Zanzibar Hotels

Tembo House Hotel

Located on the seafront in what was once the American Consulate, Tembo House is ideally located for exploring historic Stone Town. It is also easy to find as it is not tucked away in the pedestrian alleys that spider the city. Though the road and the beach can be noisy, there are few places in Stone Town that are not; the town is all bustle and hubbub.

Accommodation at Tembo House Hotel

The hotel has 37 rooms of varying size and comfort. All rooms are en suite and most have balconies overlooking either the beach, or the hotel’s courtyard pool. The hotel is decorated and furnished in Swahili style with antique furniture and ornaments. This gives it a refreshing amount of character but does mean that some of the beds are either higher or shorter than the Western expectation. Rooms are well equipped by Tanzanian standards, each with air-conditioning, fridge, Satellite television and telephone. Some are quite small though it may be possible to organise a room change during less busy periods. The hotel also offers an internet café and Wifi access and, for an extra charge, a laundry service.

The hotel overlooks the town’s beach. This can be used for bathing in both sun and sea but is very public and not tranquil, nor as clean as many of Zanzibar’s beaches. It is better for catching a glimpse of Stone Town life over your hotel breakfast which is served in the beach side Restaurant. Besides which, the hotel has a well-maintained courtyard pool, far better for a relaxing swim after exploring hot and dusty Stone Town than the waves.

Food, Drink and Service at Tembo House Hotel

The breakfast buffet, included in the room price, is basic but generally good. The Bahari Restaurant itself offers both local and international dishes. The Restaurant itself is perhaps not Stone Town’s most exciting eatery, but it offers good quality food in a nice location. As the hotel is unlicensed, travellers wishing to enjoy alcoholic drinks and the buzz of a hotel bar should consider other options (The Africa House hotel for example, has a well-renowned bar).

Staff at Tembo House are relaxed and helpful and will offer advice on guides and activities. The hotel does not offer luxury accommodation nor service, but is a standard alternative to more expensive resorts (such as the local Serena Inn). However, it is still a good place from which to explore Stone Town offering a satisfactory, if basic service.

How to get to Tembo House Hotel

The Tembo House Hotel benefits from its coastal roadside location. Though this increases the chance of traffic noise, it does mean that arrival at the hotel and subsequently locating it is not difficult. Taxi/transfer will take you to the door of the hotel from the airport or port of arrival (this is not so with hotels which are more hidden away in pedestrian areas). The transfer service is not recommended as, at USD 30, it does not represent value for money. A regular taxi will cost approximately USD 15.

Stone Town itself lies approximately 7 km from Zanzibar airport. The taxi takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the town. Ferry routes link Stone Town with Dar es Salaam daily and with Pemba less frequently. Passengers are warned to beware ticket touts when buying ferry tickets and advised to take the faster, more expensive ferry as travellers have raised safety concerns with the older slower stock of boats.

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