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Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort
Manta Resort

Manta Resort: Our full report

In the far north-west of Pemba Island, The Manta Resort is a remote, laidback beach retreat with fantastic ...

... views, a powder-white beach and a range of accommodation that includes a unique underwater room.

We have visited The Manta Resort a number of times over the years and every time we go back we are reminded what a wonderful property it is. The owners continuously work hard to upgrade the facilities and maintain the high standard of the lodge and their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The 18 rooms at The Manta Resort fall into two main categories: six Seafront Villas, and 12 Garden Rooms. These vary considerably in size and location, with the spacious Seafront Villas being much closer to the ocean whilst the Garden Rooms – both ‘standard’ and ‘superior’ – are set further back among tropical gardens. Inside they are all light, airy and beautifully designed, with 'evening breeze cooling systems above the beds, and their bathrooms feature complimentary toiletries by Inaya Zanzibar.

For something very special we would recommend a night in the unique Underwater Room. Anchored 250m offshore, this private, three-storey timber structure features a lounge and bathroom on the landing deck, with a set of wooden stairs leading up to a top deck with a large sunbed. But the Underwater Room’s pièce de résistance is three metres down: an impressive submarine bedroom surrounded on all sides by panoramic windows looking out onto the ocean, where on our last visit we were enthralled by an abundance of marine life day and night, courtesy of efficient spotlights.

The elevated central areas of The 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, or while sipping a cocktail from the inclusive cocktail bar. Quirky touches such as a bookcase constructed from an old dhow and a large old cannon lend character and individuality.

Steps from the main area lead down to a nicely designed pool area, where shaded sunloungers and chairs overlook the sparkling ocean beyond. On one side, the swimming pool flows into a small waterfall that cascades down a tiled wall into a plunge pool at the bottom. Bartenders are on hand to whip up a drink from the well-stocked beach bar, which leads directly on to a beautiful white sandy beach dotted with hammocks, and pairs of sunloungers beneath makuti thatch umbrellas.

Guests at The Manta Resort stay on an ‘all-inclusive’ basis, which means that almost everything, from drinks and food to laundry and even spa treatments in their Kipipeo Spa (although limited to one per day), is included in the rates. The only extras are activities and any excursions.

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 organising what time we would like to have a massage.

Activities focus on snorkelling and diving, but there are several other options, including sunset cruises, deep-sea fishing, bird watching trips to nearby Ngezi Rainforest, and visits to a local village.

The on-site PADI dive centre, Dive 360, offers a range of snorkelling and diving trips as well as training courses. The coral and marine life here are plentiful, colourful and in good health, making for one of the best places in this region to dive or snorkel. There is plenty of kit for hire and we loved our time in the water with the competent dive guides. Dive sites vary from shallow dives on the house reef through to more challenging deepwater dives; Manta Resort can accommodate new divers as well as those with many years of experience. Please note, however, that away from the house reef, these waters are known for their strong currents, so they are not recommended for novice divers.

The Manta Resort has strong links with the charity, Kwanini Africa, whose initiatives include building a school in the nearby village of Mnarania and establishing an organic farm. Manta is also working hard to conserve Pemba’s coral reefs; they have set up a no-fishing zone around their house reef, and are working with local fishermen to introduce sustainable fishing practices.

Our view

Manta Resort is certainly one of the more remote lodges featured by Expert Africa. On a far corner of the undeveloped Pemba Island, it is not a resort in the typical sense of the word, but it is laidback and unpretentious, and the views are spectacular. It commands a fairly high price tag but if you want somewhere a little different and off the beaten track, we think it's well worth the money. And for something very special consider night in the unique underwater room.

Richard Trillo

Richard Trillo

Tanzania expert


Pemba Island, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
We’d recommend at least five nights to enjoy the beach and explore the area.
The lodge is one and a half hours’ drive along bumpy roads from Pemba airport.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board
Food quality
On our most recent visit the food at The Manta Resort was excellent. Much of the fresh produce comes from their organic farm, and the menu places an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood. Guests are assigned their own personal ‘fundi’, who will be on hand to serve you drinks and meals during your stay.

The Manta is very flexible and that guests are encouraged to tell them what they'd like; they will then try and accommodate their choices (given the limited supplies available).

Breakfast is usually a platter of fruit, banana bread and pancakes, followed by eggs and cooked food to order. Tea, coffee and fresh juices are also available.

Lunch is a three-course menu with a choice of two mains and three main courses and a dessert. We started with freshly baked sesame bread with a carrot and peanut purée; this was followed by grilled chicken with a satay sauce and rounded off with a fruit salad.

Dinner usually begins in the bar, where guests are served snacks to enjoy with their cocktails. There is then a three-course menu with three options for each course. We enjoyed a tomato soup to start, followed by grilled lobster and prawns, served with rice and a pineapple salad, and finished with a passion-fruit tart.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Possible - but there are no phones in the room, so room service would need to be organised in advance.
Drinks included
All drinks available are included in the price. Drinking water is provided.

Special interests

Beach holidays
The Manta Resort sits on a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach. Its isolated location means that guests are unlikely to be disturbed during their beach break on Zanzibar – other than to be offered a fresh cocktail from the beach bar!
See ideas for Beach holidays in Tanzania
Diving & snorkelling
For diving and snorkelling in Zanzibar, Manta Resort on Pemba Island offers coral reefs and – for experienced divers only – waters with exhilarating currents. And in its new Underwater Room you have the underwater world around you, even while you’re sleeping!
See 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, and the underwater room has a minimum age of 12.
Special activities & services
There are no special activities.
Generally recommended for children
The pool at Manta is a good size, which children would enjoy, but the atmosphere here does lean slightly more to honeymooners and couples than to families.
With no lifeguard at the pool, and direct access to the beach, children should be supervised at all times.


Power supply notes
There is a back-up generator
There is WiFi in the central areas.
TV & radio
There is a TV in the dive center that is used for training courses.
Water supply
Water supply notes
All the land-based rooms are plumbed and have hot running water.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
There is a first-aid kit in the lodge. Manta Resort has links to doctors in Pemba who will come out to the lodge in an emergency.
Dangerous animals
Low Risk
Security measures
The lodge is gated, and security guards patrol both night and day. There is also a guard boat which patrols the reef at night.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers dotted around the lodge.


  • Birdwatching


  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fishing


  • Kayaking


  • Scuba-diving


  • Snorkelling


  • Watersports



Disabled access
Not Possible
Laundry facilities
The Seafront Villas have wooden safes, and there is a safe at reception where guests can store valuables.
Accepted payment on location
Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted with a 3.5% surcharge. Cash payments may be made in US dollars (newer than 2013 only), euros, Tanzanian shillings and British pounds.

Room types at Manta Resort

Both the Superior and Standard Garden View rooms are set amidst the beautiful tropical gardens.
Outside the superior garden rooms have a large u-shaped baraza style bench...
... whilst inside they are spacious and well appointed, with a large four poster bed...
... wooden writing desk and mirror...
... as well as an en-suite bathroom ...
... and a shower with complimentary toiletries.
The standard garden rooms are similar in style to the superior rooms, all be it a little smaller.
They too have a baraza style bench on the veranda...
... and as with the other room types they are stylishly designed...
... and the bed features an effective overhead fan, great for summer evenings.
They have a clean and functional en-suite bathroom...
... and shower.
1 of

Garden Rooms

The 12 Garden Rooms, all en suite, are set back from the ocean, spaced out within beautiful tropical gardens. These rooms are a little smaller than the Seafront Villas and are split into two categories:

  • Four Superior Garden Rooms are laid out in two pairs – with an interconnecting door between them – making these a good choice for families. These rooms are also air conditioned, and each has a small private terrace with baraza-style loungers. In addition to a large four-poster bed you can also find a small writing desk, wooden shelving, and a free-standing fan.
  • The smallest rooms are the eight Standard Garden Rooms. These are set back in the gardens, with a small veranda at the front of each. Inside the style is much more basic, with a ceiling fan over the bed rather than air conditioning. Outside they have baraza-style loungers scattered with comfy cushions.

The Seaview Villas are the largest and most luxurious land based rooms at the Manta Resort.
Inside they are light and airy, with a colour scheme of deep blues and crisp whites...
... and the double beds come with an 'evening breeze' cooling system.
There are lots of spaces to relax, such as the baraza style sofa...
... or the L-shaped seating unit ...
... which has beautiful views over the Indian Ocean.
At the back of the villa is a spacious en-suite bathroom...
... with twin sinks...
... a toilet ...
... and a shower with complimentary toiletries by Inaya Zanzibar.
1 of

Seafront Villas

The six Seafront Villas are easily the best land-based rooms at The Manta Resort. The rooms are incredibly spacious and feel both bright and airy. The open-sided front of each room affords beautiful views over the Indian Ocean, with wooden shutters to close the ‘window’ at night. Outside each of the Seafront Villas is a private plunge pool. In the centre of each villa sits a large four-poster bed draped in a weighted mosquito net. There is a small coffee table, and breakfast may be brought to your room. Villas one, three and five also have a large ‘baraza’ style daybed, whereas villas two, four and six have an L-shaped sofa. Along with a wooden safe and a free-standing fan, there’s a recently installed ‘evening-breeze’ cooling system over the beds; this is an almost-silent air-conditioning system which keeps the bed cool within the mosquito net.

At the back of the room is an open-plan bathroom with a shower and twin sinks. Although the toilet is enclosed separately, this probably wouldn’t be the best option for friends travelling together, or those who like a little more privacy.

The underwater room at the Manta Resort is one of the most unique hotel rooms in the world.
It has three storeys and the top deck is perfect for sunbathing by day and stargazing at night.
The central deck has a u-shaped sofa and table, ...
... from where you can enjoy the spectacular sunsets.
Climb down the ladder in to the bedroom, which is located three meters below the surface....
... and the 360-degree views will really take your breath away.
The neighbors are friendly and just waiting to greet you...
... such as this shoal of batfish who are frequent visitors to the room.
As night sets in you can see species such as barracuda...
... and several smaller fish dart around feeding on microscopic plankton.
Above the water is a small bathroom, with an eco-friendly toilet...
... a simple fresh water shower ...
... and also a well stocked fridge along with tea and coffee facilities.
1 of

Underwater Room

The Swedish-designed Underwater Room at Manta is one of the most unique rooms we feature at Expert Africa. A private, three-storey structure anchored 250m offshore, it is currently the only one in the world and is an amazing feat of engineering.

The underwater room is set in an area known as the ‘blue hole’, which is surrounded by a shallow coral reef. This area is home to an abundance of marine life and offers some great snorkelling opportunities directly from the room.

Above the water, the landing deck houses the lounge and bathroom. In the lounge, a U-shaped sofa is scattered with blue and cream cushions, with a wooden table at its centre where meals can be taken, and with a fantastic view of the sunset. A wooden cabinet houses a well-stocked minibar.

The bathroom features an eco-friendly marine toilet, a small sink, and a freshwater shower. To protect the delicate coral reef, shampoo and chemical products are not allowed in the underwater room but biodegradable toiletries are provided.

Up a set of wooden stairs is the top deck where a large daybed works by day for sunbathing and by night for stargazing.

But the real attraction of this room lies three meters below the surface. Reached by a small, rather steep ladder staircase, a suspended bedroom offers 360-degree views through the glass into the ocean. The room itself is reasonably small, just big enough for a double bed, but its size actually helps you to feel completely immersed in the underwater world. During the day the room attracts a wide variety of reef species including Moorish idol, parrotfish, sergeant majors, red cornetfish, trumpetfish, and a resident school of batfish. After dark, spotlights allow the fish spotting to continue; schools of trevally dart around eating microscopic plankton and on our most recent stay we were even joined by a large barracuda outside our window!

To help identify your companions, there are a couple of fish ID books on a small table –and a mobile phone preprogrammed with numbers for emergency use. The four anchors used to secure the room act as an artificial reef, and provide protection from larger predators.

The Underwater Room is not cheap, but spending a night here is a truly incredible experience, and one that you will be hard pushed to find elsewhere.

Other lodges in Pemba Island

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