“Magical. A complete escape from every burden of the Western world, set on an idyllic, peaceful island.”
Part of the virtually unknown Mafia archipelago that lies south of Zanzibar, Chole is a tiny tropical island located in the largest marine park in East Africa, a few clicks off the Tanzanian coast.
Set sail for its mangrove-lined shores, and as the first treehouses hove into view, the last vestiges of the 21st century recede: no roads, no cars, no electricity, no computers, no mobile phones. Just a star-spangled sky, flickering candles, superb food, great company, and the timeless luxuries of space, privacy, and utter peace.
Chole Mjini was never meant to be a hotel, and it isn’t. It is a castaway fantasy, a jungle island retreat appealing to a specific kind of person; one who appreciates a return to simple luxuries that reawaken the senses, rather than the predictable comforts of room service and air conditioning. As such it produces a wide variety of responses – visit tripadvisor to find out more.
Anne and Jean (right, with their children, both of whom were raised on Chole) simply wanted to create the kind of place they would have been happy to discover.
With only seven treehouses, carefully placed and designed, privacy is assured. Open to the elements, with the king-size bed the throne-like centerpiece, each thatched platform is reached via sandy paths that lead through the natural vegetation. All have views of the sea; some are close enough to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the tide trickling back through the mangrove roots. Most treehouses have a second level to accommodate children.
Food – Having watched the sun set and moon rise from the rooftop bar, guests gather around a candle-lit table under the stars, either within the 19th-century ruins, the crumbling walls clasped by fig tree roots like giant fingers in the flickering candlelight, or next to the murmuring ocean.
A strong Swahili influence provides delicate yet intense, flavourful spicing, and the judicious use of coconut milk. Fish is freshly caught and delivered daily; vegetables are grown on the island. Anne has yet to find the time to create the recipe book her guests keep begging her to produce, but here are two.
While you are encouraged to experience as much of the Marine Park and its islands, Jean and Anne believe the most important aim of Chole Mjini is to offer the kind of 100% relaxation that only a total break from mobile phones and computers can offer, and there is a well-stocked book-exchange library – augmented and plundered by guests over the years – to prove it.
THE BEST BAR IN THE WORLD? The Red Herring is on the water’s edge, with 270-degree sea views, and 100% awesome sunset views. Where else can you sip an ice cold drink while watching the African sun set on the water and the moon rise, bats, fish and dolphins arching lazily by – sometimes all at once! – while ordering up a massage.
If you prefer star gazing, try the Hanashi bar deck but beware: if there is no moon you may want to reach for your shades, the stars are so bright.
With tide-dependent excursions planned every day, Chole Mjini offers more than just diving to enchant guests of all ages and inclinations.
SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS
SANDBAR SUNBATHING & PICNICS
Getting here – It’s a short Cessna Caravan hop from the capital, Dar Es Salaam, followed by a drive across the charming island of Mafia, bumping over dirt roads to your boat, tethered on a sandy beach, the tufted island of Chole clearly visible across the azure waters.
There are regular flights to Mafia from virtually everywhere in Tanzania; flight time from Dar Es Salaam is around 30 minutes (45 from Zanzibar or Selous). The transfer by road and boat to the island will take approximately 30 minutes.
Development and support for the people of Chole island was – and remains – our motivation and the primary purpose of the Chole Mjini Lodge. A bed-night levy provides direct income to the village projects as does individual and institutional donor support. Thanks to all the friends of Chole who are working with us to make a difference, and build a better future for the children of the island.
Note that Marine park fees are now $20 plus 18% VAT = $23,60 per day ; you will need to prepay this amount in cash on entering the Park, so have the dollars ready! Prices can fluctuate, so please check when booking.
Chole Mjini Offers 33% Off for Crewconnected Members
Make your booking request here – firstname.lastname@example.org Quote “CREWCONNECTED Airline Staff Rates” to ensure Crewconnected Interline Rates
** Rates :
$140 per person per night (excluding marine Park fees of $23,60pp/night, which should be paid on arrival at the park gate) – regular rate is $210pp/night – this is a 33% Off Travel Industry Discount