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.
Mr & Mrs K - Wiltshire
Arrived on: 26-Nov-2012 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

Relaxing stay with Whaleshark swim

After daily early starts on safari in hot temperatures, we were ready for a rest! It took a day to relax into Chole, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. It was a treat to enjoy slightly cooler temperatures! The staff were delightful, very friendly and eager to chat but they also respected our privacy. The food was very good, portions were balanced and just right for all the excursions.

We enjoyed the company of all, including 2 teachers who were working with babies and families. 'Batman' was excellent, very talented in numerous areas, and he worked so hard to find whale sharks. I swam with an 8 m whale shark with him and although I am not a strong swimmer, I felt very safe in the water with him. My husband and I both wish him well in the future he deserves to do well! The whale shark experience is one of the most memorable experiences that I have been lucky to have. Also visited an out of season turtle hatching (watch your footware as it involves a walk over sharp rocks)

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Mr & Mrs H - Ontario
Arrived on: 1-Feb-2012 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

Enjoyed being off the grid at Chole Mjini

Very good management from Lyndsey, good food - really liked the different romantic evening meal locations.
Good friendly service.

No real beach might be a minus but were busy enough with diving/excursions.

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The M family from Herts
Arrived on: 22-Aug-2011 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent

Great fun but not for everyone

The whole family loved it. Very different experience sleeping in simple open tree houses in the mangroves. Drop toilets on the ground are a little way away from the rooms. Open air showers worked well despite the need to light a cup of parafin to get them going (good fun). Fantastic trips out to sandbars and extremely atmospheric dining by candlelight amongst the old ruins now covered in strangler figs.

Lyndsey now manages Chole and does a terrific job. Very friendly, organised and helpful.

Highlight is a guided trip round the village which the lodge helps support.

Overall highly recommended for something completely different if you are ok with no running water or electricity in your room.

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Mrs S & Family - Ipswich
Arrived on: 22-Dec-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Chole Mjini Lodge review

A wonderful and unique location. Expert Africa rightly made us aware at the outset that activities were limited but def. worth the visit.

Loved the treehouses and showering facilities were ingenious. Slightly aware of a take it or leave it attitude from the management but they were pulling out mid January so perhaps that explained their attitude. Didn't like the way our children were pushed continually towards interacting with the management's children or the lunch and supper communal dining despite our requests for a separate table. One meal being formal with mangement was fine, but every meal .......

Wonderful to explore villiage, sail dhows, snorkel etc - snorkel hire and beer prices a complete rip off compared to Mafia and lodges. A continual and very hard sell on whale sharking which at $50 per head for half a day was expensive (probability of viewing them was 50%)

Food really delicious.

Overall a huge success but to make it all round excellent there needs to be a different attitude from management.

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Expert Africa comments

The change in management that these travellers mention in their feedback has now taken place, and Chole tell us that things are settling in and running very well. They explained that the new manager Lyndsey, usually joins guests for their first night to make them feel at home and answer any questions they may have, but then leaves it to the guest’s preferences thereafter.

Chole have also reduced the cost of their snorkel hire, and have ordered some new kit too.

Unfortunately the Whale Shark Expedition costs are fairly high. Chole explained that this is because it includes transfers to Mafia main island to join the trip, and a $15 per person district levy which goes towards whale shark conservation. However, Chole is looking at including a Chole guide to escort people on these excursions, to try and make it better value for money. Hopefully this will be implemented later on the year – ask us for the latest on this.

Mr K & Ms C - Germany
Arrived on: 20-Oct-2010 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Chole Mjini Lodge review

an absolutely delightful place! one of the best ocean setting locations I have ever been to (if one likes a rural romantic setting);
sligth drawbacks: a little more light in the evening (or working hed lamps ) would be helpful;
given the abundance of seefood available in the area, more faciful dishes would be nice. Also some better refrigration to keep beer and wine cold would be good.

Verdict: a few smaller flaws which are immaterial in light of the over all experience.
I would certainly go baclk any time!

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Expert Africa comments

The team at Chole have told us that they were having some refrigeration problems for a sort while. However these have now been resolved and so cold drinks are on offer once more.

Mr & Mrs D from London
Arrived on: 25-Sep-2010 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: an amazing experience

We loved this, from the moment we landed and
walked through the Frangipani trees to our
beautiful tree house. We enjoyed experiencing
Anne's vision for the lodge and the community .
It was the perfect place to relax . Highlights
were the monitor lizards walking through camp,
swimming in the mangrove creek , sailing
an outrigger and dinner in the ruins .
We would love to go back !

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Dr H and family - London
Arrived on: 17-Aug-2010 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 Lodge review

Chole Mjini was certainly the highlight of the trip. Jean, Ann and all their staff make a great team. Jean can come across as a bit gruff but he clearly loves the place and both he and Ann are clearly highly committed to providing a tourist resort that is sustainable, both in its impact on the local community and the environment.

Jean's knowledge and his skills as a dive teacher are outstanding and Ann is charm personified. All of the staff are helpful, charming and exceptionally welcoming from the kitchen to the nightwatchmen, but particularly the boatmen who are skilled and delightful characters.

Chole Mjini's setting is magical, the tree houses seem to float above the baobab trees and the ancient ruins, mangroves and ruins merge together to create a beautiful place and atmosphere. This is particularly so at night when the absence of electric lighting makes walking through the site enchanting.

The food is quite exceptional, delicious, subtle flavours, fresh local produce and a great balance - the breakfasts were scrummy, with fresh baked bread, the lunch light but just right and the suppers mouthwatering. We prepared for each meal with excitement, knowing that we would be met with a new culinary masterpiece.

We tried a range of day time activities: snorkelling, sandbanking, walking through Chole itself, observing the turtles hatching and the divers in our party took two dives. They both said it was the best diving they have seen with an amazing array of fish and coral and exceptional support from Jean and Ann. The same was true of the snorkelling. Observing the turtles was extraordinary and raised a whole series of questions for us which Jean and Ann answered patiently and knowledgeably.

Finally the island itself was fascinating, from the fruit bats to the ruins. It was clear that the island was more prosperous than surrounding islands, our impression was that the Chole Mjini Trust was having a very positive impact on the whole island community.

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Mr & Mrs S - Barnstable
Arrived on: 1-Feb-2010 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Poor
Poor
Food:
Average
Average
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Disappointing

Very money-grabbing resort. Many of the activities which were advertised as "inclusive", were added to the bill. Several were charged at more than the advertised price. We were pre-warned by the owners not to query the bill, as in the past they had resorted to calling the police to have their demands settled........ Other travellers there who had arranged their trips through a different Company, were given substantial discounts, but we were offered nothing, even after some broad hints.....

We were not welcomed on arrivel other than by a porter. Our welcome drink was charged for...! (A first in many years of international travel)

The loos were un-necessarily uncomfortable, and extremely awkward to use. (I need to point out, I am in NO way a "Hotel" fan, and have spent years using all kinds of toilets all over the world, from Siberia to Central America,, including seagrass composting bucket loos, but have never had such uncomortable loo..... for no good or apparent reason.

The idea of a basic resort is wonderful, but these owners seemed to place emphasis on making money rather than offering service and ensuring a great holiday. I would not even consider returning, and would advise caution to potential guests.

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Expert Africa comments

We were very sorry to hear this sort of feedback on a lodge that usually receives much praise. It concerns us greatly, and so we apologised to our travellers, and passed their comments onto the Chole’s owner, Jean.

We now understand that with the increasing cost of fuel, trips that used to be ‘complementary’ at the lodge are now charged for. At the time of booking of this trip the snorkelling trip was included, but by the time of travel it wasn’t any longer. We’ve refunded these travellers for the trips that we’d led them to believe were included.

Jean explained that he had varying prices for activities in different parts of the lodge, due to some outdated booklets – which lead to some confusion. We’ve requested that he correct his literature urgently.

In regards to different travellers paying different rates, we have always had some of the best prices available for Chole. Looking into this further, we now learn that Chole did offer last-minute discounts for residents of Tanzania to fill empty bed space. This is the first time we’ve come across this with Chole; we’ve discussed it with Jean, and we hope it’s the last.

These travellers felt that Chole was cutting corners, perhaps because of the recession. We’ve been very clear in sharing our views that this with Jean – and so are optimistic that our travellers won’t feel this way again.

Mr & Mrs C - Surrey
Arrived on: 1-Jul-2009 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 Lodge review

Wow. Amazing place exceeded all expectations. Jean & Anne very welcoming and looked after us very well. Tree house was fantastic -bed very comfortable with wonderful views. Esy to adapt -and fun to use washing facilities etc .

Very relaxed - shoes off - such alot to do snorkelling ,sailing,walking,visiting other islands,visiting the village-activities very fairly priced.

Food excellent - different eating venue every night. Amazing wines. Great eating en famille. Great place post safari. Staff were all charming and very welcoming.Would love to return. Great for families and couples .

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Mr & Mrs C from Norfolk
Arrived on: 21-Dec-2008 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Average
Average

Chole Mjini Lodge review

WE both felt privileged to have shared in this amazing place - it helped us to gain some insights into the complexities of developing Africa and the interface of comparatively wealthy visitors with the local culture. The challenges of the health and education projects in addition to an eco tourist lodge provided a multi-faceted experience and there is a special 'extended family' attitude that is different from what most eco lodges offer.

Boundaries were quite different to what we consider familiar - go with the flow and you get opportunities to scratch a bit beneath the superficialities of tourism. Anne and Jean as owners are an important presence as this project has a huge personal investment from each of them. - they and their two children were very welcoming to the guests over Christmas.

The generosity of the owners in sharing the ups and downs of this special community with visitors made this an exceptional experience. I recommend several visits to Chole village (at least one with a guide either from the lodge or available locally) for greater understanding of local culture and the relative absence of basics like clean water!

Much has been written about Chole - for us it was unforgettable and a unique project in an amazing place, but the toilet facilities take some getting used to - huge toilet seats in a dark outhouse over a long drop pit! For those with travellers tummy, these toilets are far from comfortable. Housekeeping service was initially hit and miss for us, but after raising my concerns, the problems were quickly resolved. The showers, however, are brilliant intermediate technology and were faultless in delivering hot or cold water at any time.

The beauty of the whole lodge area and attention to aesthetics was marvellous. Inspirational in so many ways - a real highlight of our time. Views out to the INdian Ocean from our tree house were spectacular. Each 'house' is different with creative and ingenious design and finish. LOcal tie die fabrics are used with great effect.

If you have a sense of adventure and want to see more than well serviced 4 * tourist lodges, don't miss Chole Mjini.

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