“A small seaside lodge on the remote, wooded island of Mafia, with Italian management, fine cuisine and stilted, thatched bungalows”
Which is exactly what guests at this understated little beach lodge on the untrodden island of Mafia spend days doing. There is no noise or hassle, just sunshine and silence. No dusty roads, just a mangrove-lined tidal beach. No requests for ten shillings, just excellent service and cuisine from the elegant Italian manageress and her team. No crowded hotels, just a handful of wood-and-thatch bungalows with comfy Italian fittings. So, if you just want to chill out on a remote island, with nothing to disturb your reverie but a gentle sailing or diving trip, then off you go! And take it easy.
- Dhow trips to remote beaches and idyllic sandbanks
- Mafia is a stunning, virtually unexplored archipelago with amazing sea-life (it’s a marine park), from tiny sea-horses to giant turtles
- Spacious bungalows with shady verandas
- There's a small spa area on site and an excellent dive school next door
- It’s only a small strip of beach
- At low tide you can’t really swim
- There’s not much to do on land
- It’s quite a journey to get there (but that’s part of the fun! - see Getting There)
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Beach Resort
- Children over 10 are welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
There are 7 wood-and-thatch, stilted bungalows spread along the top of the hill with views over the sea to Chole Island.
The Luxury Bungalows (the name flatters them somewhat) are spacious, with a large sitting-sleeping room, a covered veranda and an ensuite bathroom. The double (or twin) beds have mosquito nets, a ceiling fan and Italian bedlinen; they are quite comfy, though a little on the narrow side. There is also a writing desk, plenty of clothes hanging space; outside there’s a day-bed and a couple of easy chairs. The walk-in shower is hot and effective, and the twin basins are a pleasant surprise. A secondary net separates the whole interior from the thatched roof above. The overall atmosphere is spacious and cool but rather gloomy. At the far end are 2, newer Luxury Family Bungalows with 2 bedrooms (with 1 double and 1 twin) and a bathroom in the middle. The per-person rate is the same, with under 12's paying 50% of this.
- Internet access
- Mosquito net
At the bottom of the hill is a reception-kitchen block, and next to that an open-sided split-level dining-bar area, with views out to sea. The dozen or so tables are laid with candles, paraffin lamps and surprisingly elegant crockery and glassware. The staff check the proposed menus with you in advance, and can always take account of particular requests or allergies.
Antipasto African-style came in the form of a fresh octopus salad, followed by a pumpkin ravioli in tomato sauce for the obligatory pasta dish. Both were tasty and tender - certainly not as al dente as is de rigueur in Italy. Primo piatto was a white snapper with potato slices and grilled green peppers, a nice dish let down by stale spuds. The passion sorbet with vodka was small and delicious. You can wash it down with house wines (by the glass), beers, cocktails or the day’s fresh fruit juice - all excluded from the rates, but reasonably priced.
Breakfast is a light and healthy spread of fresh fruit (our mango and papaya were wonderfully juicy), bread or toast, hot and cold drinks, and eggs to order. There’s a light lunch menu, or if you are on a day-trip a picnic is provided.
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Scuba diving
Children over 10 are welcome however there a no real provisions for kids as the atmosphere is focused on relaxation and tranquility. 10-12 year olds pay 50% of the adult rate.
Pole Pole resort is set in the Utende area of Mafia Island, which is southeast of Dar Es Salaam and off the east coast of Africa. The island belongs to Tanzania. The resort is set in a shady, breezy spot and looks over blue seas to the islands of Chole, Juani and Jibondo.
Mafia (Kilondoni) Airport There are daily flights to Mafia from Dar es Salaam, and from other parts of Tanzania (including Zanzibar) via Dar. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.
From the Airport
You will be met by jeep on arrival, a journey of about 30km (20-30 minutes).
Hire cars aren't very popular because of the bumpy roads, bad signposting and short distances involved, but work out well if you are a group of four or want complete independence. If you’re interested then see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to Tanzania and getting around the islands
- Mafia 20.0 km MFA
- Beach 0.1 km
- Shops 0.2 km
- Restaurant 0.2 km