Matemwe Lodge

Reviews of Matemwe Lodge

Good(88%) From 42 travellers
Excellent
22
Good
15
Average
5
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 42 of our travellers who have visited Matemwe Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr & Mrs C from Suffolk
Arrived on: 12-Mar-2019 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Good
Good

Matemwe Lodge

We were met at Zanzibar Airport by charming driver and were very glad to be so safely driven in air conditioned car as the heat and humidity was dreadful. We were both shocked by the final 20 minutes of the journey through abject very poverty stricken village scattered with litter and plastic on an extremely rough narrow track which seemed to go on and on. Not what we had imagined at all.

We were shown around by Marco and our chalet which was No 7 situated quite a distance from the main dining area and pool. The door was fastened by a massive padlock which needed to be unlocked every time we entered. We were aware of tall security cameras although Ross insisted there was no problem.Two fans battled to keep pace with the heat. Thank heavens for the sea breeze or I would have expired.

We both felt very marooned at the end of that track and would have returned home early but for the extra cost, as detailed in our email to yourselves dated 13 March. There was great disappointment when we discovered that even at high tide the sea was really not deep enough for swimming. The sea and the shoreline was not clean. The further away from the Lodge the dirtier the beach became and the more we were hassled by persistent locals trying to sell us things. Not enjoyable. We saw small boys doing poos on the shoreline...

The trips on offer were expensive. $200 to visit Stone Town which had very little of interest or beauty to look at and was unbearably hot. The Lodge driver took us and lost us for an irritating 10 minutes. We do believe that Ross and Gina are doing great work in the community and wish them well but we would certainly never return. It was a disappointing end to our otherwise great trip. The food though was very good and the kitchen and dining staff very nice.

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Expert Africa comments

We were very sorry that these clients did not enjoy their stay at Matemwe Lodge at a very hot time of year. Both Expert Africa and Matemwe Lodge take such negative feedback very seriously and we did our best to assist with early flights home while they were there.

Matemwe is located in the far north-east corner of Zanzibar and the final section of the one-hour journey was at the time of their visit via small bumpy track that goes through Matemwe village. Local conditions on the island, which is certainly a poor part of the world, can come as a shock to visitors, particularly at the end of the dry season, and we are very sorry these travellers were not prepared for that. A new road being built will make access to the lodge much more comfortable.

The rooms are designed in the traditional Zanzibar style with large wooden doors and big brass padlocks. There are also security cameras around the property, however these are a precautionary measure rather than a necessity.

On Zanzibar the tide goes out a long way and on most beaches it is not possible to swim in the lagoon between the shore and the reef except at high tide. Matemwe Lodge has two swimming pools, so it is possible to cool off at any time of the day. All Zanzibar’s beaches have public access and Matemwe Lodge tries very hard to keep their beach spotlessly clean through patrols and daily rubbish collection. The lodge explained that much of the debris on the beaches is swept in seasonally from South East Asia, and was worse than usual when these guests stayed. The lodge has built public toilets in the village and we honestly believe the behaviour of the small boys was unusual.

At the time of Mr & Mrs C’s visit, it was very hot and humid on Zanzibar. The rooms at Matemwe Lodge have fans but not air-conditioning, as the sea breeze usually helps. However additional fans are available on request.

Having said all this we were very pleased that these travellers enjoyed the service and food at the lodge, but sadly it seems that the location of Matemwe did not suit them.

Safari addict from UK
Arrived on: 8-Feb-2019 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Average
Average

Ideal location

Quite a long trip through the traffic to get to the lodge's remote location but definately worth it. The sea was literally lapping at the front of the room. The property is very well managed and the staff were excellent - could not have been more helpful.

When we booked Expert Africa did alert the hotel to my wife's mobility issues and we were told there would just be a few steps up to the room, however, as one of the staff commented, there are "quite a lot of steps on the property". The staff were really helpful so my wife did just about manage.

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Ms P. from Minneapolis
Arrived on: 7-Nov-2018 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Average
Average
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Average
Average

Matemwe Lodge review

This was suppose to be the relaxation part of our safari, but we found the whole transition very jarring and unpleasant. The contrast to the bush was so stark and discombobulating. I would not recommend this facility for the transition out of the bush - in fact, we wish we had gone straight home and had avoided this experience altogether..

It is located quite far from the airport on a very rough and rocky road - we probably expected a smooth and gentle transfer. The resort was enclosed by a high wall separating it from the village -- completely the opposite of Gibbs Farm where the village life was incorporated into the camp.

The facility was not at the level of our bush camps and we were immediately disappointed. It felt desolate, isolated (in a very different way from being far distances in the bush). It was not remotely as comfortable as the bush camps, and the food was sorely disappointing too. This did not seem up to Asilia standards whatsoever.

The manager was cordial but not as warm and welcoming as our previous hosts. She didn't understand our disconnect with the place and kept saying odd things like "the village children are well fed" and "the village people are very happy with their lifestyle." Our concern was not with the village but rather the entire experience. She tried to make our stay a bit more pleasant with a water trip to a nearby island and we really enjoyed that outing.

Another disappointment is that where other camps were all-inclusive, this facility was not - drinks, laundry, and excursions were all extra.

This was such a terrible disconnect with our bush experience. We left a day early, which was a mistake, because we really hated - using this strong work intentionally - our room in Stone Town.

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Expert Africa comments

We are very sorry to hear that these clients had a bad experience at Matemwe Lodge, as ordinarily this property receives good reviews from our travellers. At the time of travel the roads in Zanzibar were undergoing maintenance works, which has been impairing the quality of the journey to the east coast of Zanzibar and clearly had a negative impact on these travellers journey for which we can only apologise. We are also sorry to hear that they found the lodge to be disconnected from the village, and did not live up to their expectations, especially when compared to the safari camps. Whilst the hotel is closely involved with the local community, including supporting the local school and clinic, this is often not apparent to guests staying at the lodge. The lodge is in a secluded location at the north end of Matemwe Village, and, is surrounded by a wall, as are many properties on Zanzibar. This helps to create a private experience for the guests and prevents guests from being approached, while they relax, by those trying to sell goods. We are sorry that this made these travellers feel isolated. Matemwe Lodge is intentionally rustic in style although we have always found it to deliver a high level of comfort and the lodge underwent a soft refurbishment earlier in 2018. However we know the lodge always takes traveller feedback seriously and will look into these issues raised. Accommodation on Zanzibar and the beach is typically much more affordable than on safari, and overall the standards of service can be lower, and we can appreciate that this can cause disappointment after a luxurious safari with highly attentive staff. Accommodation on Zanzibar is usually booked on a half-board or full-board basis, which we mention in all our documentation to our travellers, and sadly many hotels do not offer an all-inclusive package.

Mrs P.S. from Baldock
Arrived on: 24-Sep-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

perfect place to relax

A truly beautiful place to relax and unwind.

Lodges were fabulous set on the edge of the sea so you could be quite private or go to one of the several communal areas which were tastefully arranged throughout the lush gardens. It was small enough to get around easily yet big enough to provide a variety of spots to read or sunbathe. Staff were delightful and there was a good number of activities on offer.

The beach is public but there was hardly anyone else on it. There is a lot of seaweed but you soon get used to it.

When the tide comes in at night the crashing waves are very loud!

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R & J from Richmond Hill
Arrived on: 19-Sep-2018 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Matemwe Lodge review

Very relaxing and secluded location. If you want to just "re-charge" then this is the place. Horrible roads for the last 20 minutes to get there. Don't expect much activity but the management are very good and the meals were excellent.

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Dad from UK
Arrived on: 21-Feb-2018 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Matemwe Lodge Review

We loved this hotel. It was a super place to spend our last 3 nights in Africa. Initially we were assigned Room 12, which was a long way from the restaurant and swimming pool, so the manager kindly us transferred us after the first night to Room 1, which was ideal. The pool area and dining areas were beautiful overlooking the ocean. We made us of the facilities, taking a snorkelling trip and a Reef walk.

We enjoyed having the hotel so near a vibrant village. Fishing boats passed by all the time and we went to watch the fish auction in the village. The staff were very helpful and there were plenty of dry towels available.

The choice of food was excellent. Lunches were particularly good. The safari lodges were able to provide chilled water in flasks which was much appreciated. We suggested to Ross, the manager, that it might be a good idea to also provide chilled water, as warm water is not nice to drink.

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Ms M from London
Arrived on: 10-Feb-2018 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

On the edge of the sea

This had a very different feel to other Asilia camps.
The staff certainly weren't as friendly, but still very nice.
Rooms were again excellent, with a very enjoyable double hammock to relax on , looking over the sea.
Food not good at the weekend but improved dramatically from the Monday. A special Valentines dinner was set up on the beach, with seafood.
They had bikes but charged $20 to rent which we thought was wrong.
We did enjoy the kayaking. Snorkelling can only be done with a boat ride which they charged US$35 each. Not as impressive as I had thought it'd be.
Overall a very relaxing 5 days in very comfortable accommodation.

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Ms W from Kenora
Arrived on: 9-Nov-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

A beautiful retreat, fabulous staff & food!

After spending time in two different safari tent camps it was absolutely fantastic to arrive at this incredible beach front resort for a little indulgence. The grounds were immaculate and the well tended gardens spectacular. The staff greeted us with welcoming smiles on our arrival, refreshing drinks and hand cloths which were truly appreciated. We arrived towards the end of lunchtime but were accommodated with a perfect lunch to tie us over until dinner. Our bungalow overlooked the reef and the vast Indian Ocean beyond. The perfect setting and we had a fully furnished private deck for lounging and enjoying the sea breeze.

Our bungalow was perfect inside as well with a high thatched ceiling, two comfortable double beds with quality linens, one on the main floor and one upstairs both with well placed.fans. The bathroom was huge, with a beautiful tub and great walk in shower, and a separate toilet. we were so happy we were staying 4 nights!

The meals were fantastic in their presentation, variety and taste. The dining room was well situated overlooking the water as was the infinity pool. A second pool was closer to the bar lounge area and was equally as nice with a small waterfall.

We utilized the sports centre for assisting us with an afternoon kayaking out to the reef, a wonderful boat ride and snorkelling outing to a distant reef and a swim with the dolphins and a walk to the fish market and a village tour. The staff at the centre were very helpful and friendly.

Overall the front desk staff, the bar and wait staff were all excellent and attentive. i also really enjoyed my massage treatment. This resort and the staff put on a fantastic and swahili dinner and entertainment fun night which all the guests really seem to enjoy and learned a few new dance moves! I highly recommend this resort as a great place to unwind and relax.

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Mr & Mrs BH from W Sussex
Arrived on: 17-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

A real beach beauty!

On arrival at Matemwe we were met by Ross and given an intro tour of the establishment. He had arranged a complimentary bottle of champagne to be left in our room which successfully placated us on our initial poor experience with the transfer company who collected us - a very nice touch. Ross is an exemplary host and is clearly focused on making Matemwe as successful as possible; his commitment to the training and career opportunities for members of the village is to be highly praised.

The lodge itself was exactly what we wanted in that it was a wind down/get in the mood place for our forthcoming safaris on the mainland. We stayed in room 11 and it fulfilled our needs. The decor and ambience was spot on. We would have liked a fridge in the room with some drinks in it to avoid having to walk to the bar area or ring room service. Completely fresh sheets every day was a real treat!

The food was very good if not overly adventurous. The staff were pleasant to chat to and courteous throughout our stay. However, the finer points of service need to be reinforced; while sitting at the pool for instance we were never asked whether we wanted anything. If one went and found a staff member and asked for something it normally arrived but we would have liked them to be slightly more attentive and proactive. We arrived on Sunday which was the African dance evening - this really set the mood for our stay - great fun and everyone got up and danced. Wednesday night was the seafood BBQ and was an excellent last night of our stay. I am glad we hadn’t arrived on Thursday and left Sunday as I don’t think there is any other evening event during the week.

It is a pity that it is not really safe to swim in the wonderfully warm sea due to the many spiny sea urchins, especially as the sand on the beach has to be experienced to be believed! However, many small touches at Matemwe (honesty beach bar, double hammocks in the villas etc) make enjoying the sea from the land very bearable! There is not much to do at the resort so 3 days/4 nights was enough. If you want to explore locally perhaps add another day. We did nothing day 1, followed by a reef walk day 2 and boat trip on day 3 which was enough for us.

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Mr & Mrs G from Surrey
Arrived on: 12-Feb-2017 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good

Matemwe Lodge review

We greatly enjoyed our stay at this lodge, because the excellent rooms offer a beautiful outlook over the sea and the service was always friendly, if sometimes rather inefficient! It is unfortunate that the reef in front of the lodge is dead and swimming in the sea involves careful avoidance of sea urchins. Consequently, snorkelling has to involve a boat trip to a reef further away.

An important attraction of the lodge is that it is located close to a working village, so there was always plenty of activity with fishermen setting out and returning with their catch. Despite its proximity to the village, the beach was generally uncrowded and not as affected by rubbish as we had feared might be the case.

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