Stephen Bailey
You can sleep in this inverted fish task
You can sleep in this inverted fish task
Stephen Bailey

The Manta Resort won much international acclaim for its underwater suite. Submerged in a vibrant Indian Ocean reef, 250 metres off the coast of Pemba Island, this suite is an inverted fish tank. Fish become the beholders of man. And guests admire tropical ocean life directly from their bed. 

The underwater suite, where fish look in on guests sleeping

It was the location that surprised people. Not the underwater location, but Pemba, an island few have heard of. An underwater suite in the Maldives or the Emirates is one thing, but an unknown Tanzanian island?

And it’s this location that has helped the Manta Resort go from strength to strength in recent years. Part of the Zanzibar archipelago, Pemba island very much feels like Zanzibar island, 20 years ago. 

An islet close to Pemba

It’s extremely authentic and undeveloped, complete with excursions via traditional dhow boats to uninhabited sandbanks and islets. There is space here, both at the resort and in its surroundings, far more space than the more developed parts of Zanzibar island. 

Seafront Villas are also fabulous places to stay, halfway between Indian Ocean and native forest, extending the sense of space and serenity. For many guests, Pemba provides beach downtime after a safari, although it’s well worth going to Pemba first, to recharge and relax before an adventurous African safari. 

A seafront villa

Accessing the island is usually via light aircraft, with Pemba connected to both Zanzibar and key mainland safari destinations. Some guests stay up to two weeks, with a night or two experiencing the underwater suite, combined with a seafront villa or garden suite.

Above and below the underwater suite

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