Yoga Warrior Retreat to Pole Pole, Tanzania

This is it, the crème de la crème Yoga Warrior retreat of 2007.  You are invited to join Yoga Warrior at Pole Pole, a gorgeous eco-lodge nestled on the coastline of Mafia Island, one of the idyllic jewels off Tanzania.  You've heard of the spice island Zanzibar I'm sure, 80 miles south is Mafia Island which until now has been left behind from the tourist trade.  Mafia Island is pristine and has been untouched by modern developments and the jaded impact of heavy tourism.  This island has protected its simple island lifestyle and its surrounding waters in the Mafia Island Marine Park.

Yoga Warrior will be hosting an exclusive intimate retreat at Pole Pole, which translated from Swahili means "slowly slowly".  Come and unwind from city life at this island cast away from September 22nd-29th.  Mafia Island was voted by the London Times as one of the top ten secret beaches in the world.

Luxury Beach Hammocks at Pole Pole copyright

Pole Pole Lodge itself has been named one of the top 25 eco-lodges in the world by the US's Travel & Leisure Magazine.  Just the journey to Pole Pole allows the mind to unwind as this beautiful slice of the Swahili coastline passes in front of you.  The landing strip on Mafia Island is a field, the main road on the island is a sandy track and Pole Pole is one of only 3 lodges on this island which is larger than Zanzibar.  Your holiday at this island will include days trips to surrounding islands in the archipelago on romantic dhows, a variety of sunrise and sunset yoga classes, a full body massage and all Swahili meals with an Italian twist.  For qualified divers Pole is Pole is located at the waters edge of the exquisite Mafia Island Marine Park.  Here there are stunning walls with a rich and diverse variety of tropical fish inhabiting the clear and colourful waters of Mafia alongside some of the best coral in the Indian Ocean.

Dhow Sailing in the Mafia Island Marine Park copyright

Pole Pole has been lovingly designed over the last few years by the young Italian couple that own the lodge.  It is a unique luxury offering of an intimate resort and ecotourism, in an exotic and pristine location and is often described by guests as "unpretentious luxury".  Every corner of Pole Pole has been given personal attention starting with its shading and breezy perspective looking over the azure sea towards Chole, Juani and Jibondo islands.  There are just seven luxury wooden bungalows built on stilts with wide verandas looking over the Indian Ocean.

Pole Pole Rooms with Verandas looking to Indian Ocean copyright

Each bungalow covers 60 squared metres with personalised fixtures and finishes.  The floors are made from hard wood, the furniture from mahogany and the door and window frames from doussi.  The beds are comfortable with wooden slats and high quality spring mattresses.  All linen is imported from Italy.  The bathrooms have double washbasins, king size showers and toilets.

Pole Pole truly is an eco-lodge promoting environmentally sustainable tourism.  Wastewater is treated in a phyto-purification system, profits fund local education initiatives and the resort launched the first recycling programme in the Mafia Island Marine Park.

Spacious Pole Pole bathrooms copyright Massage Bandah in front of the Indian Ocean copyright

On your holiday to Pole Pole, everything is optional.  An itinerary has been compiled but it will be flexible to accommodate the tides and other desires...this is YOUR holiday.

Saturday          Arrive Pole Pole late afternoon.
Sunday            Sunset Yoga 
Monday            Sunrise Yoga
                       Day Trip to Chole Island to view historic Arab buildings and bat trails
                       Sunset Yoga
Tuesday           Day Trip to Jibondo Island to visit fishing village including dhow building, 
                       fish drying and net mending activities
                       Sunset Yoga
Wednesday       Sunrise Yoga
                       Snorkelling and Picnic at Marimbani Sand Bar, a strip of dazzling white 
                       sand surrounded by crystal clear water 
                       Sunset Yoga  
Thursday          Sunset Yoga     
Friday              Sunrise Yoga
                       Restorative Yoga
                       Sunset Dhow Cruise     
Saturday          Depart Pole Pole                

Pole Pole is based at the Mafia Island Marine Reserve so for both novice and experienced qualified divers there is the opportunity to take dive trips on the traditional dhows to these outstanding dive sites.  There is an excellent well equipped and professional dive outfit associated with Pole Pole.

Each attendee on the retreat will also receive a full body massage using essential oils which will be woven into your stay at a time convenient to you.  This could be in the massage banda or even in the shade on the beach with the Indian Ocean lapping on the shore to soothe your senses. 

Clara, The Yoga Warrior copyright

Clara Woodburn of Yoga Warrior will be hosting the retreat and leading the sunrise and sunset yoga.  Yoga Warrior hails already from Africa being based in Joburg.  She teaches a dynamic yoga connecting the breath to movement, this union creates a moving meditation.  Clara originally trained in NYC with Cyndi Lee of OM Yoga but has enjoyed the fluidity of Shiva Rea and more recently has been informed and inspired by the principles of Anusara Yoga with Desree Rumbaugh and Jordan Bloom.  She has also studied Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater and loves sharing the treasures of this nurturing form of yoga.

Clara has spent many years exploring the planet above and below land.  It was on her adventures that she discovered Pole Pole off the coast of East Africa.  Clara used to escape on yoga retreats when she worked at an investment bank in NYC.  When she moved to South Africa, creating escapes to natural places of beauty became an obvious offering combining her nomad spirit and passion for yoga.

The sunrise and sunset yoga on this Yoga Warrior retreat will salute the African sun overlooking the Indian Ocean.  This will be an optional opportunity to wake with the sun and wind down with the sun.  Yoga on holiday is the most wonderful chance to tune in with your mind and body, unravel stress and bring simplicity and clarity back to your life.

Diving stunning drop off walls at Mafia Island copyright

The duration of this retreat is from September 22nd until September 29th.  Should you not want to travel on Saturdays, this trip is extendable so you may of course arrive a day or two earlier and leave later than scheduled.

The cost of this Yoga Warrior retreat to Pole Pole is US$1420 per person.  This includes:

  • Accommodation sharing in a luxury Indian Ocean facing bungalow at Pole Pole
  • 3 daily gourmet Swahili meals with an Italian twist, and early morning tea
  • Tea, coffee and safe drinking water
  • Laundry (2 items per person per day)
  • Sunrise & Sunset Yoga
  • Day trips from Pole Pole within Chole Bay (including equipment)
  • One Full Body Massage
  • Transfers to and from Mafia Airport

It does not include:

  • Marine Park Fees: US$10 per adult per day. Payable in cash on arrival at the Park gate
  • Drinks & extras
  • Transportation from your departure point to Mafia Island Airport

To book your place on this retreat requires a 50% deposit.  The balance will be due by August 22nd.

Guess who?  Another simple lazy afternoon at Pole Pole copyright


From South Africa

SAA flies direct daily from OR Tambo International to Dar es Salaam.  The cost of the flight is approximately R6000.

From UK:

BA flies direct from Heathrow to Dar es Salaam however not daily.  With this direct flight option, it will be necessary to overnight in Dar on September 21st & 29th or arrive early at Pole Pole on September 21st.  The cost of the flight is approximately £650 pounds.

Emirates is a cheaper option via Dubai.  Flights are daily and cost is approximately 

From Europe:

Swiss Air and KLM fly direct to Dar es Salaam.  Both would involve overnighting in Dar on September 21st. 

From North America:

Emirates Airline is the most reasonable option out of JFK via Dubai to Dar es Salaam departing September 21st.  The cost is approximately US$1500. 
Or via Europe Swiss Air is the most reasonable flight costing approximately US$1530 though this would involve departing on September 20th and overnighting in Dar on September 21st. 

From Dar es Salaam to Mafia Island Airport:

Coastal Aviation flies daily at 3pm.  The cost is US$200 return.  The flight is a short 30 minute flight.
Returning the flight is at 6.50am.

If there are enough attendees arriving in unison it will be possible to charter an aircraft from Dar to Mafia.  This will reduce the price of this leg of the flight substantially.

Sunrise at Pole Pole copyright