If room service menus and controllable air-con are your favourite holiday luxuries then we'll say it now: Chole Mjini isn't for you.
If, however, you believe that the ultimate luxury in life is nature in all its spectacular glory, then you just might fall head-over-heels in love with this authentic ‘castaway island' paradise.
Blissfully free of electricity and e-distraction (although if you must they are available at the Red Herring Café, the "best little sunset bar in the world"), you'll discover Chole Mjini just off the Tanzanian coast, on an incredibly scenic tropical island that forms part of the Mafia archipelago in the heart of Africa's largest marine park.
The peaceful resort consists of seven hand-built open-air treehouses, lovingly crafted from locally-sourced materials. Each one is perfectly positioned for privacy, and to showcase those truly unforgettable views of mangrove-lined shores and gentle azure-blue waves.
Simple yet glorious comforts await, including a king-sized bed on a thatched platform, and a private garden bathing area that consists of a piping hot open-air shower and a closed composting toilet. Most of the treehouses include a second storey - ideal if you're introducing the kids to their first taste of tropical island paradise.
Each treehouse is individually named, with a character all of its own. Perfect for couples, single-level Moja nestles in the canopy of an ancient baobab, with views out across Chole Bay. Spacious Mbili houses two double beds, while Tatu, known as ‘the house on the rocks', is reached through a gorgeous foliage tunnel.
Nne and Tano are both designed in breezy ‘tea house' style, with stunning 360-degree views of the open ocean. Sita, meanwhile, is actually on the ground and so perfect for very young family members, with her multi-levels, the resort's only flushing toilet, and a sunken mosaic bath. Finally, Saba, with a king and two single beds on two levels is located directly on the beach, with breathtaking sunrise and sunset views.
Not only is Chole Mjini beautifully eco-friendly, but its main purpose is to support the people of Chole island to attain what we all take for granted, education, healthcare and access to clean drinking water. A versatile programme of excursions, from swimming with whale sharks, SCUBA diving, paddleboarding and trips into the friendly village, to snorkelling and sunset sailing, are on offer...so even without your laptop or tablet, we can't imagine you'll ever get bored!
Mouthwatering meals are served from a different setting every evening - so you could be dining in the garden, on the jetty by the ocean, or by candlelight within the island's age-old ruins, as you enjoy flavoursome local cuisine (as you can imagine, freshly-caught seafood is the speciality!)
Enjoy a well-deserved drink as you watch the first dazzling stars make their appearance in the vast night sky, your soul and senses fully restored. It's time to re-acquaint yourself with nature, in all its finest forms.
Things to note
Marine park fees must be paid on arrival at the gate, currently the fee is US$23.6 per adult per night with children half price. Whole site bookings are possible for celebrations on request.
Tried and tested
"What a very special place! We've not only loved the lodge, but the whole island and is very welcoming inhabitants. From paddling at sunrise, to swimming with whale sharks, all days were filled with unique experiences and a lot of fun. It was a privilege to stay is such a magical place; sleeping with the sounds of the mangroves, the outside shower.. each dinner setting was extraordinary, especially the romantic table in the ruins. Everyone has been welcoming, friendly and very helpful! We loved every second!"
Thank you so much to Anne and Jean for an incredible holiday! We were looking for a quick getaway from the city and we were blown away when entering into this little paradise. Chole Mjini has landed on the perfect balance between luxury and natural, eco-friendly accommodations. We will be back, and we will be sharing with everyone in Dar about our favorite place we have ever stayed. It's been perfect!"
"It's easy to overrate lodges and to write down too friendly comments since people are relaxed and on holiday. Nothing could be more inappropriate to describe what we had the privilege to experience at Chole Mjini. Having found this little island in the middle of nowhere, just leaves us stunned and enthusiastic - the nature, the people, the heart melting sunsets, the freedom up in a treehouse- and the hospitality of Anne, Jean, and their crew is beyond anything we have seen so far. Many, many thanks for a fantastic week of diving, whale sharking, diningand relaxing. We are sure to come back soon."
Region: Mafia Island Marine Park, Zanzibar
Cost (from): £62 per night (parent + 1 child))
Bathrooms: 1 per treehouse
Minimum stay: 3 nights
Property ref: 924
FacilitiesThere are a range of 7 treehouses (one on ground level), each with its own facilities and setting, please see the property website for each. Each comes with its own private open-air bathing area. WiFi facilities are available in the communal areas during daylight hours. Electricity is provided for the treehouse fans and rechargeable reading lights are supplied.
Scuba diving, snorkelling, island tours, sunset trips, walking, whale shark swimming, paddle boarding, local villages, turtle hatching, beachcombing, crabbing.
At a glance
- Seven hand-crafted, off-grid houses (6 in the trees) in a sustainable resort located in a marine park on the Mafia island of Chole, off the Tanzanian coast.
- Fly to Jules Nyerere International Airport and from there a 35 minute flight to Mafia Island followed by a 30-minute road-and-boat transfer to the island.
- The privately-spaced treehouses vary in size, and most have two levels that are suitable for couples and families. Each includes a private bathing area with open-air shower and composting toilet (the groundhouse is equipped with a flushing loo).
- Meals are included, and a wide selection of excursions, including sunset sailing, SCUBA and snorkelling, are available.