Manta Resort

Manta Resort: Our full report

Rooms
18 rooms, 1 underwater room
Traveller's rating
Excellent (93%) From 3 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
Whilst The Manta Resort remains open thr

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 it seems to have improved. 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, 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, in July 2017, 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. 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 we feature – on a far corner of the undeveloped Pemba Island. It's not a 'resort' in the typical sense of the word, but it is laidback and unpretentious, 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. And we would definitely recommend shelling out for a night underwater!

Geographics

Location: Pemba Island, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: We’d recommend at least five nights to enjoy the beach and explore the area.

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: On our most recent visit in July 2017, 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.

We understand that 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 to order. Tea, coffee and fresh juices are also available.

Lunch is a three-course menu with a choice of two mains and two desserts. 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 two 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

Drinks included: All drinks available are included in the price. Drinking water is provided.

Further dining info: Possible - but there are no phones in the room, so room service would need to be organised in advance.

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 more 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 more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Tanzania

Children

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.

Equipment: None.

Notes: With no lifeguard at the pool, and direct access to the beach, children should be supervised at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a back-up generator

Communications: 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: Borehole

Water supply notes: All the land-based rooms are plumbed and have hot running water.

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 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.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Included

Money: 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.

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