Anyone can look at the gorgeous photographs of the Manta Resort and it’s famed Underwater Room and long to go there. But, on a recent visit to the resort, situated on the Northern tip of Pemba Island (known as a magic island itself!) off Tanzania, I experienced so many more elements that simply can’t be captured on camera. Not to sound hokey but, Manta was an experience for the soul – it was at once nurturing and inspiring! Life at Manta flows in time with the natural rhythms of the island. I recommend leaving plenty of unstructured time to let things happen as they will! Here are just a few of my highlights:
Sailing on an Ngalawa to a sandbank island at sunset. If it is bliss that you seek – jump on a traditional dhow sailboat on the Indian Ocean and sail to your own private sandbank island (tide dependent, of course!). The expert crew from the resort even let you step out on to the outrigger with a rope and test your strength at keeping the boat flat – the effort is well worth the view you have while cruising over the shallow clear blue water below! Such a thrill. This incredible experience is completed with a cooler box of cold drinks and fresh tropical fruit!
Ummm….one complimentary spa treatment per day! The only trouble was deciding between the plentiful pampering choices! The extremely well-trained therapists have a natural way of combining learned techniques with traditional elements. So, whether you’re looking for a quick pedicure or going for the exotic Swahili head massage (both highly recommended!) just be sure you’re staying enough days to enjoy it all! Tempted? Have a look through the Kipepeo Spa menu here!
The Cuisine! I am a believer in nourishing the body and mind from the inside out. At Manta, every meal is an experience. With a flavor-packed, daily menu highlighting local ingredients and spices, you’ll always look forward to your next meal. Top this off only by the locations they choose for you to dine! They even feature a vegan option each day! I came home inspired to create new recipes in the kitchen after relishing every bite while there. An unassuming favorite of mine was the Manta Tuna Burger with lime mayonnaise – you must try it! You can read more about the menu and chef on our blog post here.
The concept of Kwanini and people of Manta. I know we’ve mentioned it several times and may have left you scratching your head, but I have now had the privilege of being a part of it. In a nutshell, Kwanini aims to make a positive contribution to the future of Pemba Island, by preserving the environment and integrity of the Pemban people. When you spend time at Manta you can feel this concept in action. In the connections made with the incredible Manta Family (i.e. the entire staff!), exploring the conserved reef underwater, enjoying several other activities of choice, dining, and even in how you spend your idle time. You may not realize it at the time but, you are not only understanding the idea of Kwanini but you are an active part of it…in each and every interaction. Pemba is a unique and special island with a rich cultural heritage and beautiful natural places. The Kwanini Foundation seeks to support co-existence of the local people and guests to the island, to enjoy this singular experience together and conserve it. By staying at Manta, each guest is contributing toward the goal of supporting local communities, and working closely with the people of Pemba, to improve the prospects of locals for the future whilst preserving their traditions and history. A favorite part of the stay was when I could take time to chat with the warm staff and learn a little more about them and share between us. Have a listen to a conversation with Juma Bakar here. When the day comes for you to say Kwaheri (goodbye), it’s as if you are leaving family, only to promise to return soon!