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Pole Pole Bungalows

When To Visit Mafia Island:
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"Pole Pole has always been my first choice on Mafia. It's a lovely lodge with a good price compared with other beach properties. There's also a wonderful laidback character and tangible charm. I cannot recommend Pole Pole highly enough!"


Pole Pole, established in 1998, is privately owned and run. It has a great reputation as one of the world’s most exclusive eco-resorts, and it’s renowned for the high standard of its accommodation, service, and cuisine. The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, bottled water, and a laundry service. Guests staying for four nights can stay an extra night for free, and there are special offers for honeymooners – please contact a member of our team for all the details.


The property is accessed via 30 minutes’ flight from Dar es Salaam to Mafia Airport, followed by 20 minutes’ road transfer. It has a lovely location on Mafia Island, on a gently sloping hillside overlooking Chole Bay.


Guest accommodation consists of five bungalow suites and two Asali suites, all positioned within Pole Pole’s gorgeous tropical gardens. Constructed out of timber and thatch, each has a charmingly rustic appearance. A few wooden steps lead up to the entrance door, which opens into the main bedroom. This has a rustic feel too, with its dark-wood floors, white-washed walls, and visible support beams. Furnishings include a double bed or twin beds, a writing desk and chair, and a large storage unit. There’s a fan above the bed or beds, and en-suite facilities comprise a flush toilet, bidet, twin washbasins with mirrors over, and shower. At the back of each bungalow, double doors lead onto a private veranda, set with a day bed, a couple of easy chairs, and a coffee table. This is a great spot for relaxing and enjoying your views! The Asali suites benefit from an additional room that has a massage bed. This room can also be used as a second bedroom, for a maximum of two persons. It’s an excellent option for a small group or family!

Pole Pole’s communal lodge is styled in the same way as the guest suites. Inside, you’ll find a spacious open-plan lounge and dining area, which features comfortably cushioned wicker seating around coffee tables, chic separate tables and upright chairs, and the property’s well-stocked bar. Food and drink at Pole Pole is superb, with highlights such as hearty breakfasts, three-course leisurely lunches, and fabulous four-course dinners! Dishes are inspired by the cuisine of not only local but also international cultures. Adjacent to the dining area, there’s a duara, which means circle in Swahili and is the setting for reading and board games during the day and private dinners come nightfall. Guests can also dine in a variety of locations within the property’s grounds, all the while marvelling at sea views. The on-site shop stocks gifts and postcards as well as essential items, while the spa – Alasiri – is perfect for anyone in need of a soothing massage, manicure, and more. And the swimming pool is set in gardens nearby, within a locally sourced coconut deck and with palm trees all around.


  • The first thing many travellers want to do on arriving at Pole Pole is hit the beach! Located just a short stroll down the hillside, Chole Bay really is fantastic for sunbathing and swimming.
  • You can also enjoy guided walks in the mangroves, as well as snorkelling excursions and dhow cruises in the bay.
  • Additional trips can be arranged to the area’s sandbanks, islets, lagoons, and jellyfish pools!
  • Other attractions include Fisherman Island, the ruins of ancient city Kua, Ras Mkumbi lighthouse on the northern tip of Mafia, and of course the island’s capital Kilindoni.
  • If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can pop along to the dive centre just 5 minutes from Chole Bay – the expert team here are happy to organise a number of PADI courses and trips out to amazing dive sites. The reefs around Mafia are home to 48 species of coral and 400 types of fish, so there’s plenty to see! Sightings can range from immense turtles to tiny seahorses.
  • Swimming with whale sharks is also available.

Mafia Island

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