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

Reviews of Pole Pole

Wildlife sightings and reviews

101 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Pole Pole and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa

Showing 1-10 of 101
Duration
Arrival date
Mike & Janette
UK

"Pole Pole review"

5 nights Arrived 30 Aug 2022
"Lovely spot to stay, with so few people staying there it felt like we had the place to ourselves. Lovely rooms and views. It was extremely windy for 2 days which was a pity but probably to be expected at this time of year.

Diving was good, our first experience of muck diving and some really weird wildlife. The water was colder than expected.

Food was great, if you ordered all the courses it was way to much, took us a few meals to work out that we should scale back and share some courses.

Whale shark trip was a great success, with an added bonus of humpback whales! Amazing." See all these reviews: 15n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Mr E.
London

"Pole Pole review"

5 nights Arrived 17 Aug 2022
"Our stay at Pole Pole was fantastic.

There are only 8 or 9 bungalows, nicely decorated in the local style. The rooms are basic but elegant. Perhaps they are due a refresh, but even as is they work well. The ownership of the hotel changed 2 years ago and the new management is gradually making improvements, for example adding 2 new bungalows with more luxurious features.

The location of the hotel is very scenic, with lush vegetation, white sand beach and blue ocean. Arriving from a boat, you could hardly see that there is a hotel!

The service is very attentive and whatever you ask, staff will make a big effort to help. “Pole Pole” means “slowly slowly” in Swahili, so if you expect everything to run fast as it would be in a London hotel, you will be disappointed. But that’s actually a good thing. Embrace a slower pace, that’s what a holiday should be about.

The food is amazing. I have high standards for food (I am Italian, cook a lot and love good ingredients nicely cooked) and Pole Pole delivered big time. One of the new owners is Italian and runs a hotel/restaurant in Dar Es Salaam. He taught the Pole Pole staff to cook and did an amazing job.

If anything, the main issue is that there is too much too eat. Also, you have to decide ahead of time what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. That’s perhaps not super convenient.

The hotel partners with a local diving Center to provide activities and excursions (not only diving) some are included and some are charged extra. The week we stayed was the second week that this Pole Pole was working with the diving centre and it showed. It was not clear what was / was not included and this led to avoidable discussions about money. On the other hand, all activities were nice and exciting and we liked them all (diving, snorkelling, sunset cruises, barbecue on low tide sand banks, fishing, swimming with whale sharks). The only downside is that the diving centre is 10 mins walk away, and the walk is not super nice. Either you walk on the road, or along the beach but there is a bit where you have to walk among trees over smelly seaweed.

However, if you want to just lie on the hotel beach all day, and occasionally plunge in the sea, this may not be the right place. The beach is very pretty, but at low tide you cannot swim. There is a pool if you want, but it’s not the same.

Lastly, and I am not sure if it’s a positive or negative, WiFi is only available by the hotel reception. This helps with digital detox, but can be frustrating if you want to use WiFi while in your room.

I would go back to Pole Pole in a heartbeat!" See all these reviews: 8n in Botswana; 6n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Rooms:
Good
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Mr J.
Staunton

"Pole Pole review"

3 nights Arrived 23 Jul 2022
"Great location on the side of the bay. Food good and almost too much. Delivery of breakfast a bit chaotic but staff friendly and helpful.
Beds are rather hard.
Plenty of daily activities, which are well organised. We did whale watching and snorkelling with BBQ lunch, both very good." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Good

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Ms C.
Seattle

"Pole Pole review"

6 nights Arrived 8 Feb 2022
"Surpassed my expectations.

Dive sites were fantastic. Dive boat a little rough but OK.

Nice rooms. Fabulous food. Loved the staff. Small resort so we got to know all of the guests.

Best place of the entire trip and some of the best diving I have done in my 22 years of my diving career. 20 stars." See all these reviews: 21n in Tanzania; 7n in Zanzibar
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
M & C
London

"Pole Pole review"

4 nights Arrived 20 Dec 2019
"Loved Pole Pole - well run, good links with the dive centre, responsive to our needs. Would happily return.

The manager, Julie, has imbued the hotel and staff with her natural warmth, making this a great environment to stay in.

The Chole tour was excellent.

It did rain for long periods while we were there (December), which was disappointing, but enough sunshine to make it worth the visit." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Good
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Mr & Mrs S
E Sussex

"A place to Chill"

6 nights Arrived 15 Dec 2019
"Julie the manager certainly knows how to treat guests, between her and her staff nothing is too much trouble.

Room number 7 our accommodation was private, spacious and very colonial and we enjoyed our time here.

Julie arrange most evenings a different location for us to dine such as the library overlooking the beach or the beach itself, very ambient." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania; 6n in Zanzibar
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Rooms:
Good
Food:
Good
Facilities:
Good
T & S
North Carolina

"Pole Pole - A Perfect End to Safari"

4 nights Arrived 20 Sep 2019
"What a great way to wrap up after 15 days in four safari camps. Flying from the bush to Mafia Island and winding down in the comfortable, laid back and delightful atmosphere of Pole Pole resort was a blessing. You could do nothing, something or fill your days with island activities. - snorkeling, scuba, sail, cruise, explore, lie around the pool, or get expertly performed massages rejuvenating body and spirit.

Julie, the relatively new hostess/manager, already had local contacts in the community and a perfect working relationship with Mafia Island Diving who make it easy to schedule your water activities by coming each evening to the bar and meeting with all the guests individually, explaining tidal influences on timing as well as coordinating how to fit in the most experiences during your visit. Julie knew what was going on in every square foot of Pole Pole and her pleasant demeanor made everything run smoothly. She frequently gave us special "treats" simply because she is a generous, nice person.

Food was delicious and you chose your menu ahead of time. Spirits were fairly priced and the service was very good. The cottages were lovely with outside day beds and in our case we had a 2nd bedroom. The bed in the main room was strewn with flowers when we arrived and overlooked the jungle and ocean. Tea or coffee and biscuits arrived on the patio each morning at whatever time you requested. (So did a crow that wanted his share and managed to break numerous glasses and crockery making us look like the clumsiest couple in the world.)

We met people from around the world staying there and we truly did not want to go back to the states, but when we had to Pole Pole packed us lunches so we could eat them on the plane and arranged to get us to the airport with no stress or worry." See all these reviews: 18n in Tanzania; 2n in Kenya
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Mr and Mrs G
Bucks

"Blissful, living up to its name"

5 nights Arrived 30 Aug 2019
"One long stretch of relaxation, beautiful beach and bungalows, amazing tides, all staff very caring and kind.

Snorkelling was fabulous, as was the trip to Chole island, extremely interesting to see how people live and hear about their daily routines.

Pole Pole was blissfully quiet as a surrounding, food very good with interesting choices and some local foods on offer. Wireless access only in reception area, which made it very relaxing." See all these reviews: 13n in Kenya; 5n in Tanzania; 2n in Zanzibar
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Mr & Mrs D
Worcs

"So relaxing!"

4 nights Arrived 12 Aug 2019
"This was a lovely place. The staff were very friendly, but also did not intrude.

It was so relaxing - we spent lots of time on our balcony just gazing at the sea and doing not a lot. We also went snorkeling and saw lots of amazing underwater life.

Strongly recommended." See all these reviews: 13n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Mrs C
Highgate

"Wonderfully relaxing and laid back hotel"

4 nights Arrived 31 Jul 2019
"Great staff

Fabulous rooms and wonderful pool

Great location and food

Loved the excursions

Very peaceful and relaxing" See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
Experience Report
Overall Rating:
Excellent

Location:
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Showing 1-10 of 101
94%
101 reviews of Pole Pole by travellers since August 2007
Overall rating by our travellers
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