Pongwe: The Lowdown

Extraordinary Africa>Tanzania>Zanzibar and Stone Town>Pongwe

We’ve lost track of the number of times our clients have asked us for a charming, characterful little lodge- luxury and gloss isn’t a priority, but good food and a great beach are. Travellers: let us introduce you to Pongwe. A back to nature little guesthouse with lovely food and frankly, one of the most ravishing beaches on Zanzibar.

What’s Pongwe really like?

Pongwe’s an intimate little spot, with only 20 rooms built in blocks of two or three in pretty tropical gardens. They’re simply decorated, but characterful with traditionally carved Zanzibari beds, jaunty fabrics and polished stone floors. Walls are whitewashed, and outside there are loungers and hammocks gently swaying in the breeze- we could easily imagine spending many lost hours snoozing with a book here. It’s worth mentioning that the water used for the showers and loos in the ensuite bathrooms at Pongwe comes from the well, and is sometimes a little salty, though this rarely causes guests any great inconvenience.  Garden View Rooms are set back from the beach amongst the lawns and palm trees, whereas Beachfront Rooms are closer to the Indian Ocean. These can be set up as triples or quads as well as doubles- when we visited we thought that the latter could be a bit tight, but still a feasible option for families who got on well and all wanted to be in together. Sea View Suites are the newest addition, tucked back from the beach with their own private plunge pool- perfect for honeymooners hiding themselves away from the world.  Over in the main lodge there’s a small, relaxed feeling bar and restaurant, serving remarkably good food for such a low-key spot. Breakfast is usually cooked or continental and in the evenings there’s a set menu, but if you have any particular requests, please just ask the chef. He also cooks lunches, though these tend to be a bit more of a snack than a three course banquet.

What can I do at Pongwe?

With such a glorious beach and peaceful location, Pongwe lends itself best to lounging around with a good book or taking advantage of the massages that the lodge offers.  However, there’re kayaks, paddle boards and mountain bikes you can borrow, a little low-key fishing can be arranged and Pongwe has a lovely pool for the hours when Zanzibar’s notoriously variable tides are out.

In all, we have to say, we were thoroughly charmed by this lodge. If you want a modest, laid-back spot where you can soak up the sun on one of the best beaches on the island, Pongwe is a good bet.

Want to know more? We’ve been here, so just

Ask the Africa Experts