Zanzibar- Matemwe vs Palms

Sep 24th, 2005, 02:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Zanzibar- Matemwe vs Palms

Hi All,
Was just lurking and decided to post a querry. Our itinerary is nearly complete for next August: Ngaro Sero Lodge 2 nts; Chada-Katavi 3 nts; Greystoke-Mahale 4 nts; Serengeti Safari Camp (Nomad) 3 nts; Serengeti Loliondo Camp (Nomad) 2 nts; Kisima Ngeda (Lake Eyasi) 2 nts; Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 2 nts; Zanzibar beach (either Matemwe Bungalows or the Palms); Stone town 1 nt ((Emerson&Greene or Serena). I'm thrilled. Big question is in Zanzibar: Anyone been to the beach or city places I mentioned. Any recommendations? comparisions? Has anyone been able to use Delta frequent flyer miles to get KLM flights to Arusha? Any good sites or brokers for discounted business class fares? (Business class is the requirement to get my hubby to fly to Africa).
Either Patty or Roccco posted about Zambia and Vic Falls. I'd suggest staying on the Zambia side at Tongabezi- it wasn't cheap but worth every ______(can't remember the currency anymore).
Robbietravels is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 05:02 AM
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Between Matemwe and The Palms, definitely the latter. While Matemwe is lovely and small only a few rooms have a/c and you need a/c. It's just too hot and humid, even with the breeze those that don't have a/c claim make it comfortable to sleep. Besides, The Palms is just a nicers and more lux property - very large rooms.

In Stone Town, either E&G or Serena are fine. The Serena is probably the most western of hotels though the decor definitely in theme with the area. The hotel is, I believe, 2 stories, has a pool and right on the ocean.

E&G is lovely with a/c in most all of their rooms - except some on the top floor with open screens and fans, though quite private. Again, though very romantic, remember that the sun was beating down on those top floors all day long. A/C is something to consider, so I'd go with rooms on the lower (2nd floor). The hotel does not have elevators, no pool and is on a street inside the walls of ST. Check the E&G website for descriptions of their rooms and select one beforehand, or request one ahead of time.

I believe the Serena is more expensive. If you want dinner at the E&G Tower Top restaurant, you have to pre-book even if a hotel guest. Interesting menu, environment with seating on the floor; great for sundowners when the sun sets at this is the highest building in ST. The meal is only about $25, drinks extra.

Question: Any reason why you decided to spend so much time in the Serengeti, even in mobile camps, when so much of the action is in the Mara in August?
Sep 25th, 2005, 06:51 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,790

You raise a good point about air conditioning and I do not think that any bungalows at Matemwe Bungalows have it. But are you confusing Matemwe Bungalows with Matemwe Beach Village? Matemwe Beach Village does have some a/c units. Re Matemwe Bungalows their web site shows the bungalows on a kind of promontary where they may be more likely to receive a breeze. [At least that is what I am hoping since we are booked to stay there!] Sandi do you advise staying only at a/c places?

Has anyone stayed at Matemwe Bungalows who can report?


I would say that looking at the web sites clearly The Palms is more luxurious--with a significant price difference.

Re E&G versus the Serena, have you looked at the web sites? E&G has a picture and very detailed description of every room so you can get an idea of whether it would appeal to you. Friends stayed at the Serena and thought that it was lovely (they had been upgraded to a very large room which might have influenced their opinion). Again there is a price difference between the two with the Serena more expensive. But if money is not an issue then I think that you will have to decide based on the style of the hotel.

Re your query about Delta miles, yes we used Delta to book business class flights to Arusha via KLM.

Patty was extremely helpful explaining how to use a Northwest site to find availability for the KLM portion. I then called the Delta international desk to reserve. I was able to hold them for a week or two and then was able to make some changes as our itinerary changed. By the end I had more days in Arusha than originally planned but worth it to fly business. [I'll look for Patty's response and post the address.]
bat is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 07:18 AM
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Here is the Northwest website Patty posted. It is the Japan NWA site because it will show you availability for a 7 day period of time.
bat is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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We stayed at Matemwe Bungalows in Jan of this year. We really enjoyed it - the suites are excellent (all rooms may have been upgraded to suites by now), the food fantastic and plentiful(as long as you like seafood) and the location very picturesque. If you like snorkelling then they do trips to Mnemba Atoll but the dive school wasn't open while we were there - they'll transfer you to another hotel for dive trips \ lessons.
The one drawback was the air con ... or lack of it. Although perfectly situated on the cliffs above the ocean, you are reliant on a breeze to get any air through the room. When it blows, its better than any aircon could be. But when it doesn't, you have a night in the sauna.
I can't comment on the Palms - I suspect it comes down to what you want. Matemwe will probably be more like a safari camp on the beach while the Palms looks (from the website) to be more of a boutique hotel. The price difference though is huge (approx $80 pp pn at Matemwe versus $350 pp pn at the Palms). At those prices, I'd spend the extra $300 pp pn on safari and then stay at Matemwe. But it depends on what you want.
daviesg is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 01:11 PM
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Thanks for the post daviesg, it is great to hear from someone who has stayed there. Night in a sauna--sounds bad. Could you sleep on the porch? The picture looks like a one-person hammock though. I really like the looks of it but do not want to end my trip with sleepless, miserable nights.
bat is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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bat -

The a/c situation is very personal. But when I hear tropical, I think humid. We were in ZNZ in June and it was tropical, so humid. We had a/c at our hotel and most thankful for it. We also had a ceiling fan, which if that had been all, we would have been in a sauna (as was the bathroom even with cross ventilating windows) and quite miserable.

During the day along the beach and poolside there was a lovely breeze, but once back a few 100 feet, dead air! But that's not to say that the bungalows can be built in such a way to catch the breezes through the entire room and that's great with a fan only. Not unlike a tennis court being built north/south rather then east/west so the sun moved across evenly. So it has to be personal.

We also stayed at E&G and specifically requested an room with a/c and it was great. While there was a slight breeze at the Tower Top Restaurant, once back in our room, without the a/c it would have been unbearable even with the ceiling fan as it was when I stood on the small terrace outside our room for a few minutes to take in the night sounds. Again, it's personal.

At Matemwe Bungalows one or two or three bungalows have a/c. It's as daviesg mentions "what do you want?" You may want to consider Ras Nungwi up on the north coast which is small - about 35 to 40-rooms - some standard, some deluxe, some suites... but all with a/c.
Sep 26th, 2005, 09:58 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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Thanks sandi.
[robbietravels I hope my follow-up questions were OK.]
bat is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 03:54 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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An update on the a/c issue. I wrote inquiring about an a/c unit for my own reservation at Matemwe Bungalows and have been told that none of the bungalows have a/c. So if a/c matters to you and the cost of the Palms is not an issue--then you have your coice made for you.
bat is offline  
Sep 27th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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. . .you have your choice made for you.
bat is offline  

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