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Pole Pole
Pole Pole
Pole Pole
Pole Pole
Pole Pole
Pole Pole
Pole Pole

About Pole Pole

Pole Pole is a lovely relaxed beach lodge, built in 1998, and set among coconut palms, on a hillside sloping ...

... up from the beach, overlooking the sheltered Chole Bay in the Mafia Island Marine Park. The phrase 'pole pole' means 'slowly' in Swahili, and certainly says a lot about the atmosphere here. With only seven thatched bungalows, Pole Pole is intimate, quiet and very welcoming, and offers a wonderful beach retreat.

Pole Pole is a small, quiet and personal beach lodge that manages an excellent balance between staying in keeping with its surroundings, while creating a feeling of comfort and a relaxed, barefoot style. Expert Africa first came across Pole Pole many years ago, and we've visited many times. It has always been a firm favourite with us and our guests, and on our most recent visits it continued to live up to expectations.

Accommodation
7 rooms
Children
Best for 10+
Open
1 June to Easter

Activities

Boat trip

Boat trip

Scuba-diving

Scuba-diving

Snorkelling

Snorkelling

Watersports

Watersports

Holidays visiting Pole Pole

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Lemon Grass Beach Holiday

6 days • 2 locations • 1 country
DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Enjoy undisturbed leisure at the Mafia Archipalego’s lesser visited Chole and Mafia Islands. Two charming, elegant lodges provide opportunity for total relaxation as well as a range of activities.

Visiting Mafia Island

US$1,700 - US$2,220 per person

Read more about the Lemon Grass Beach Holiday

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Traveller reviews of Pole Pole

97 real, un-edited reviews from Expert Africa's travellers.


94%
97 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
71
Good
24
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Mr & Mrs SfromE Sussex

Arrived 15 Dec 2019, 6 nights

"A place to Chill"

"Julie the manager certainly knows how to treat guests, between her and her …" Read Mr & Mrs S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

M & C fromLondon

Arrived 20 Dec 2019, 4 nights

"Pole Pole review"

"Loved Pole Pole - well run, good links with the dive centre …" Read M & C ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

T & SfromNorth Carolina

Arrived 20 Sep 2019, 4 nights

"Pole Pole - A Perfect End to Safari"

"What a great way to wrap up after 15 days on safari - Pole Pole was a blessing. …" Read T & S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr and Mrs GfromBucks

Arrived 30 Aug 2019, 5 nights

"Blissful, living up to its name"

"One long stretch of relaxation, beautiful beach and bungalows, amazing tides. …" Read Mr and Mrs G’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs DfromWorcs

Arrived 12 Aug 2019, 4 nights

"So relaxing!"

"This was a lovely place. The staff were very friendly …" Read Mr & Mrs D’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs CfromHighgate

Arrived 31 Jul 2019, 4 nights

"Wonderfully relaxing and laid back hotel"

"Wonderfully relaxing and laid back hotel …" Read Mrs C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr GeofffromSunbury

Arrived 18 Jun 2019, 5 nights

"Great choice for last stop"

"Pole Pole was not as laid back as I expected but that was in part because it …" Read Mr Geoff’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mrs P.fromCumbria

Arrived 25 Nov 2018, 2 nights

"Peaceful Retreat"

"A lovely place to stay right by the sea …" Read Mrs P.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs JfromHerts

Arrived 9 Oct 2018, 3 nights

"Fantastic resort"

"Pole Pole is a beautiful hotel. …" Read Mr & Mrs J’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr S.fromAlbuquerque

Arrived 18 Sep 2018, 4 nights

"Pole Pole review"

"We enjoyed our time here. …" Read Mr S.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

See all Pole Pole reviews

Pole Pole's location

Look closer at the environment and surroundings of Pole Pole.


When to go to Mafia Island

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Pole Pole in Mafia Island


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Tanzania in January

January usually marks the start of the short dry season, although the exact timings of this are a little unpredictable. You can expect clear blue skies and sunshine, if the short rains have stopped, and the temperatures will be building. The short dry season is a little less pronounced in Southern Tanzania, and so it can still be wet in these areas. It is an interesting time for avians as resident birds go into breeding plumage and migrant species can be present. Once the New Year busy period has quietened down, January can offer great value and quieter parks, although the weather can be variable, and in the Selous and Ruaha the wildlife is more dispersed.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • Occasional thunderstorms may occur.
  • A good time of year for birding as and many migrant species are around
  • The wildebeest migration is gathering in the southern Serengeti.
  • Busy in early January, quietening down through the month.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in January

Tanzania in February

February is during the short dry season and is one of the hottest months in Tanzania, with temperatures reaching around 33°Celsius. This can be a good time to visit, as some areas of the Northern Circuit are comparatively quieter than during the European summer months, and lodge rates are also a little lower. The wildebeest will typically be on the southern plains of the Serengeti for their calving season, which tends to occur in a 2-3 week window in early-mid February – although this does vary year on year. This is also a particularly rewarding time for birdlife, as northern hemisphere migrants join the resident species.

  • Hot and dry weather.
  • Wildebeest migration calving on Serengeti’s southern plains.
  • Ngorongoro Crater and southern Serengeti busy for the migration.
  • Selous and Ruaha are typically quiet at this time.
  • The parks are likely to be lush and green, leading to pretty landscape

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in February

Tanzania in March

The heavier ‘long rains’ start in earnest in March although exactly when varies year on year. With no need to stay close to permanent water sources, migratory wildlife disperses, and so game viewing starts to become more challenging. This is most prominently seen in Tarangire National Park. The wildebeest migration may still be calving, or have moved on into the central regions of the Serengeti. Many of the camps in the southern parks close mid March and mobile tented camps in the Serengeti will wind down towards the end of the month in order to move location or carry out refurbishments, ready for the new tourist season.

  • Hot with building humidity, before the rains begin at some point.
  • Wildlife viewing is variable depending on the start of the rains.
  • Parks are quiet and rates are low.
  • Not great for southern or western Tanzania.
  • March can be a good time for birding, with many migrant species.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Tanzania in April

April is in the middle of the long rainy season and is the wettest month, with on average 250mm of rain. Temperatures are fairly high and humid in comparison to the rest of the year. Expect the bush to be lush and flowering, and alive with insects, birds and smaller animals. It is however also dense, allowing wildlife to hide, which in turn makes game viewing harder. This is a very quiet time in terms of visitor numbers. Many of the tented camps are closed in April, however the larger lodges remain open. The rates are significantly cheaper, and so if you are willing to work harder to spot the bigger game, some accommodation bargains can be had.

  • Heavy rain expected, with impressive thunderstorms and lightning.
  • Many camps closed and roads impassable due to ground conditions.
  • Rates are at their lowest all year round, with very few other tourists
  • Places that are open are green and vibrant, wildlife more dispersed.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in April

Tanzania in May

As Tanzania is close to the equator there is no dramatic difference in climate throughout the year, but temperatures do start to drop a little in May. The rains are likely to still be present, although potentially clearing towards the end of the month. Visitor numbers and lodge rates are still low. The wildebeest migration is making its way through the western regions of the Serengeti, crossing the Grumeti River. Virtually all camps in southern Tanzania remain closed, and many of the roads and tracks in the Selous become impassable.

  • Heavy rains and storms are likely, this can create some dramatic skies
  • Blissfully quiet in northern Tanzania, and a good time to avoid crowds
  • The parks are likely to look lush and green, with long grass.
  • Wildlife is likely to be more dispersed, with fewer sightings.
  • The low prices make safaris much more affordable at this time.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in May

Tanzania in June

The rains come to an end at some point during the month and migratory wildlife begins to be drawn back to perennial water sources as the land starts to dry up. It’s likely that the parks will still be quite green and the grass high though, so walking and fly-camping may be unlikely. This marks the start of the season with camps reopening, but prices are still more affordable than the subsequent months. The migration may still be in the Western Corridor, or on the move northwards towards the Mara River. Western Tanzania presents more challenging conditions for chimpanzee trekking in Mahale National Park, as the chimps are higher in the mountains.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • A transitory time for the migration – moving from west to north.
  • The parks may still be quite green, and grasses high.
  • Wildlife may be dispersed still.
  • Relatively low visitor numbers and good value, shoulder season prices.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

Tanzania in July

July is considered to be the start of the peak season, with no rainfall expected and pleasant daytime temperatures. As the parks dry, the wildlife congregates in fewer areas, grass is eaten and trampled by the migration, and game viewing gets better and better. The wildebeest are typically arriving in the northern Serengeti, ready to begin their period of crossings of the Mara River. In the Selous and Ruaha wildlife sightings can be fantastic, with animals gathering around the lakes and rivers. Great conditions and school holidays mean the parks are at their busiest, with Ngorongoro and the Serengeti particularly crowded.

  • Dry and warm daytimes, chilly and windy in the mornings and evenings.
  • Great wildlife viewing, as water sources diminish.
  • The most popular time of year with very high visitor numbers.
  • Prices are at their highest due to the great conditions on the ground.
  • To avoid the crowds consider Tanzania’s southern parks.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Tanzania in August

August is the middle of the long dry season, with clear skies and sunny weather. You can expect some cooler weather at night and first thing in the morning. Remember to pack layered clothing, so you can wrap up warm on your early morning game drives, but remain comfortable as it heats up throughout the day.
August is a very popular time to visit, so accommodation prices are at their highest and advanced booking is necessary. It can get noticeably busier in some of the northern parks – in particular the Ngorongoro Crater and northern Serengeti, as visitors flock to the area in hope of witnessing an exciting migration river crossing.

  • Dry and warm daytimes, chilly in the early mornings and evenings.
  • General wildlife viewing should be excellent.
  • An exciting time of year for the wildebeest migration.
  • Certain areas will be very busy and camps fill up fast.
  • Great wildlife sightings in the Selous and Ruaha, and fewer people.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Tanzania in September

September can be an excellent time of year to visit Tanzania. As the parks continue to dry up the wildlife becomes increasingly reliant on the remaining water sources, leading to high densities of animals. Whilst early September can be busy, with fewer families traveling at this time the parks typically become quieter as the month goes on. You are still likely to see the wildebeest migration in the northern Serengeti, with river crossings occurring on a regular basis. Tanzania’s southern parks are also fantastic at this time of year, generally receiving far fewer visitors than the north, and wildlife sightings can be great. Prices remain high and the weather generally remains good.

  • Wildlife viewing in September can be fantastic.
  • Whilst still fairly busy, often the parks are typically a little quiet
  • The parks will start to become very dry, with little new vegetation
  • Cooler mornings and evenings, warming up during the day.
  • Prices remain high.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Tanzania in October

At the tail end of the dry season, the wildlife should be the easiest to spot, although photographers should be aware that it can be a bit dusty at this time of year, as there has been no rain for several months. Great general wildlife viewing throughout as animals are attracted to remaining sources of water. Elephant numbers are particularly high at this time in Tarangire, and Mahale and Katavi are especially rewarding with frequent wildlife sightings close to camp. There is a chance of rainfall towards the end of the month, if the short rains commence. While prices remain high, visitors numbers are significantly lower than in July-August.

  • Mostly dry and temperatures comfortably warm, with the chance of storm
  • Great game viewing although the landscape can be a bit barren.
  • Much lower visitor numbers than the earlier months.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Tanzania in November

In November you can expect the start of the short rains, although the start date varies every year. The rains are highly localised, and are much lighter and more unpredictable than the long rains that occur earlier in the year. These should not really interfere with your safari – as the game viewing at this time is still good - but you should pack a waterproof jacket and be prepared for some short rain showers! The majority of tented camps remain open, but some of the mobile camps in Northern Tanzania will close for the latter half on the month. Given the seasonality, camps are charging shoulder season rates so there are often some bargains to be had. Early November can offer great value for money and the weather conditions are likely to be comparable to late October.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • Parks are comparatively quiet and prices at the lower end.
  • Some camps will close towards the end of the month for maintenance.
  • Good wildlife sightings, but animals will disperse when rain starts
  • The wildebeest migration is on the move and the location unpredictable

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Tanzania in December

December is also during the short rainy period, but this does not stop Tanzania being a popular destination to spend the festive period. Be aware that many of the lodges book up early, and charge peak rates over this time. Advanced booking is essential over this period, especially if travelling in larger family groups.
Travelling in December outside of the festive period allows travellers to make use of excellent shoulder season rates. Temperatures are pleasant with the averages of 27Celsius, although there is the chance of intermittent thunderstorms.

  • Variable weather:clear & dry or cloudy with some rain and thunderstorm
  • Good general game viewing in parks with low seasonality - Serengeti.
  • Very quiet early in the month, becoming exceptionally busy.
  • Prices reflect this – great value rising to the highest they are.
  • The wildlife in southern Tanzania is more dispersed.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Tanzania fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Pole Pole


Other lodges in Mafia Island

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Chole Mjini Lodge

Chole Mjini Lodge

Chole Mjini is one of Tanzania's most environmentally aware lodges. With tree-houses, superb diving and a fantastic location on the rural island of Chole, this is ideal if you want to get back to nature.


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Kinasi Lodge

Kinasi Lodge

Kinasi is a small, personal beach lodge on Mafia Island that has the features of a larger hotel, including a large pool and spa.


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Butiama Beach

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Situated just west of Kilondoni, the main town on Mafia, Butiama Beach is a simple beach lodge with friendly managers and a laid back vibe.


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Shamba Kilole

Shamba Kilole

Shamba Kilole is a charming Italian-owned eco-lodge on the coast of Mafia Island, with simple rooms and friendly owner-managers.


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Thanda Island

Thanda Island

Thanda Island is a high-end private island destination that caters to just one group of travellers at a time.


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