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“Great place! Except for the accommodation....”

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Nature Safari Lodge
Moshi, Tanzania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great place! Except for the accommodation....”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 January 2011

My friends and I had booked a trip to Zanzibar to spend Christmas and New Years by the beach. We all booked in at the Pongwe Nature Safari Lodge for about 10 days.

Upon our arrival, the staff was absolutely excellent, and proceeded to stay that way during the duration of our trip. They were always smiling and happy to assist you with whatever you may need. The food was decent, but a bit over priced, and you had to order your dinner the morning of, to make sure that your meal was ready in time and the required ingredients were available that day.

The scenery and beach was breath taking, and I don't think I ever got sick of looking at the white sand beach and the bright blue/green water. It was absolutely fantastic.

However, aside from the amazing staff, decent food and great scenery, the accommodation was horrible... to say the least. We paid 66 USD a night, which was incredibly over-priced for what we had received.

Our room was filled with sand upon arrival and we noticed that a mouse/rat had defecated in the bathroom... not exactly what we wanted to see, but brushed it off. But, during the evening we heard something rattling in our drain pipe and knocking things over in our bathroom.... yes, we had rats. I talked to my friends and they all told me that they had a rat in their bathroom as well, so for the rest of our trip we had to put chairs and garbage cans over the drain pipe so that the rat wouldn't come in during the night.

Our bathroom was just in shambles. Our sink was clogged for 3 days (they wouldn't clean the room unless requested) and still proceeded to leak all over our bathroom floor. Our shower was broken and filled with rat feces and hair, and during one of my showers, my foot actually broke through the aging plastic floor and ended up cutting my foot all up, leaving a gaping hole in the shower. Our shower door, as well as our bathroom door also did not close.

When getting our room cleaned, we weren't provided with towels, sheets or toilet paper, and had to go up to reception numerous times to request these few things.

At night, earplugs were needed as mice had also found their way into our ceiling (which is made out of a fabric material) and were heard all night scratching around.

If you want really bad accommodation, but pleasant staff, mediocre food and a great view, then this place is for you.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank cdressler8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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10 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    4
    3
    1
    2
    0
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Families
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6
2
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
57 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2010

My wife and I stayed at the Nature Safari Lodge for three nights in mid-August 2010 and would gladly go back.

Our bungalow (like most of the others) was split into two guest rooms, each with its own bathroom. The first night we were there, the other room in our bungalow was occupied, and we did hear a bit of noise through the door connecting the two rooms (could be good for families), but nothing terrible; with electricity for only a few hours every evening and no TVs or radios, there is a limit to how loud things can get.

We were located in the last bungalow along the line and so had more privacy but a longer walk to the restaurant and steps down to the beach, but that walk was not more than a couple of minutes along sandy paths through casuarina trees and other plantings, all well-maintained, and with lovely views from everywhere. There were monkeys in the trees on the property in the morning, exotic squirrels and birds during the day, and bushbabies and large bats at night, so the place indeed lives up to its name.

The room itself was comfortable but simple. The bed was decent, with a comfortable foam mattress and functional mosquito net, though I should note that there weren't so many mosquitoes in general, perhaps due to the season. Each room also had an ocean-facing veranda with a small but handy clothesline. The bathroom, though, left something to be desired; we were prepared for low water pressure and no hot water, but the leakage form the sink and the severely calcified fixtures probably warrant some work.

There is a powerful, quiet ceiling fan, but of course it only functions when the generator is running (roughly 6:30 to 11:30 every evening). Also not a problem, though, as the temperatures and humidity are reasonable and moderated by sea breezes.

Evelyn at the front desk was always friendly and helpful, as were the other staff members, though it did take a bit of nudging to get the room cleaned and to get furniture delivered to our veranda.

Meals at the restaurant were good if not exciting. Lunch or dinner need to be ordered in the morning, as they buy the ingredients fresh each day. There must be different cooks on different days, because we repeated a couple of our orders and received quite a different product the second time around. We did venture out to another property along the beach one day; they had similar prices, choices, and quality, and so it probably wasn't worth the effort.

Our room rate at the Nature Safari Lodge included breakfast and dinner, and then we just paid for lunch, drinking water, and drinks separately (all reasonable) at the end of our stay.

There is a bar area, separate from the restaurant, with a pool table and some music in the evenings, but I don't think any of the few guests during our stay ever utilized it.

The only real problem we had was with our pre-arranged airport pickup, which we had set up via email and reconfirmed more than once with Moses Duchi (aka Mosses; I think he is the original owner's son and now manages the property, though from off-site). We wasted a good hour or so waiting for a driver and finding a phone at the airport and the proper phone number for the lodge, and ended up taking a regular taxi anyway, so that was frustrating but not tragic. Honestly, I don't know that the hotel ever even had a record of our reservation, so I think the whole process of corresponding and reconfirming with Moses might have been a waste of time. Luckily, the property was not even half full during our stay, so none of it was a serious problem. Evelyn set us up with a taxi to Stone Town on the day of our departure, and that worked out just fine.

The bungalows are all set on a cliff a few meters above the actual white-sand beach, which is accessible by a stone staircase and is swimmable at high tide and gloriously explorable at low tide. This means either sand bars or clear ankle-to-knee-deep water as far out as you care to walk, filled with exotic urchins (careful where you step!), starfish, anemones, crabs, coral, etc. There are also village women in colorful kangas harvesting seaweed.

We saw only one vendor with some conch and other shells lined up for sale on a small stretch of beach, but he never once even approached any of the tourists. With such small properties (only three that I could see in this area), all less than half full, there was usually almost nobody on the beach or in the water. If you timed things properly, you could probably walk for hours south along the beach, past many small coves, though once the tide came in you would have to swim back or find transportation along the road.

Overall, the Nature Safari Lodge was one of the most tranquil and relaxing places I have ever stayed.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dougherucci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level Contributor
47 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2010

We stayed at the Nature Safari for 5 nights. It is basic budget accommodation on one of the most beautiful beaches (Pongwe) in Zanzibar. Our bungalow was right next to the beach so it was lovely to wake up to ocean on your doorstep and you practically had the beach to yourself everyday. The tide does go out but you can still swim in it. We didn't find the seaweed a problem but maybe it depends on the time of year. When the tide is up it's heaven! The bungalow has plenty of room and is clean and comfortable. It has a big bed with mossie net. The only dissappointment was the shower. There was no hot water and the pressure was usually very low. Luckily Zanzibar isn't cold but if you fancy your hot showers then you might not cope too well. I think this issue is due to the fact they have no main electricity. They put on a generator from 6.30pm-midnight. Not such a big deal but the owner is currently trying to connect the property to the mains. The food was good but they had the same small menu the whole time so it would have been nice to get more variety after a few days. The breakfast was lovely though. Usually a fruit plate to start and then eggs and toast and pancake afterwards. Although Pongwe is a great place to get away from the hussel it is a bit isolated. You can organise tours and transfers etc but it costs you. For example, it would cost about $40 one way to get to Stone town by taxi. You can hire a car/moped but they can be unrealiable. If I were to do it again then I would travel around the island and stay at different places for a night or two each. Overall, the nature safari is basic but enjoyable if you need a quiet and beautiful place to stay. Probably not for those you like the resort stay.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank lu_rvs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bloemfontein
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 December 2009

Nature Safari Lodge – for me it was like been stuck in the middle of the bush, out of sight and away from all the “noise” of today but with the breathtaking turquoise ocean with all its splendor, as a back drop. The only noise was that of chirping birds, clucking chickens, scurrying rabbits, the call of bush babies and the sound of the ocean which greets you as set foot out of your bungalow which is literally a few steps from the porch.

To watch a sunset, oh and a moon rise is a must as you gasp for breath it so incredibly beautiful that you wonder what you have done to be so blessed to experience, to me an overwhelming sight and moment.

The bungalows are modestly decorated and ample besides your time is spent outside not in!

The local dishes are prepared to order and are “homemade”. Breakfast keeps you going, the usual – fresh fruit platter (straight from the bush), spiced tea/coffee/juice, eggs and toast and always a pancake! I love curry (fish, octopus and chicken) and spicy food so this was right up my alley. You can have plain too! Loved the Pilau! Not expensive.

The bar area is “suck in” and you step out into the powdery white sand. Good selection of beverages, great music, relaxing atmosphere and very friendly staff who keep you well entertained. If Dr Duchi is around (usually at weekends) he will give you an accurate account on the history of Zanzibar. The guys loved the pool table. I had a go at the local board game (can’t remember the name). It takes long and you must have patience.

I loved it the most when the generator went off. Not because you could hear it – no lights, no music – just so still, so real. Oh! the bonfire on the beach…that got a few stories going with other guests.

On one of our walks back to our bungalow I looked up - the blanket of stars where something I had not seen for a very very long time…in awe, a moment that we will not forget as we stood there and gave our silent thanks to the Lord.

The beach is magical and you can go for nice long walks without being bugged. Swimming is great as there is no coral on this stretch and there are local tanning beds – lying under the shade of a tree and just enjoyed the cool breeze.

There are other hotels in walking distance which we did visit and have a drink at. We enjoy a variety of experience.

Rustic, just the way I like it – “no frills”, just down to earth and simple. Nature at it’s very best! A great deal for budget travelers.

Asante sana (thank you in Swahili) to the Duchi family for your very kind hospitality and service.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Charms16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2009

Nature safari lodge is a good place & in a good location which i ejoyed very much during my stay, as there is plenty to do due to the natural forest which they have locate specific for wild life as well the scene and plenty of beautiful private beach at your disposal.the staff are very helpfull and coporative shuld you need to get out in town they have staff who can arrange a day trip as well as a stay in town and view the near by islands.

  • Liked — space,beach view, cleaness,food
  • Disliked — turning off the Genny at 12 midnite, but then makes it Romantic with candles for the rest of the nite
  • Stayed January 2009, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank marinoduchi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Nature Safari Lodge

Property: Nature Safari Lodge
Address: P.O. Box 3671, Pongwe, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pongwe
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Pongwe
Number of rooms: 9
Also Known As:
Nature Safari Lodge Pongwe, Zanzibar Island

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