PEMBA BEACH HOTEL
This very modern and somewhat exclusive-looking resort hotel gives the impression of being built for the business market. The layout and design is international modern, with long, two-storey blocks of rooms all facing towards the sea. However, the architectural style softens that business-like impression with Arabic and African inspired touches to both the interor and exterior parts of the resort.
Rooms are spacious, comfortable and either have a balcony or terrace that faces the Indian Ocean. All the standard mod-cons are included – air-con, desk, TV, good lighting and lots of storage space – along with lovely fabrics and Persian style rugs. Bathrooms are enormous and the supplied toiletries are a delightful, exotic touch. While it's tempting to sit and stare at the ocean from the spacious balcony, there is also an infinity pool, pretty gardens and Wimbe Beach is great for walking or playing in rock pools at low tide.
There are two restaurants at Pemba Beach Hotel. The main restaurant is located beside the reception and breakfast is served here or on the fan-cooled terrace. While we were there, this was closed of an evening as the hotel was quiet. There is also a nice colonial-style bar in this building. To the side of the hotel and on the beach is a second, more informal restaurant. The service and food were both very good, with a relaxed ambience. Even if the main restaurant had been open, we felt this sea-breeze cooled area was the place to eat and drink.
For entertainment, apart from watersports, there is an on-site spa or the hotel will arrange a day tour around town or to the local markets. Pemba was originally under Portuguese government so there are lots of old, colonial buildings. You could also walk along the beach to a small village, which has another hotel, casino and some small shops but unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to fit all that in.
The hotel has a small, on-site dive and watersports centre. Scuba diving is a developing sport in Mozambique and especially so in this northern region. There is a lot of potential and no doubt a lot more to be discovered with further exploration but we were unable to do as much diving as we hoped as we simply didn't allow enough time in this area.
We did manage to get in five dives and wished there had been more. The small coastal walls are quite impressive and we were enthralled by the muck dives inside the bay near the port. Evidently, some of the deeper sites to the south side of the bay are also very good but you need to allow a few days to work around the tides.