We went to The Manta Resort on Pemba for two weeks in January 2014 and really regretfully have not had time until now to write a review.
Indeed, we did wonder whether to write a review at all as it was so wonderful that we definitely want to go back and would prefer not to give the secret away!
This is the perfect low key relaxing, get away from it all holiday destination - after an enjoyable "adventure" to get there.
Do not expect the last word in unnecessary glitzy luxury - you can relax here more quickly and easily without.
The Manta Resort is an incredible amalgam of beauty in the resort, surroundings and sea with reliable, helpful and pleasant staff and an excellent eco approach to the physical environment and locals.
It is an all inclusive which removes all the complications of signatures, costs etc. and includes a choice of types of massage on a daily basis.
The menu is short but the food is good. We had an amazing candlelit seafood beach dinner.
The local fishermen have handmade boats on the beach (we think made from mango wood, similar to Balsa but stronger) and we had a wonderful sunset sailing cruise in one.
The resort has a fascinating relationship with the local community:
1) we very much enjoyed a trip to the local school that it supports and took crayons etc. and afterwards sent white board marker pens that they needed.
2) the resort facilitates seaweed farming which then is an ingredient in the lovely locally produced soap.
3) another project is octopus farming replacing capture of small immature octopodes and allowing them to (rapidly) grow to a much more productive size - and being incredible to see as larger specimens on our final dive.
We had an amazing 24 hours in the underwater room which was at that point so new that it had some teething problems but with these now ironed out we recommend a day and a night in it if you are able to. The solitude, being on the sea (and yet having whatever supplies you want brought out as needed by boat) and the unbelievable underwater view in all directions - complete with underwater lights if you want them at night.
We overlapped with a couple that were multiply repeat guests - and we hope to emulate this.
We found all the staff friendly and helpful, our butler, in the restaurant and bars, at reception, in the spa and in the dive school.
Mike The Manager was always welcoming, friendly and helpful and willing to think outside the box.
Mike The Dive Instructor (yes, the same Mike although there are others in these roles but they were away while we were there) was a real joy to have leading us. He was very safety conscious, perceptive of divers competencies and rightly firm if people wanted to try things that were beyond them at that stage and could have endangered others. I really do not think anything preventable would go wrong with him as instructor - in contrast to Swahili Divers who we went with one day and were lovely but the boat ran out of fuel on the way back and they had been smoking around the fuel containers...........
Yes the last part of the journey is on unmade mud roads but in the provided 4X4 that is part of the adventure following progressively smaller planes (to Nairobi, to Zanzibar via Kilimanjaro and to Pemba).
I note that every single one of the (few) less than Very Good or Excellent reviews are old (2009-2011 mostly) except one that complained about the hotel not having arranged the weather.
We would very much like to go back and would recommend The Manta Resort at Pemba to anyone (and have to our friends and fellow divers).
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Elevated and crafted along an idyllic island beach, The Manta Resort offers privacy, romance, adventure, and diving on East Africa's finest island sanctuary. Pemba Island for real. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- The Manta Hotel Pemba Island
- Manta Hotel Pemba Island