A truly unique and extraordinary island lodge, Chole Mjini can be found on the small and commerically untouched Chole Island which lies just off the main island of Mafia.
Its historical past reveals that Chole Town was an important trading town in the 19th century and remnants of this can be seen in the interesting ruins that surround the lodge gardens and areas of the old port. Tree roots and vines cover many of the old walls to give a mystical character.
The lodge is the inimatable concept of Jean and Anne De Villiers, who live at and manage Chole Mjini, working in partnership with the local community where tourism is in line with the enviroment and an engine for development and conservation.
The lodge itself comprises of 7 individual treehouses, all with different style and character. Built to a high standard of craftsmanship, each room (except no.7) sit high off the ground around the trunks of large Baobab trees. The rooms have real style with four poster beds and some elegant furnishings but they are rustic with no electricity, air-con or fans. The eco-bathrooms are composting long-drop toilets rather than flushing ones, and a shower that is heated by lighting a small, but very effective, paraffin burner.
The public areas are made up of a two storey building in a grassy clearing at one end of the lodge. A large spacious lounge area on the ground floor with a cool bar upstairs. The lodge also offers different eating venues each night whilst the food and wine are excellent. The staff are charming and welcoming.
Activities play a big part of any stay at Chole. The lodge does not have its own direct beach however everyday the lodge will arrange for it's Dhow boat to take guests out to any one of the stunning sand bars where you can relax, snorkel and marvel you surroundings.
The lodge is also a great place to see and learn about the local village life. You will enjoy getting to know the local people and seeing them at work: in the boatyard, doing carpentry and craftwork, tending their crops, or just passing the time of day. People are incredibly friendly, without expecting anything in return.
Diving here is superb and some of the best in the Indian Ocean. Jean is one of the most experience and knowledgable dive instructors throughout the islands. A major feature of diving at Chole is the chance to see Whale Sharks, as the lodge has located sites where these amazing Rhicodontidae feed.
A stay at Chole Mjini is a lifestyle experience - it is rustic, very close to nature and remote - but if you are adventurous and relaxed then this may be the best place you've ever been. It certainly is one for us.