in two sets of two – with an interconnecting door between them – making this a good choice for families. These rooms are also airconditioned, and they have a small private terrace with baraza style loungers.
The simplest rooms are the 8 standard garden rooms. These are set back in the gardens, with a small verandah out the front. Inside the style is much more basic, and there is no air-conditioning but they also have baraza style loungers.
The newest addition to Manta Resort is their Swedish-designed Underwater room, constructed mainly of glass and local hardwood. It is the only one in the world of it’s type and is an amazing feat of engineering. This is a private three-storey structure anchored 250 meters offshore. On top of the water, the landing deck houses the lounge and bathroom, and is where meals are taken. Up a ladder is the top deck with a lounging area, used by day for sunbathing and by night for star gazing. Four metres below the water, reached by a small staircase, a suspended bedroom offers 360-degree views through the glass into the ocean. At nighttime, spotlights allow the fish-spotting to continue. The four anchors used to secure the room are also artificial reefs which attract a huge variety of fish; recently viewed species include batfish, squid, octopus and trumpet fish.
The Manta Resort is an all-inclusive lodge - which means that everything, including drinks, laundry, food and even spa treatments in their “Kipipeo Spa" (although limited to one per day) are included. The only extras are diving and any excursions you may want to participate in.
Our viewManta Resort is certainly one of the more remote lodges we feature – on a far corner of the undeveloped Pemba Island. It’s not a ‘resort’ in the typical sense of the word, it’s laid back and un-pretentious, and the views are certainly spectacular. It commands a fairly high price tag – and those looking for a smooth luxury resort may be disappointed, but for those who want somewhere a little different and off the beaten track, we think it’s well worth the money.
Ideal length of stay: Stay here for at least 5 nights for a relaxing beach stay.
Directions: The lodge is one and a half hours’ drive along bumpy roads from Pemba airport.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast is usually a platter of fruit, banana bread and pancakes, followed by eggs to order. Tea, coffee and fresh juices are also available.
Lunch is a two-course menu with a choice of two mains and two deserts.
Dinner usually begins in the bar, where guests will be served snacks to enjoy with their cocktails. There is then a three-course menu with two options for each course. On our last visit in July 2014 we enjoyed calamari salad to start, followed by grilled parrotfish, served with sweet potato and salad, and finished with a passion fruit crème caramel. The food was extremely good – and they were keen to tell us that they were very flexible and encouraged guests to tell them what they’d like and they would try and accommodate (given the limited supplies available to them).
During dinner, the staff came around and chatted to us about our day and whether we’d like to do any excursions the next day as well as organizing what time we would like to have a massage.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: All drinks available are included in the price.
Further dining info: Possible - but there are no phones in the room, so room service would need to be organized in advance.
Diving & snorkelling: Tanzania’s Manta Resort on Pemba Island offers excellent diving and snorkelling in pristine coral reefs. In its new Underwater Room you’re amidst the underwater world even while sleeping! However, due to the currents here we recommend this destination to experienced divers.See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: The lodge welcomes older children.
Property’s age restrictions: No children under the age of 7 are permitted.
Special activities & services: There are no special activities.
Generally recommended for children: The pool at Manta is a good size, which children would enjoy – however, the atmosphere here does lend slightly more to honeymooners and couples, and slightly less to families.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is WiFi in the central areas.
Water supply notes: Drinking water is provided.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first-aid kit in the lodge. Manta Resort has links to doctors in Pemba who are happy to come out to the lodge if there is an emergency.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The lodge is gated, and there are security guards which patrol during the night and the day.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the lodge.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Included
Money: There is a safe at the reception, which guests can use for storing valuables.
Accepted payment on location: They accept credit cards – Visa and Mastercard only (with a 5% surcharge). US$ (newer than 2006 only), Euros, Tanzanian Shillings and pounds are also accepted.