Reviews of Matemwe Lodge
Wildlife sightings and reviews
45 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Matemwe Lodge and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"We couldnt have found a better spot to unwind."
The team looking after us, led by Khamis were wonderful, very friendly and very attentive. The menu was varied and the food uniformly excellent. The wine list was once again limited, but the bar was otherwise well stocked.
The beach villas are wonderful, with a good bath and shower, air con (not used) and the ceiling fan might be needed at some times of the year, but with the Trade winds building up from about 3 pm onwards, they werent really needed that much.
The bar has its own resident Bush babies and iridescent sunbirds are easily spotted in the nearby flowers. The grounds have the wonderful elephant shrews in them, and a number of other animals can be seen. The beach is pristine white sand. Swimming in the 'reef' is probably not a great idea, it gets windy from lunch onwards and there is a current. In addition there are literally hundreds of sea urchins to step on if you're unwise enough to put your foot down without reef shoes.
A quick word on the diving as Zanzibar seems widely considered to be an excellent location. We had two dives here with the local PADI 5 star centre and found the current and visibility to be a problem. Again it's partly luck, as near full moon the tides and currents are at their worst apparently. We arrived with high expectations and were left a little disappointed. However we couldnt be happier with the dive team that looked after us from One Ocean Dive Centre, they were simply excellent.
You've two pools to choose from at the hotel and there is a snorkelling trip each day if you want to get in the water
There are other activities arranged by the hotel each day if you want to visit the local village / fish market, and a reef walk is quite good fun. The spa massage is very highly recommended by Shirley.
We couldnt quite believe how bad the access road to the hotel is, and indeed it services two other high end hotels. Not an issue for us, we'd just been driving around the Serengeti, but you had to feel sorry for the suspension of the taxi driver's cars.
The team ensure each set of guests get a special dining experience on the last night, so we were given a table on the beach which was lovely. We couldn't fault the care and attention.
We'd definitely stay here again." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
"Everything was wonderful at Matemwe."
3 days ago, I sent them an email saying we had lost some prescription glasses during our visit. They haven't answered yet....I offered to pay shipping expenses, if they happen to find them, but no news" See all these reviews: 9n in Zanzibar; 5n in Tanzania
"Matemwe Lodge review"
The lodge is perfectly located for snorkelling at Mnemba Island which is the best we've ever experienced and an absolute must! They also offer reef walks and a visit to the local fish market, which is so much fun to see especially if you've watched all the fisherman motoring back with their daily catch.
Other benefits: great food, friendly and helpful staff, two different pools, and a nice bar area where the bush babies will come to visit for their breakfast at sundown every evening.
One thing to consider: because of the lodge's proximity to the ocean and the strength of the tidal surf, there is the feeling that everything in your room is just a little damp all the time." See all these reviews: 8n in Zanzibar; 7n in Zambia
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." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
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.
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." See all these reviews: 4n in Tanzania; 3n in Zanzibar
"Matemwe Lodge review"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania; 4n in Zanzibar
"perfect place to relax"
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!" See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar; 1n in Kenya
"Matemwe Lodge review"
"Matemwe Lodge Review"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
"On the edge of the sea"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania; 7n in Zanzibar; 5n in Rwanda
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Alternative places to stay in this same area.
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Shooting Star Lodge
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Mnemba Island Lodge
Mnemba is a private island resort with 11 chalets, fringed by some of the best coral reefs in the Zanzibar area.
Matemwe Retreat is one of the most exclusive lodges on Zanzibar, with four split-level villas each with their own veranda, sun terrace, plunge pool.
Sunshine Marine Lodge
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Green & Blue
The pretty Green and Blue hotel has a picture-postcard setting on a sweep white sand in the Matemwe area of Zanzibar’s north-east coast.
Formally known as Matemwe Beach Village, Zanzibar Pearl Boutique Hotel is one of the newest properties on the island
Melia Zanzibar is a very large resort hotel on Zanzibar’s east coast and is well equipped for business and leisure trips.
Matemwe Beach House
Located on Zanzibar's stunning east coast, Matemwe Beach House offers private accommodation for friends or families travelling together.
Tulia Zanzibibar Beach Resort is a 16-room boutique beach hotel that opened in 2016 on Zanzibar's east coast.