Lodges

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

The hotel

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.

The rooms

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.

On safari

Experiences

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.

When to go

Zanzibar by month

January

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are reasonably hot, with little rainfall at this time of year.
  • This is the best time to swim with the mighty whale shark, the largest fish in the world.
  • The ideal month for exploring the coral reefs and exotic fish with water clarity of 25 meters or more.

February

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are reasonably hot, with little rainfall at this time of year.
  • This is the best time to swim with the mighty whale shark, the largest fish in the world.
  • The ideal month for exploring the coral reefs and exotic fish with water clarity of 25 meters or more.

March

Season: Wet
  • The weather is not good over this period with high temperatures and plenty of rain, often in the form of storms.
  • Diving is not ideal during this month, with water clarity dropping because of the weather.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high and windy, with rainfall continually falling over this period.
  • Diving is not idea during this month, with water clarity dropping because of the weather.

May

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high and windy, with rainfall continually falling over this period.
  • Diving is not ideal during this month, with water clarity dropping because of the weather.

June

Season: Dry
  • At the end of the wet season, temperatures are cooler, wind can still be strong with sporadic rainfall across the month.
  • Diving is decent during this month, as long as weather doesn't pick-up.
  • Be aware that many local restaurants and stores close during the period of Ramadan.

July

Season: Dry
  • Diving is is decent during this month, as long as weather doesn't pick-up.
  • Weather is more consistent over this period with cooler temperatures, little wind and low rainfall.
  • Be aware that many local restaurants and stores close during the period of Ramadan.

August

Season: Dry
  • Diving is decent during this month, as long as weather doesn't pick-up.
  • Weather is more consistent over this period with cooler temperatures, little wind and low rainfall.

September

Season: Dry
  • Weather is more consistent over this period with cooler temperatures, little wind and low rainfall.
  • There is the possibility of whale watching, as an added bonus during this time of year.
  • Diving is decent during this month, as long as weather doesn't pick-up.

October

Season: Dry
  • The ideal month for exploring the coral reefs and exotic fish with water clarity of 25 meters or more.
  • Weather is more consistent over this period with cooler temperatures, little wind and low rainfall.
  • There is the possibility of whale watching, as an added bonus during this time of year.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with the arrival of the summer rains and wind.
  • If you are a keen fisherman, billfish fishing season kicks off.
  • This is the best time to swim with the mighty whale shark, the largest fish in the world.
  • The ideal month for exploring the coral reefs and exotic fish with water clarity of 25 meters or more.

December

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are hot with the arrival of the summer rains and wind.
  • This is the best time to swim with the mighty whale shark, the largest fish in the world.
  • Diving is not at its best but decent during this month, as long as weather doesn't pick-up.

Wildlife


In the gin-clear ocean around Zanzibar, marvel at bright corals with over 450 species of tropical fish, octopus, stingrays, moray eels, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, and if you are very lucky: whales sharks and manta rays. In the coastal forests, spot the colobus and Sykes monkeys, bush babies, more than 50 species of butterfly, as well as brilliant bird species.

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