Reviews of Matemwe Beach Village
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
After a our adventures across Rwanda and Selous, Zanzibar was to be a place to collapse and do nothing. Matemwe Beach Village was a decent place to do this and we enjoyed our short and relaxing stay.
Rooms are basic, but not unpleasant, the water pressure in the shower is great and if you are by the beach the breeze is very nice ( I'd avoid room 1 though as its right next to reception) The public areas of the hotel exude relaxtion with slouchy seating and books scattered around. The bandas and hammocks on the beach are a nice touch and a welcome escape from the heat of the day, the hats and kikos provided in the rooms are also very nice.
The standout element at this hotel is the food, which I thought exceptionally good. I get the feeling there are cheaper places up and down the beach, but we were happy with our half board arrangement as the food was very very nice.
The Matemwe area is a huge sweeping bay of white sand and we were lucky with the tides, so we could swim easily most afternoons. We went snorkeling with one ocean which I was a little disappointed in to be honest, Mnemba atoll is renowned for its diving and I was expecting a little more from the snorkeling. It was quite challenging at the first site with a decent swell and it seemed to be quite deep water for a snorkeling site. Had it been my first experience of snorkeling it could well have put me off for good! The second site was calmer and better, but the sealife was quite so so and in hindsight we probably should have dived. One Ocean were certainly a well organised and professional outfit and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.
Unsurprisingly Zanzibar was very poor, but it also seemed to have an air of not caring about it. It could be that my experience in Rwanda of a country trying so hard to improve and leave behind a harrowing past made Zanzibar look lethargic and uncaring of itself and I am perhaps being a little harsh. I heard wonderful things about Zanzibar before arriving, but we were in a quiet part of the island and the gulf between the western visitor and local population seemed enormous and a little unsettling. As a relaxing few days on the back of a Safari or Kili climb it was lovely, but Zanzibar is not somewhere I would rush back to.
Matemwe Beach Village
We enjoyed our stay at Matemwe Beach Village.
We spent two nights in a Shamba Suite which was quirky but comfortable and were then upgraded to the Asali Suite. This was great with private access to the beach, a hammock and a huge covered outside space. The outdoor shower was good but going outside for the toilet at night was a bit strange and I worried about mosquito bites.
The food was excellent, the best we had on this holiday. The beach was lovely - perfect white sand and turquoise sea. We hired bikes one day and cycled for miles along the beach, seeing very few people, My husband did four dives which he said were good. I was a bit disappointed that because of the tide we were unable to swim in the sea. I did book a snorkel trip but this was unfortunately cancelled because of the windy weather.
Matemwe Beach Village review
After Selous it was a bit of a come down.
- The room was dreary and we had ant invasions.
- The rusting bars on the window and rusting mozzie mesh on the door didn't help to improve the look of the room.
- Staff a bit too laid back in terms of service, but always polite.
- Restaurant food was excellent. Breakfast & lunch very good. BBQ/Curry night food was just OK.
- More loungers/shade by the pool would be helpful.
- More hammocks on the beach would be nice.
- Tidying up the overgrown vegetation and having a general tidy up/raking the sand to be level inside the beach huts to be able to lie on the bed comfortably would be to it's advantage.
- Supplying sun loungers on the beach that were not falling to pieces would also be a plus.
- Beach uncrowded and scenic
- Water warm and we had high tide every day so were able to swim
- Tea/coffee at sunrise a nice touch but never enough tea, coffee, cups, spoons etc!!!!!
- Very relaxing few days
Matemwe Beach Village review
Matemwe proved to be a lovely and relaxed beach holiday. We were there just to relax and do a bit of diving. There are lots of beach areas with shade, very few hawkers who were not pushy at all, and always something to watch as boats came and went and local children ran by.
The meals here were excellent. I really can't say enough. There was always a choice for the evening entre which was beautifully presented.
The office staff was most accomodating as I tried to make special arrangements for my daughter (staying at another hotel) to join us for meals. Nothing was inconvenient.
It seems each week they have two evenings of group dining activities. This provides an easy way to meet other travellers if you so desire.The remainder of the week, independant tables are available.
The dive operator was very good and all of their staff very professional. Getting to the dive sights became a bit of an inconvenience due to the tide. It often involved a bus and boat just to get to the dive boat. Fine for a few dives but not if you were there for a week.
Ours was not one of the high end suites but it was quiant, with big airy windows and a private porch, comfortable for reading or a snooze.
Matemwe suited our needs perfectly.
Matemwe Beach Village review
We thought MBV was lovely. Very relaxed and beautiful setting on an amazing empty unspoilt beach. Nice to see the locals going about their daily lives fishing and seaweed gathering. Beautiful gardens surrounding the accommodation. Attractive and airy dining area and reception. Excellent food and service.
The simple but attractive rooms were slightly shabby, in need of a coat of paint and some fittings replaced. Not particularly clean. We had rooms 3 and 4. In 3 there was a very dodgy light fitting and in 4 the fan was very noisy. When one of us was having a shower the other room couldn't!
We think people should know about the tides, as the tide was mostly out during the day when we were there, which sadly meant no swimming, but even when the tide was in, it was not really possible to swim properly as the water is barely waist-high. So although you can cool off and generally loll around in the water, if you're a keen swimmer, or simply prefer the sea to the pool, it could be very disappointing.
The attractive pool/beachbar area is very relaxing but needs a bit more shade since the wooden shading still lets through quite a lot of sun. Also more tables would be good as quite a few people wanted to eat, and there's only one table!
Matemwe Beach Village review
The rooms at Matemwe were nicely decorated and clean. The rooms had nice touches like sun hat, sarongs, mosquito coils etc. There seemed to be problems with the water pressure so the showers did not work that well all the time.
We had been informed that there would be no safe in the room, but were surprised to find out that there was also no safe in the reception either. This made us feel a bit uncomfortable. The advice was to lock valuables in our suit cases, but since we came from safari we only had soft bags which could not be locked. We do not understand why it would not be possible for Matemwe to provide safe (either in room or centrally) or lock boxes like all the other places did that we stayed in. 2 of them had sturdy wooden boxes with padlocks in a style that complemented the decor and that were fastened to the floor/furniture.
A brush to brush of sand or a bucket with water to rinse your feet would be a welcome addition to the rooms in order not to drag in sand. Beach is very nice with lovely views, and nice hammocks and sun beds, pool is small but very nice. Resort provides both beach towels and normal towels which is also nice.
The complimentary dhow sailing is highly recommended. We went snorkeling with the on site Dive Centre. We found it a bit price, but very professional and worth the money: All equipment was provided and as a family of 4 we were lucky to have our own small boat with our own captain and "dive master'. We spotted dolphins and the dropped us so that we could swim with the dolphins!
I also tried the massage, which was a disappointment. It was advertised as aroma - done with local aromatic oils - when in fact olive oil is used.
Food at dinner time was excellent. It was creative and varied and served in a different, lovely place every evening. Food at lunch was good, but slightly limited and repetitive and rather "adult". On 2 occasions, we had to argue with the staff for them to agree to serve something else that our children would enjoy eating. I fully understand the benefits of a limited menu. But we were asking for a simple omelet (which is on the breakfast menu), pasta or sandwich (some of which we later found out was actually on the snack menu).
Not as cool as it thinks
The beach location and room were very good. There were some nice little touches, like hats, sarongs and beach baskets in the rooms and the stories left on the beds in the evenings. The service was polite, but slightly offhand.
The big downside to MBV was the food and price. We were half board and as there wasn't anywhere else to go for lunch, we were a captive audience. The lunch menu was very overpriced (10$ for a mediocre veg wrap) and unimaginative, with the same small selection every day. The food in the evening was average at best with very little choice for veggies. We certainly ate a lot of carbs there. Breakfast was limited, with very little fresh stuff and attemps at up market dishes like eggs benedict, which didn't work - far better giving us the usual choice of eggs. They should be less ambitious and concentrate more on getting good well cooked food out - and review their prices.
MBV would have been great if they'd get this right.
Matemwe Beach Village review
very nive hotel and very good food (especially when served at the table): the buffet style food was not as good (in the boma or around the pool) .
the suite was very nice (colorfull and spacious) but not very confortable: we missed chairs we could move around and a table to play cards with our kids, for example...
We had not been told by expert africa that it was advisable to book the diving before coming (we meet an English couple the first day who had been advised by their agent, africa travel, to do so), and as it turned out, the diving center was fully booked for the first 2 days of our stay so we could only dive once with the hotel... We managed to get a dive on day 2 with the hotel next door (new one, Azenzi, with same diving center) but were disappointed to miss a day diving!
brilliant relaxation at Matemwe Beach Village
it would be difficult to imagine anywhere more relaxing than thisRead more about the whole beach holiday
Loved Matemwe Beach Village
Absolutely adored pretty much everything about this place, which was a very nice surprise as it was probably the one I was least confident about when we booked the trip. But it was fantastic - we loved the ethos of the resort and the fact that the locals harvested seaweed on the beach in front, we loved our room and we loved the food.
We also loved the extra touches such as the meal they set up for us in the shack on the beach, and the bedtime stories left in your room each night. Also the staff were fantastic, both in the hotel and the dive shop.