Queensland’s ReefWorld and the Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji can welcome a new hotel to their exclusive underwater club.
Situated in a coral reef anomaly called the Blue Hole, 250-metres from the shoreline of Pemba Island, The Manta’s underwater accommodation option offers a landing deck above the water and a bedroom 4-metres below the water line that’s surrounded by glass on all four sides.
From this aquatic wonderland, guests can admire the shoals of reef fish such as bat fish and trumpet fish. At night a spotlight is switched on which attracts smaller fish in the same way that moths are attracted to flames. Squid, garfish, pipefish and other predators circle so they can enjoy a feast.
“Octopus and even Spanish Dancers have been seen attaching themselves to the glass panes. The reef inhabitants can simply not resist the attraction, which makes for exciting watching and a truly unique experience. You can hear dolphin when snorkelling around the room in the evening but we haven’t had a visit yet,” said Matthew Saus, the resort’s Managing Director.
The 50-kilometre wide channel between Pemba Island and mainland Tanzania is renowned for its abundance of marine life and as such is one of the most popular spots for game fishing on the East African coastline.
The inspiration for this immersive hotel room was an installation artwork in a Swedish lake near Stockholm. The brainchild of artist, Mikael Genberg, the single room opened in June 2000 and sits three metres below the surface of Lake Mälaren in Västerås.
Fast forward six years and the Swedish company, Genberg Underwater Hotels was formed to create underwater rooms around the world – the Manta experience is their first.
For travellers who prefer to remain firmly on terra firma, the resort also boasts six newly built sea front villas and open-plan makuti-thatched garden rooms.
Matthew informs Flight Centre that Pemba Island has largely been sheltered from significant tourism so far. Its famous neighbour, the island of Unguja is usually referred to as Zanzibar, even though the Zanzibar archipelago includes both islands and numerous other smaller islands. Zanzibar City with its historic centre is on the itineraries of many travellers to the region.
“Tourism has only just begun influencing change here and it is our mission to contribute by sharing our culture we call ‘Kwanini’, meaning "Why" in Swahili, the predominant language in East Africa. Through work with the local communities and workshops with the government and all stakeholders in the industry, we have articulated a vision for the future of Pemba and found common belief in this pursuit,” said Matthew.
Pemba Island offers unspoilt coral reefs for experienced divers, while on shore, holiday-makers can enjoy a tranquil island experience. The Beach Lounge at Manta with the swinging chairs is the perfect place to chill out away from the reality of modern life.