Reviews of Pole Pole
Wildlife sightings and reviews
97 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
"Pole Pole review"
Impressed the way one of the staff remembered I had asked for fresh coconut juice, but none was available that day (6pm and no one available to climb a tree!), so they arrived with one the next day!" See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania; 2n in Zanzibar
"Pole Pole review"
unfortunately we both had coughs when we got there so my husband was only able to do one dive and we coughed well down our snorkels!
Everyone was very helpful and the fruit was especially lovely at breakfast. The boat trips are glorious especially when the sail was put up on the return journey." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania
"Pole Pole - Classy Place (and great diving)"
Food exceptional (particularly sushi), nearby diving first class and staff brilliant - Mateija had the place running perfectly.
Great to visit the nearby village too." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Ideal place to relax after busy safari"
The bungalows were very attractive and comfortable, perfect to just lounge around in, reading, snoozing etc when we weren't out on the daily excursions. Food was good, though naturally quite fishy, given the location. We are not particularly keen on too much fish, but having established that, the menus for the day were discussed with us, and alternatives offered if we wanted them..
Maura, the manager, was a natural host - a very warm person, who really enjoyed chatting to guests at length when we were in the bar or dining room, and was a mine of information, and also incredibly helpful - we really felt she genuinely enjoyed meeting and talking to her guests and doing all she could to enhance their holiday experience, and she demonstrated this in all sorts of thoughtful ways.
Mafia is very quiet and unspoiled - some people mind find it too quiet, but it was everything we had wanted and more - shame we didn't see the whale sharks, but that was the only regret. Perhaps another time - I would certainly go again as a follow on to a safari if we were to go back to that part of Africa for another holiday." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania
"Good snorkling but Pole Pole needs a revamp"
- there was no electricity from 12 noon to 5:30pm and then again no electricity from midnight to between 6.00 am. This meant the fans could not be used at night with the consequent heat and mosquito problems.
- food was very variable in quality. Meat was scarce.
- the furnishings and decor was slightly shabby eg mosquito netting over windows left large gaps for mosquitoes to come in and most chairs were very uncomfortable.
Staff were exceedingly kind, curteous and attentive and tried their best to please. Programmes were always adjusted to suit every individual. Nothing was too much trouble. The resort is well managed.
We were there for five nights which was too long. Three nights would have been adequate." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania; 2n in Zanzibar
We have never regarded Pole Pole as ‘shabby’ - it’s never been so when we have visited in the past - although we were not actually visiting the lodge at the same time as these travellers.
We sent these comments to Massimo, Pole Pole's owner-manager, who was concerned by them. He remembered these travellers, and their warm goodbye to the team on their last day. He was very concerned that they hadn’t been happy – but said, ‘I wish that they had voiced some of their issues whilst they were with us; we would have looked into them immediately’.
Pole Pole has mains electricity, but during Sept/Oct 2008 an exceptional power-cut all over Mafia lasted 3 weeks. Pole Pole’s back-up generator then kicked in immediately. As the evenings windy and relatively cool, it was decided to switch it off at night, and also around lunch-time, to preserve the silence. Again, Massimo commented, “If any guest had wanted it to be kept on all night, all they needed to do was to ask.”
Massimo explained that Pole Pole has recently taken on a new ‘food and beverage manager’ to further boost the lodge’s cuisine. “He changes the menu every day.” In Expert Africa’s experience, Pole Pole has always tried hard to satisfy the dietary requirements of the travellers that we’ve sent there – and we’ve sent vegans, people who need gluten-free meals, amongst others. However, as with any lodge; they need to know about the preferences of their guests in order to act upon them.
Massimo commented, “Most guests just want seafood here, which is fine! But if anyone’s not happy with the choices on the menu, all they need to do is ask and we’ll try to prepare something to suit them. Meat is never a problem!”
Regarding mosquitoes, all Pole Pole’s bungalows have mosquito-screened windows, plus a separate mosquito net protecting the beds. At the start of 2008, Pole Pole’s regular annual maintenance included work by carpenters who stripped down each room, sandpapered all frames, changed every hinge and lock, repainted walls and made sure everything was working well. During this work, they changed all mosquito screens on the windows. Massimo commented that he wasn’t “aware of any holes in the screens, but if we do find any – they’re easy to fix. You must tell your visitors to point out things like this to us when they are here, not after they get home!”
Having said all this – we’re delighted that these travellers found that Pole Pole’s staff were exceedingly kind, courteous and attentive; that everyone tried their best here to please our guests; and that nothing was too much trouble. That’s exactly what we’d expect from a great ‘small island lodge’!
"Pole Pole review"
"Great place to chill or enjoy activities"
Accommodation excellent and spotless. Food absolutely fabulous.
Excursions first class and wide ranging. Enjoyed a great days fishing.
Snorkelling is outstanding for variety and numbers of fish and coral." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Pole Pole review"
"Pole Pole review"
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 !" See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Heaven on Earth at Pole Pole"
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." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania; 4n in Rwanda; 1n in Kenya
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