Chole Mjini Lodge

Reviews of Chole Mjini Lodge

Excellent(95%) From 23 travellers
Excellent
17
Good
6
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 23 of our travellers who have visited Chole Mjini Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mrs G. from London
Arrived on: 25-Oct-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Unusual stay at Chole Mjini

The treehouses at Chole Mjini are pretty magical and kept us dry even in a torrential storm!

We loved the experience of staying in the treehouses and Chole Mjini has clearly been lovingly built and looked after by Jean and Ann. The staff were friendly and the food tasty. We liked that locals from Chole Island appeared to make up the majority of the workforce.

We enjoyed a couple of very good snorkelling trips during our stay but were unsuccessful in our bid to swim with the whale sharks.

If we were to come up with any particular criticisms of Chole Mjini it would just be that the toilets were a little too dark and the showers were powered by kerosene which does not particularly fit with the eco nature of the resort.

Overall however, it was a very relaxing, rustic but beautiful lodge that we would definitely recommend to others.

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Mr K & Ms C - Germany
Arrived on: 7-Oct-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sleep under the stars in a tree!

Repeat guest - that should say it all.

Only complaint, like last time, quality of dinner food average; with all the fresh seafood around, could definitely be improved.

Great everything else - the tree houses are off the charts worth alone a trip to Mafia.

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MRs W from Surrey
Arrived on: 23-Aug-2017 Stayed for: 6 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Excellent tree houses for relaxed stay

Chole Mjini Lodge is a wonderful opportunity to be away from the hustle and bustle of life. The pace of life slows down and the activities are quite flexible with meals are provided to suit. The owners, Ann and Jean are keen to share their experience of living on Chole with guests. There are a number of trips or activities you can take part in.

The tree houses are all different and although accommodation is very simple, all have ingenious facilities including long drop toilets and hot open air showers. They have fantastic views and you wake up to sunrise at tree canopy level with bird song disturbing the stillness.

Taking a boat to a nearby sandbank, (which we had to ourselves, along with birds and crabs) was wonderful if not a little surreal. Spending an hour or so on a white sandy beach with sunshade and drinks provided before a boat comes to collect you was fantastic.
We used our days to scuba dive but had the rest of the day to relax.

Meals were served in different locations on the site. Whether it be in the historic ruins, on the dock if the tides allowed, on under a Tamarind tree with a view, the food was superb. All locally sourced food meant that meals were mainly seafood based but there were always vegetarian options.

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Dr J. from Aylesbury
Arrived on: 28-Aug-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Unique eco Chole Mjini Lodge

What a place!

Enchanting, airy tree-house rooms, kerosene fuelled outdoor shower, odourless, long drop eco loo, and no electricity.

Hands on owners who made us very welcome. Superb location.

The boat trip to the sandbar exposed in mid-ocean at low tide was magical.

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Mr & Mrs D from London
Arrived on: 14-Sep-2015 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

A Rare Return Visit

We don't often revisit places but we fell in love with Chole Mjini five years ago. We enjoyed our return visit just as much.

Everything was as we remembered; the smell of frangipani on arrival; the dhow sailing; tree house living; good island food and relaxing activities. Anne and Jean are welcoming hosts and their passion for Chole is infectious.

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Mr and Mrs D Surrey
Arrived on: 5-Jul-2015 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Good
Good

Amazing and unmissable place to stay

We stayed at Chole Mjini for 7 nights & wished we'd been bolder to stay for our full 12 nights spent within Mafia and Chole. The lack of electric was a bonus, with amazing night skies, and romantically lit dinners. The gardens are beautiful encouraging a colourful array of birds and butterflies; we saw birds of paradise, humming birds, weaver birds, kingfishers and monitor lizards just strolling through.

The tree houses - where to start? The baobab tree by treehouse 2 must be 2000 years old, and everything is built with thought and care. Tree house one, has the most stunning view from the bed. Morning tea or coffee is delivered by a pulley system, and the hammocks are comfortable and nicely situated.

The long drop toilets are the best in East Africa! No smell. A comfortable seat, but the resident gecko made me jump until we got used to each other! The shower is certainly innovative. It sounds like a swarm of bees when the wind blows, and under the circumstances is more than adequate. A pumped hot shower it isn't, but it certainly serves its purpose within the restraints of the situation. A shower within a secluded outdoor area, which is warm enough given the climate and works ingeniously to overcome the lack of utilities.

The only thing that I would mention as a negative was the lack of comfortable seating in the tree house. The bench on the balcony was uncomfortable (I know they're hand made on the island, but,) - perhaps rattan chairs may be an alternative?

My husband had worried about the food, but he was quickly won over. Fish was on the menu everyday, so if you're a carnivore, then you're in trouble, but the food was delicious and plentiful. I doubted fish quiche, but it was delicious, and the fish samosas were to die for! The salads and vegetables were varied and nicely presented, rice and pasta all cooked to perfection. Breads cooked in a charcoal oven, varied from cinnamon rolls, to warm doughnuts on an early morning boat trip.
Condiments including balsamic vinegar, chilli oil, salad dressing etc were always on hand.

There are 3 or 4 brands of beer to choose from, and the wines are thoughtfully sourced and chosen - all delightful.

The staff are helpful and attentive, and the rooms cleaned and tidied with care. Linen and towels regularly changed and the laundry service was exemplary - even with a charcoal iron.

The daily dhow trips were fantastic; snorkelling, a bbq lunch on the sandbar, a trip to see a turtle nest hatching, a romantic sunset sail, a visit to neighbouring Juani to see the Kua ruins. Refreshments always provided and knowledgable guides. Other entertainment included badminton amongst the ruins, or Viking chess on the beach and paddle boarding around the island.

Most of our meals were communal with Anne and Jean and their family and other guests, eaten under the stars in varying locations, but that was our choice for the varied and interesting conversation. More private seating arrangements are easily arranged if required.

All in all, I would heartily recommend you stay here. It will be a decision you won't regret if you are the sort of person that doesn't need a hairdryer. Anne and Jean are wonderful hosts who have dedicated their lives to this island and its' indigenous people - building a school, a library and caring about the whole community. They are true philanthropists and have created a truly balanced ecological paradise.

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Mr S from Maidstone
Arrived on: 26-Jul-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Chole Mjini July 14

Wake up every morning to watch the sun rise through the branches of the Baobab tree in which your room is built - can't be beaten!

The location of this place makes it something special - from the rooms in trees to dining in ruins or on a jetty overlooking the sea.

The food was very good and the staff always helpful. There are plenty of trips that you can do (don't miss the snorkelling over the coral reef) but its a great place to just relax and 'chill' if you want to.

Toilets: I would say don't be put off by the fact they are downstairs from your room and don't flush. You soon get used to it and they are perfectly acceptable.

A useful tip: no-one tells you to keep the receipt for the Marine Park readily available - don't throw it away as you need it when you leave the park because they check it - a Dutch couple we were leaving with couldn't find all of theirs and got charged the entry fee again - and they were only allowed to pay in US Dollars, Tanzanian currency was refused!

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Mr S - Accra
Arrived on: 6-Jul-2014 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Nice location

Very tidy and great experience to stay 3 nights in a baobao tree. Super friendly staff and also very helpful to do the trip easy with a child (e.g - serving food earlier seperately in evenings etc)

Excellent food and good variations of activities

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riguss from Belgium
Arrived on: 27-Dec-2013 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Poor
Poor

Chole Mjini Lodge review

We spent 1 week at Chole. The place is amazing and potentially as close to paradise as possible. The reef is beautiful and in some places really unspoilt. The very idea of the tree houses as put in place together with the special relationship between the lodge and the village left us admired and happy to be there.

We also appreciated being disconnected from the world without electricity, running water, flashing toilets etc.

However, this is an expensive place, not only to stay in but also to reach (the costs of the marine park are high) and to fully exploit as most of the activities get easily to serious prices for one family (one trip to see the whale sharks is 100$ pp). Guests are therefore entitled to expect a service which matches these costs.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Some examples:

1) we were exposed to potential life risk at sea 2 and half hours from the lodge (faulting boat engine, very low level of remaining fuel, uncaring captain) The same captain was again unable to operate another engine and to bring us on a sand bank off the lodge on the last day of our stay.
2) the toilet was given to us the first night full of tropical cockroaches 3/4 cm in size. I killed more than ten myself and had to ask in order the toilet to be sanitized, but only the day after.
3) while the food was good, the quantities were ridicolous: typically one would get a lot of rice and very little fish (30g). In 2 occasions we were refused additional serving "because the remaining portions were for the other guests".
4) common facilities are non existent: apart some sitting space in the breakfast area, no organised sunbathing anywere, not a deck chair, not a bench near the sea. The terrace in our treehouse had no shade.

We understand that the management has changed several times in the last 3 years and Jean and Anne are now reassuming direct responsibility. It is about time and having met and talked to them we have appreciated their strength and vision. Our advice would be, however, that you check thoroughly the conditions of the lodge under the new management before sending new clients.



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Expert Africa comments

We spoke to Chole Mjini about these travellers comments, which were of a concern to us - especially those on safety. Chole Mjini responded with a thorough answer and sincere apologies.

It transpires that the period in which these travellers visited Chole, was a transition period between managers. The managers there at the time were preparing to return to Canada and the owners Jean and Anne de Villiers were returning. In their final months, the managers at the time lost their attention to detail and Jean and Anne do agree that service elements, the food, communal areas and rooms lacked a degree of care. Jean and Anne who built the lodge from scratch themselves, are now back at the lodge and assure us that they have already addressed many of the issues raised by these travellers.

They tell us that they have caught up on all deferred maintenance, replaced all the tired old linen, towels, pillows and soft furnishings, bought new cutlery and glasses, installed more photovoltaics and a WiFi router in the lounge. They have added new boats, new furnishings, brought back loungers to the jetty and bought new outboard engines which are much quieter, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. They have spent the month of January working with and retraining staff members and re-introducing old favourite dishes back into the "dumbed down" meal plans.

In regards to the safety concerns these travellers had - Jean and Anne assure us that all of their boats are fully equipped to sail and carry first aid kits, life jackets,
communications equipment, food and drink. Therefore running out of fuel or a malfunctioning engine is not a life-threatening problem, ever, which could possibly explain why the boat captain appeared somewhat unconcerned.

Expert Africa intend to visit Chole later this year, and so we can review the changes made by Jean and Anne first hand in. Hopefully these kind of comments are a thing of the past.

Mr and Mrs P from Volcano, USA
Arrived on: 17-Jul-2013 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Great lodge and overall experience

The camp is described as "quirky" and that's a good description. The treehouses are wild and different, and each house has it's own personality. The new manager, Danny, is doing a good job and they take advantage of their great location by moving dinner sites around the camp. There are many daily activities available and our 4 days there were filled with fun and excitement.

A great place to end up a Tanzanian safari adventure, with snorkeling, dhow excursions, village walks and other hikes available.

Dinners were excellent, but everything is seafood based.

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