Swedish firm Genberg Underwater Hotels has launched Africa’s first underwater hotel room at the Manta Resort on Pemba Island in Tanzania’s Zanzibar Archipelago.

The innovative three-storey luxury hotel was designed by Swedish artist Mikael Genberg, who also built the first underwater hotel room – The Utter Inn – in the middle of a Swedish lake.

Although there are underwater rooms in places such as the Maldives, Dubai, Fiji and Stockholm, this is the first one in Africa and it was opened this month.

The Manta Resort underwater hotel is anchored to the sea floor with two cables, just 4 metres beneath the surface (over 13 feet deep in the Indian Ocean) allowing travelers to sleep while surrounded by sea creatures.

The three-tiered suite includes a roof deck which allows guests to sunbath or stargaze in an area with almost non-existent light pollution also has a landing deck at sea level, a lounge and bathroom as well as an underwater bedroom surrounded by windows that afford a nearly 360-degree view of a nearby coral reef and dozens of fish species.

At night, underwater spotlights around the bedroom windows attract and illuminate the night time sea life, including octopus and stingrays.

A stay in the underwater hotel room goes for $900 a night for single and $1,500 for a couple.

The launch of the underwater hotel room comes as boost to tourism in Tanzania, already famed for its Safari parks. According to the United National World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) 2012 Barometer publication, the country is the 7th highest tourist destination in Africa.

In 2012, tourist numbers in Tanzania, East Africa’s second largest economy, hit 1.1 million and the country hopes it will increase to about 1.5 million this year.

Recently, the Tanzania’s Tourism Minister, Khamis Kagasheki announced that it aims to increase tourist numbers by 40 percent.

Photo:  Jesper Anhede

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