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“Diving, tanning and touring in paradise!”

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Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pingwe
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Diving, tanning and touring in paradise!”
Reviewed 8 July 2014 via mobile

Karafuu was an absolute paradise on the South East coast of the island. We were transferred from the airport by our travel company, and the taxi driver was extremely friendly and knowledgable. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to Karafuu. The drive was beautiful, winding through the dense tropical vegetation.

Once we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by some very friendly receptionist staff who gave us a warm towel and fresh mango juice. It was probably the best mango juice I have tasted! We had lunch and were shown to our room which was amazing, clean and nicely decorated! The garden rooms are looking over the second pool by the Bondeni restaurant. It was fantastic!!

The whole resort is nicely spaced out with five restaurants and two pools. We were on the all inclusive deal, so we visited three of the restaurants. The main restaurant had fantastic buffet food, the pool restaurant or Bondeni was a la carte. We also tried the Italian restaurant on the other side of the resort. The food was all amazing!! There was a range of European or western type food, but some nights they had traditional Swahili and Masai food at the Masai restaurant outside. I advise trying all the traditional food options, they were delicious!

The resort has a dive centre attached to it which is very convenient and the instructor Daniel and DMs are very well qualified and knowledgable. The equipment is also very good quality. We did three dives there and they were beautiful!! The whole experience was fantastic.

We also found a lovely beach bar, called Pweza beach bar just 15 mins walk along the beach towards The Rock restaurant. This is a great place to hang out and grab a drink. They are reasonably prices, and the Kiwi owner is very friendly!

We did a tour to Stonetown and the spice plantations. We arranged this with the locals on the beach, they can be a bit annoying at times, always trying to sell you something, but if you find a reliable one (Adam did our tour), they are really great! He drove us to the plantations and got a tour guide to show us all the spices. It was very interesting! We also tried some of the local tropical fruits, which were out of this world! The tour of stone town was very interesting, there is a lot of history there. Try to find a good local restaurant if you are going to have lunch though. We got taken to a tourist trap by the tour guide near the plaza, and it was not good! Try the Freddie Mercury restaurant for lunch.

Overall we had an amazing week in this paradise! The staff we're very friendly, and we even learnt some Swahili! :) I could not fault the resort! We definitely recommend and would be back any day!

Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
6 Thank Niki D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
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English first
Mombasa, Coast, Kenya
Level Contributor
21 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Arrived here on the night of 17th April greeted by friendly staff and refreshing cocktails. It's about an hour and 15 minutes from the airport, and the cab from the airport cost $70. Our room was lovely, we had a sea view cottage on a cliff with a great view, though it was quite a long walk from the restaurants and main pool of the hotel. The members of staff were always jolly and welcoming. Room had more than enough space (see pics) complete with a veranda and big closet. The location was good, with a quiet beach not far away from The famous Rock Restaurant. Whether it was relaxing by the poolside beds or lounging by the beach, there was always an atmosphere of relaxation. I can't say this enough times but the staff were a delight! Especially Moses Dada and Conjeta who always served with a smile during meal times. There's a good variety of restaurants ranging from Seafood, to Italian and even local cuisine and food was always fresh. The Buffet didn't have many options though and could get monotonous. The spa was great and I'd recommend a full body massage in their sea view room followed by a dip in the private spa pool watching the sunset.
However, the water from the taps in the bathroom was sometimes grainy with a brown/yellow color. The hot water and phone had slight issues for the first day as well. If going here, prepare to get pestered by some beach boys along the shore. Additionally, when checking out, the bill (we weren't on all inclusive) was quoted in local currency but charged in dollars using the hotel's own exchange rate. This was 15% above the actual rate, so beware of this.
Overall the stay was lovely, being my first time in Zanzibar, I'd say the experience definitely made me want to return. Service was way above average and the hotel was clean, with good food, this is for the traveler who'd like to relax and unwind but also have interesting options (stone town, swimming with dolphins) readily available. All in all a relaxing, lovely experience.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mildred O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kempton Park, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed 30 June 2014

I really enjoyed staying here. The place is beautiful. our rooms were always clean. the food was great and we were especially catered for as a yoga group with specific dietary requirements. The chef came and organised everything according to our needs, always sporting a big smile. We also had the most beautiful spots to do yoga. We made use of the guys on the beach to take us on day trips. They are very helpful and always available for any combinations of sights that we wanted to see, making sure all the permits were included. Our guide was Mr. Maulid M Ame aka Mohammed Ali also available on the beach.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank WanderingCl0ud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2014

If you're planning to go to Zanzibar, book at Karafuu. Great value for money. The Junior Suite is on the beach and really well maintained/serviced. The restaurant staff are incredible. The hospitality exceeded my expectations. I would like to specifically compliment Freddie, Moses and Emmanuel for their excellent service. Freddie, you are such a special dude, thank you for being so special from day 1. Emmanuel, thanks for specially making tiramisu for our table on the last night. All inclusive is the way to go. Africa Stay (SA) and Sun Tours (Once in Zanzibar) will take care of all of your touring/excursion needs. Karafuu, although located more than an hour from the airport is a beautifully located resort. They go to so much trouble to create a different experience/theme every night. I would comfortably recommend Karafuu to anyone planning a trip to Zanzibar. End-June is the best time to go (according to locals). I couldn't agree more. Perfect weather and cold beer/cocktails. Thanks to all at Karafuu!

Room Tip: Junior Suites are great - on the beach and worth every cent!
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ed_Jardim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 June 2014 via mobile

What a beautiful place. I fall in love with Karafuu. Everything from the hospitality to the beautiful views, rooms and people. I can't wait to go back. Best place for a peace of mind and amazing fresh food . You feel welcomed from the moment you arrive, welcomed by the staff and the owner. See you soon! Thanks for everything!

Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Natasa M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
58 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 June 2014

What a wonderful stay we had at Karafuu Beach Resort. The bungalows are spacious and very comfortable and nothing is too much for the staff. They go out of their way to please you and they take pride in their work. We had a wonderful time and the hotel is very well situated. The food is excellent. Eduardo was amazing and he really proved that he is an excellent worker. It is hard to point out some people, because they were all excellent. We are already planning to go back. Thank you again.

Room Tip: This is an excellent place to stay. The best you can get.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Rui M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
34 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 June 2014

We stayed at Karafuu for three nights to recuperate from a project we were working on in Dar es Salaam. For the most part, we enjoyed our stay, but were disappointed on small counts.

The good stuff first:

The hotel's location is blissful, to say the least. Its on the quiet eastern coast of the island, along the northern reaches of Pingwe beach. The sand here is soft and white, and the seas are the clearest aquamarine imaginable. Althought the beach is rocky and infested with sea urchins, you can walk along a concrete pathway several metres into the sea and swim safely in a lagoon of sorts - its quite the experience. The fact that this is a less visited coast with upscale resorts translates to fewer people (virtually no other tourists) on the beach.

The resort itself looks and feels good, working the tropical/exotic look quite nicely with spacious thatch roof cottages spilling down a gentle slope towards the ocean. The rooms themselves are huge and comfortable, with giant beds and day-beds, along with a pleasant sit-out.

The place is well equipped. There's a number of restaurants to choose from (though only two were open when we visited), and a fairly well-stocked bar looking out to the sea. There are the usual sports facilities that one would expect and three saltwater pools. The more popular sea-front pool offers amazing views and a pool bar, but we spent more time at the quieter pools further in the property. There's a spa that we never ended up using because we felt so relaxed already. The gift shop is fairly well priced, as is the beach shop.

I was slightly worried about security when I read some of the older reviews here, but nothing untoward happened during our stay. The resort has stationed Masaais throughout the property, so walking back to your rooms in the dark, after dinner feels safer despite the slightly scary quietness of the place.

Lastly, the value for money in terms of room and food is pretty good, especially in a destination where 'budget' doesn't exist.

And the bad stuff...:

The beach, though beautiful, is frequented by half a dozen touts who try to sell you tours and souvenirs. They aren't exactly frauds and the rates they offer are very competitive, BUT they do mar the experience of being on an otherwise spectacular beach. It takes several minutes to shake them off, but rest assured, they aren't dangerous. The resort should either work with them or just drive them away if possible. The latter would probably help them earn more off their activity offerings.

The food is temperamental. While the buffet and breakfast spreads are huge, they can only pass off as 'decent' at best. More vegetarian options will help a lot as well. The pizzeria, however, needs a lot of improvement, beginning with good quality pizza bases!

Another temperamental aspect is the service. While we found most of the staff (especially the restaurant personnel and porters) friendly and helpful, the same cannot be said about the reception staff. On our first day, we had the misfortune of dealing with a rather strict female who insisted that we could not have dinner without booking a table. We took the chance and walked into the pizzeria only to be welcomed warmly by the maitre'd! It was also a bit of a task to ask this female for a UK electrical adapter to use in our rooms. She went off duty the next day, and we received much warmer service henceforth.

The 'extras' at the resort are very overpriced. This includes the VERY patchy wifi (10 dollars a day, when it should really be free), the excursions and activities (which are offered at half the rates by the touts on the beach) and the transfers (half price again if you manage your own cab at Stone Town).

Lastly, I wouldn't mind an update on the rooms. They aren't bad but they are getting dated. TV channels are too few, the electrical points are European when the rest of the country is British, and the huge bathrooms have bidets but no bath tubs.

All in all, however, we would say we really enjoyed our stay here, and wouldn't mind returning!

Room Tip: Go for the larger double rooms, away from the Bondeni Poolside. They're roomier and quieter.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank prayashgiria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa

Property: Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa
Address: PO Box 71, Pingwe, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Zanzibar Archipelago > Zanzibar Island > Pingwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 Hotels in Pingwe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 94
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
On a deserted white sandy beach, at 65 km from Stone Town, lies Karafuu Beach Resort and Spa, an international five-star hotel, winner of the World Travel Awards as Tanzania Leading Resort and Africa Leading Beach Resort 2011 .It is one of the most luxurious hotels on the east coast of Zanzibar, where, even during low tide, it’s possible to enjoy a comfortable swim in the ocean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Karafuu Beach Hotel Pingwe
Karafuu Hotel Beach
Karafuu Resort Beach
Karafuu Beach Resort And Spa Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

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