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Chole Mjini Lodge, Mafia Island

This lodge is not for everyone.  It’s utterly bizarre in its own little way but if you are the right person it really does work for you.  This is an eco-focused tourism project and not a commercial outfit looking to make money.  It is run by Afrika Afrika, who are the driving force behind many Tanzania based eco and community projects.  They have purpose and direction, but Chole Mjini is certainly for the basic, rustic and very ‘out there’ type of traveller.  If you don’t mind long drop loos then this place might interest you.

Chole Mjini - The Facts 

Chole is a small island off the island of Mafia.  It is a 20 minute flight from Dar es Salaam followed by a 45 minute drive and a short boat trip across to Chole Bay.

The point of this lodge is to be environmentally friendly and give back as much as it can to the community.  The main areas are all made from as many natural materials as possible, aimed at having the smallest possible impact on its surroundings.  Apart from the massive concrete floor, the bar, restaurant and top deck is all made from wood structures.  There are some concrete shaped sofas covered in large cushions.

The rooms here will the deciding factor to whether you like Chole.  There are seven tree houses and one ground house.  They are not the most spacious rooms, made from lovely wood with massive bed that dominates the room.  The bathrooms are extremely basic with long drop loos (don’t have a flush) and this all directed towards being eco.

Chole does have access to some excellent snorkelling and diving in the area and it’s great for whale shark diving too.  It does lack a good beach and there is a long, white sand spit that you can visit for your beach fix.  Not many Tanzania honeymoon make it to the Mjini.


Guide Price: $210 per person
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Chole Mjini is in a fabulous location -  and the whole concept of  the tree houses and the lay out of the place is idyllic.  We did some great excursions such as breakfasting on the sand bar (it was so fabulous) snorkelling, a trip to the blue lagoon (stunningly beautiful) swimming amongst the mangroves during high tide and candlelit dinners on the dock and by the ruins.  However, we felt the place also had some serious limitations which with some good management could be addressed.  In our view there were 3 main issues: 1. There is virtually no lighting in the tree houses other than for a couple of solar torches which were not v effective at all. 2. The toilets are below the tree houses and we had to climb up and down a steep ladder into our tree houses.  This is fine in itself, but at night this became a hazard as there was no lighting what so ever. 3. Management - the owners were present but they had hired a young v inexperienced young couple as managers. 
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Where to stay on Mafia and Pemba Islands

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Tanzania Map Tanzania - Serengeti Tanzania - Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania - Lake Manyara Tanzania - Tarangire Tanzania - Kilimanjaro Tanzania - Selous Game Reserve Tanzania - Ruaha Tanzania - Mahale Mountains Tanzania - Katavi Tanzania - Zanzibar Tanzania - Pemba Island Tanzania - Mafia Island Tanzania - Dar es Salaam Tanzania - Arusha
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