Chole Mjini Beach Lodge, Chole Island, Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania

Imagine tree-houses built into baobab trees, with four poster beds inside, surrounded by tropical vegetation and ancient Shirazi and Omani ruins, on a tiny tropical island off the coast of Tanzania.
  • Get a real tangible sense of the old Swahili Coast
  • Hotel transfer for the adventurous and young-at-heart!
  • Scuba diving facility and an experienced PADI diving instructor
  • Six magnificent tree-houses and one luxurious suite on the ground
  • Sailing, diving and exploring the forests and villages of Mafia Island

Then imagine a lodge which has been constructed by a Robinson Crusoe family, in complete harmony with both the environment and local people, generating revenue for village projects such as schooling and healthcare. Chole Mjini is all of these things ... a truly remarkable place and somewhere that is a real privilege to visit.

Chole Mjini Lodge is situated on Mafia Island, more than any of the other Africa hotels, is like a bush camp by the sea. Here you will encounter that same sense of being at one with nature as you might in one of the more remote game parks on the mainland. Your days here are filled with sailing, diving and exploring the forests and villages of Mafia Island, the least developed of the three main islands on the coast of Tanzania. Here at Chole Mjini Lodge you can get a real tangible sense of the old Swahili Coast.

Chole Mjini Lodge is a refreshingly off-the-wall quirky kind of place which will appeal to people who are prepared to put themselves out a little bit to really visit somewhere unique and characterful. Chole is not for everyone, but it is one of a handful of places in Africa which will appeal to the adventurous and young-at-heart.

Chole is a small and idyllic island, set in the clear waters of Chole Bay, at the centre of Mafia's Marine Park. Getting there is not your regular hotel transfer ...

Flight arrival on the grass airstrip at Kilondoni, the one street capital of Mafia, is the first part of your journey From somewhere a beaten old Landrover turns up to bounce you along the half hour long dirt road across the island to the beach opposite the Chole Island. After that, there will be a trip by dhow, which will glide you across to Chole in twenty minutes ...

You should be ready with shorts and waterproof shoes at this stage as you may well have to wade in quite deep to get on the boat. Beyond the landing beach at Chole, in amongst the lush palms, baobabs and mangroves you may catch a glimpse of a thatched roof or two. This may be the upper viewing platform on tree-house number four or seven and a teasing foretaste of what is to come ...

The landing itself is guarded by a small market building and beyond that is the start of a ruined piazza reminiscent of an ancient city recovered from the jungle in South America. As you walk through this piazza and onto a narrower sandy path, the forest is filled with mysterious overgrown ruins, whose gentle archways betray their Islamic origin, dating back to the time when the city of Chole was a powerful trading centre between the Sultanates of Kilwa and Zanzibar. Much of the area of Chole Island consists of rural shambas and the wonderful villagers retain a gentle and dignified air inherited from their distinguished past.

Eventually the winding path leads you to an elegant entrance in the ruins, unmarked in any other way than the trail of sandy footprints that lead up to the threshold. Pass through the doorway and enter a clearing amongst the ruins fantastically draped by the roots of giant fig trees.

A few steps further and here starts the secret glade of magnificent baobab trees. Hidden amongst the ruins and sheltered from the sea by a stand of sturdy mangroves, this place is a paradise of dappled sunlight and birdsong. Welcome to Chole Mjini.

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Islands of Africa : Indian Ocean Islands, Hotels & Resort Holidays
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