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Tuesday, 04 March 2008

Manta Reef Lodge: Passion and Paradise in Pemba - Page 3

Written by Carolyn Bonello
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If phrases such as ‘deserted beaches’, ‘pristine waters’, ‘unspoilt scenery’, and ‘rarely more than a dozen tourists on the island’ don’t spell out ROMANCE, I don’t know what does. This is Pemba, and I’m in love!

I desperately needed some quality time with my better half. I was craving somewhere exotic but didn’t fancy dodging sarong-sellers on Kuta beach in Bali, or fighting for a patch of sand in Ko Samui, Thailand. I wanted somewhere away from the maddening masses of tourists. I wanted isolation. Peace. Tranquility.


Pemba has some of the best diving reefs in the world, and we are lucky enough to have one of the most famous at our doorstep - Manta Point. This is the tip of a 400m underwater mountain and boasts beautiful coral formations and giant manta rays. Other sites include Shimba Hills and Fundu Reef, where one is most likely to spot kingfish, rainbow runners, barracuda, lionfish and several other species.


Snorkeling can be done right off the lodge lagoon, an area abundant in coral and coral fish. The warm temperature allows us to spend a relatively long time in the water, comfortably exploring this almost cartoon-like underwater feast of colors, without feeling the need to get back to shore.


Manta Reef Lodge: Passion and Paradise in Pemba, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Indian OceanOne afternoon, I decide that I will catch my own fish for dinner. All set with rods and reels, we chug along in a little fishing boat, our very patient fisherman trying to explain (in his very incoherent English) the basic skills necessary for me to ever stand a chance of catching anything remotely resembling a fish. Three hours (and a lot of nausea) later, I finally stand ashore, proudly displaying my first catch ever – a 5kg Dorado, which we share amongst all the guests for dinner.


This is how we spend most of our time at Manta Reef - relaxing on the almost-deserted beach, swimming, sunbathing on the comfortable loungers right on the water’s edge, walking along at low tide picking sea shells, sipping cocktails on the terrace, and watching the burnt-orange sun set slowly over the lapping waves. Lulled to sleep peacefully every night by the sound of ocean surf, our dreams are only disturbed by the occasional battle with a bush baby (a small, furry, squirrel-like creature) that makes its way into our bed!


On our last morning we venture out of the lodge. We climb to the top of a lighthouse nearby and kiss at dizzying heights. It is magical. I stop for a moment and gaze down at the blue-green waters below. Sadly, we bid farewell to the most exotic, romantic, remote place we have ever been to.

Manta Reef Lodge: Passion and Paradise in Pemba, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Indian Ocean

More information on Pemba and how to get there can be found on the lodge’s website –

© Carolyn Bonello

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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