Pongwe Beach Hotel
Laid back Zanzibari charm
Pongwe Beach Hotel
Zanzibar’s allure is hardly a secret but picturesque Pongwe Beach, on the quieter eastern side of the island, has managed to remain somewhat under the radar. There’s no high-gloss, glitzy resorts here either and Pongwe Beach Hotel is as unpretentious, laid back and utterly divine as it gets. Think airy, white-washed cottages scattered along a secluded stretch of white sand, hammocks and palm trees blowing in the breeze and sapphire waves lapping at the shore. So what are you waiting for? Grab a fresh pineapple juice and a bikini and come to Pongwe for some relaxation of the sun, sea and sand kind.
At the lodge
Quite rightly, the beach takes centre stage and what a beautiful beach it is. Gaze at the view from the makuti-thatched bar and lounge or from the cool infinity pool (especially welcome when the tide is out). For a decent helping of sun-worshipping, there are plenty of loungers and beanbags on the sand or for a spot of shade, retreat to a sofa under the thatch. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s even a snack menu to graze on from your hammock.
Pongwe has 16 white washed cottages, bedecked with African art, charming mosaic floors and enormous, intricately-carved beds. Importantly, they are delightfully cool and breezy when the temperature rises and there are also ceiling fans to help. The ‘Beachfront’ rooms are worth the slightly higher price tag - all are maximum of 20 metres away from the fluffy white sand – whereas the ‘Garden’ rooms are set further back with no terrace. Best of all are the four ‘Seaview’ rooms with their own plunge pools – bliss.
As with most Zanzibar retreats, there’s an excellent selection of land and water activities, but Pongwe’s remote location means some of the highlights are slightly further away – Jozani forest, the Spice Tour and Stone Town to mention a couple. Closer to home you can swim and snorkel in the ocean straight from Pongwe beach, fish or sail from the hotel’s boat, borrow the complimentary mountain bikes and kayaks or simply relax, cocktail in hand.