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Couples, Families and Honeymooners
Situated in the Paje area, on one of the best beaches on Zanzibar, Pongwe Beach Hotel is a tranquil place where one can escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.
It has a large open-plan public area, with a bar and lounge to the left and dining area to the right. Beyond, a path leads out to a lovely infinity swimming pool, set on rocks above the beach.
The lodge looks out onto a private cove, with coral-rag cliffs on either side. The whole area has a very relaxed island feel to it with the back of the white-sand beach shaded by a grove of palm trees, and strategically placed hammocks and loungers.
At high tide the water cuts Pongwes stretch of beach off from the rest of the east coast, while at low tide you can walk around to nearby coves.
Pongwe is a small and welcoming boutique hotel, with an intimate, personal atmosphere. The rooms are relatively simple but with some lovely touches.
The area is not has heavily impacted by tourism as many other stretches of the island. The small village nearby is a sleepy, untouched place. The locals are warm and friendly and many guests return to this corner of Zanzibar year after year.
The location is also convenient for day trips to Stone Town and Jozani Forest, both of which are within relatively easy reach.
The hotel as a large open-plan public area with a bar, lounge, restaurant and an amazing infinity pool. The beach reaches far back and gives the property a relaxed, beach property atmosphere.
Pongwe is a mid-sized property with 20 rooms in total. There are 13 beachfront rooms right behind the beach, including a family bungalow at the southern end of the property, which has two interlinking rooms sharing a bathroom. As well as three garden rooms nestled slightly further back in Pongwes tropical grounds. These do not have direct sea views. There are also four Sea View Suites, which are slightly more spacious and have a private plunge pool.
The facilities and interiors in the rooms are similar, dominated by a large Zanzibari bed with mosquito netting, a ceiling fan, a wardrobe, a table and space to sit. There is no air conditioning.
Besides relaxing on the beach or at the pool guests can explore with the kayaks, paddleboards and snorkeling equipment that are freely available for guests. Also, Pongwe can arrange a number of excursions such as diving and snorkelling to the reefs around Mnemba Island or visits to Jozani Forest. You can also do an excursion to Stone Town and the spice plantations.
The food service at Pongwe Beach Hotel is of good quality, often with some fantastic fresh seafood on offer. Meals are usually served at separate tables in conventional restaurant style. Pongwe does cater for special diet requirements but they do need to be informed prior to arrival.
Pongwe offers bed & breakfast or half board options, there is no full board. Lunch is available from 12.00 – 15.00 with a choice of daily specials as well as a snack menu. Breakfast includes full English, fruit & cereals, yogurt & fresh juice, tea & coffee. The dinner on Half-Board is a 3-course option with a Swahili buffet on Fridays. Beach dinner can be arranged on request.
Guest can order morning tea & coffee service to the room. The bar is open all day serving a selection of beers, soft drinks, shakes & cocktails as well as a good selection of wines from around the world.
Pongwe has lovely gardens and hammocks are strung up between palm trees. As with most hotels in Zanzibar, at low tide, you need to walk about 500m to get to sea, but the wonderful salt-water infinity pool by the beach with a wooden deck and sun loungers offers a great alternative. The thatched public area features an open-sided spacious restaurant, a lounge bar and a library with a wide range of books. The hotel has 24-hour security, complimentary WiFi, and a laundry service at extra cost. The rooms are equipped with fans but there is no air-conditioning.
We have long preferred the smaller, independent accommodation options on Zanzibar and Pongwe was built and continues to be run in collaboration with the local community. The hotel was built in a traditional fashion and utilised a labour force from the nearby Pongwe village, materials were sourced and crafted locally, even down to the coconut palm thatched roofs collected from Pongwe’s beach. They also directly support their local community through various means, including building a fresh water supply in the village which is sufficient for the entire community and continues to assist the village development through cash funds. They also support the local primary school through donations.
At this eco-friendly hotel, they source their water directly from ocean and filtered through coral under the beach sand and fed into rooms, this does mean that the showers are slightly brackish.
Find below a collection of our favourite accommodation options in Zanzibar and its surrounding islands.
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