The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Tanzania, beautiful, real, unpretentious, away from the masses, tropical island life, relaxed!
22 February, 22h00
We arrived! And it was worthwhile the trip. We already agreed on that after having arrived for half an hour. The Manta Resort is situated on the northern coastline of Pemba Island, Tanzania. It is absolutely beautiful. I’m so happy that I just tagged along with my friend. It had been on my mind for 2 years to go on a relaxing holiday (which then often gives me ideas for my travel business). Tonight we just met up with some friends that had arrived yesterday already and enjoyed dinner together. They don’t do these awful buffets here. No, lunch and dinner are set menus and there’s always a choice between fish and meat. All freshly cooked with products from the local market. Just the way we like it. Tonight we started off with a Vegetable Samoosa and after that I choose the lovely Kingfish with rice, salad and pine apple sauce. Dessert was malva pudding which was not great but that’s just a matter of taste. After dinner it was off to bed because we were all quite exhausted from the trip here.
I’m staying in a lovely garden chalet with a huge king size bed, a shower, a veranda from where I can see the ocean (there are seafront villas in front of me but I can peak in between). The room is air conditioned which I quite appreciate during the night. There are mosquito nets and taking malaria tablets is recommended. The beds are very good. Needless to say, I slept like a baby.
23 February, 22h00
Life is hard at The Manta Resort. You need to make all these choices all day long. What am I going to have for breakfast? Am I going to the beach? What time should I book my massage or facial? (daily 30 minute treatments are included in the price!). Should we perhaps organize a sunset dhow trip with one of the local fishermen? What time is lunch? Which cocktail should we try next? (all your drinks are included as well).
I’m a morning person and always wake up around 6am. I LOVE the mornings, to get up, out and about and enjoy the silence. Coffee is available all day long so nothing better to start this morning with a coffee on the deck in one of the rocking chairs. Life is tough! Breakfast consists of lovely fresh fruit, pancakes (yam!), other pastries and you can order hot breakfast with eggs and sausage as well. After breakfast I went down to the beach. The beach has the softest, white sand, feels like snow powder. It’s gorgeous! Slema brought us cushions and towels and we found a lovely shady spot under a palm tree. There was nobody else at the beach yet and there’s a maximum of about 25 people because that’s how many guests Manta Resort can have. Enough space for everyone, no crowds. What I also like about this place is that they don’t play any music. The place is quiet, peaceful and serene and if you like to listen to music you will have to bring your own. Perfect because I always prefer to listen to the sounds of nature and surroundings. Lunch was served and I choose the calamari with chips and salad and for dessert there was banana with coconut sauce. Delicious! Of course! After lunch it is quite hot outside so perfect time to retire to the chalet, chill, read, sleep and do as little as possible. However, at 3pm we had our first massage booked: a neck, back and shoulder massage. Really lovely ladies look after you and half an hour is perfect. Back to chill after this. At 5pm we went on a sunset trip with a dhow. You can rent the dhows from local fishermen who take you out for about 2 hours. We even had the local version of Gin & Tonic on board. They charged us USD 30 per boat. It was beautiful to sail into the sunset like this. The best part was when we spotted a whole lot of Spinner Dolphins.
For dinner a braai was organized around the pool area. Again fresh fish and chicken and beef were served. All the staff is super friendly. This is paradise, really!
24 Feb, 22h00
Pemba Island is well known for the many great dive sites. It was my plan when I made the booking to do some diving again. I hadn’t properly dived for a few years so I did a refresher course in Cape Town in January. Today I joined the dive boat and we went out for 2 dives. It was about an hour on the boat before we got to the site, Fundo Gap. But en route we were so lucky again to spot Dolphins. This time we were on a motorized boat so it was easy to just approach them. Soon we were surrounded by these special creatures that jump quite high above the waves. It was a beautiful sighting and perfect start of the morning. The water was lovely and to my opinion the visibility was quite good too although another couple thought it was very bad. Well, they better never go diving in Cape Town…A wall of coral gardens and beautiful tropical fish was the treat. We stayed under for about an hour and went down to 30 meters. This is the maximum they do here which is perfectly fine with me. I was diving in shorties and towards the end of the dive I did get a bit cold. We went to a beautiful little deserted beach to relax after the first dive. And then back into the water for our last dive for the day. Also here we got some drift but more towards the end. I love to float between the tropical fish. Totally relaxing. My dive buddy got bitten by a Trigger Fish and it was bad so she had to ascent. I totally missed that event, I’m afraid I’m not the best dive buddy….
Diving makes you very hungry so lunch was very welcome by the time we got back at the resort around 2pm. They served some lovely fish again with salad. Meat options are also available but in this heat I just prefer to eat fish. For dinner we had some giant prawns in a very soft red sauce. The food is all very tasty. And did I mention already that this is really paradise? Some more updates tomorrow when we’re going on a little tour of the island…
25 February 22h00
This morning we left the resort at about 9am to go on a trip to a spice farm and see bats that look like foxes (?). 1 of the local excursions that you can do. Things are not really officially organized here but one can hire a local driver with car who will drive you around. The spice farm was very interesting. We saw: kardamon, cinnamon, cumin, mango, henna, mimosa, vanilla, cloves trees, turmeric, pepper, mahogany and probably a whole lot more that I can’t remember at the moment. The most amazing fact was that a young cinnamon tree smells like Vicks. Amazing discoveries. Of course one could buy some spices which some of us did. I already bought some beautiful woven bag and hat on the way in one of the little shops en route. After the spice tour we stopped at the spot where we could see the bats. I was a bit exhausted and hot so couldn’t really care to see them. We drove back to the resort. We were out till about 2pm so it was quite a long morning and we were all ready for lunch. Lunch was great again: fish, samoosas, potato salad, chicken etc. And there’s always nice bread. A local lady provides the resort with lovely breads which is often rare to find in other places. After lunch some time to read before we had to head to the spa to enjoy yet another Full Body Massage. I really can’t get enough of those. This was followed by some reading on the beach and watching the sunset with a Gin & Tonic.
26 – 28 February
Same same as above. 1 picture says more than 1000 words so I have included some pics for you. Also find us on Facebook, the extraordinary travel fan page and see the whole photo album.
The Resort offers fantastic 7 day, pay for 5 day-packages that include everything, even your daily Spa treatment. It’s not 5 star but it’s unprentious, beautiful and real, just the way we like it! If you like loud parties, lots of people, crowded beaches then this is NOT the place for you!
From Jo’burg you fly straight to Zanzibar with 1time and from Zanzibar to Pemba Island is half an hour flight in a small airplane.
Contact us for bookings and information!