Kinasi Lodge

Kinasi Lodge: Our full report

14 rooms – one is a possible triple
Traveller's rating
Good (80%) From 10 reviews
Closed in April and May

Kinasi opened its doors in 1996 on a quiet beach that has remained so, on Mafia Island overlooking Chole Bay, within the Mafia Island Marine Park. The lodge is named after the ‘Kinasi pass’, which is the main channel leading out of Chole Bay into the Indian Ocean.

On arrival at Kinasi, you are usually greeted with a refreshing drink in the reception area, which is furnished with comfortable chairs – and home to the internet and a satellite television. It's a great spot to keep older children entertained in the evenings.

Through Kinasi's reception meandering, peach, coloured concrete and stone paths lead through immaculately maintained gardens, to the main bar and dining area, shop and lounge. The swimming pool is down a flight of steps, and the beach is beyond that.

The main bar area is in a spacious, open-sided thatched building – with plenty of sofas and chairs – which joins onto the dining area. Both share the same elements of Swahili/Arab design, including a bright colour scheme and lots of handmade dark-wood furniture. That said, the terracotta tiles on the floors are slightly reminiscent of a villa in Italy.

The 14 rooms at Kinasi are mostly very similar in build and style: all are brightly painted detatched cottages, with stone floors and high thatch roofs. There are variations in layout and design, however this has little impact on the feel of the rooms. It simply means that some are better than others for converting into triples; ask us for details. In all of them, expect both Africa and Moroccan influences – with bright colours, Swahili furniture and high thatched roofs.

One key difference between the cottages at Kinasi is that not all have a view of the sea: the 'Garden view suites' are set slightly back, and look out onto the short, green lawns and gardens – whilst the 'Sea-front rooms' have a direct view of the sea, and are usually slightly nearer to the water. There is a small differential in the cost between these rooms.

Although Kinasi is fairly small and personal, with only 14 rooms, it has the facilities that you might expect of a larger place. There is a large swimming pool with plenty of loungers dotted around the side; a well-equipped water-sports centre, with windsurfs and kayaks; a full PADI accredited dive-centre; and a spectacular spa, with a professional Thai therapists.

You can borrow kayaks and windsurfers free of charge from the water-sports centre, down on the beach, and there is a rate-sheet for any other activities. Kinasi has its own PADI dive centre, or if you fancy a 10-minute walk down the beach there is also another water-sports centre nearby.

Arguably one of Kinasi's most spectacular features is the spa. This is beautiful and tranquil place is run by a professional therapists from Thailand. It includes a number of different treatment rooms, as well as a vast Turkish bath – all of which has been carefully tiled and decorated. There is quite an array of treatments on offer here, making it easy to while away the hours indulging yourself.

That said, it would be a shame not to spend at least some time heading out to explore something of Mafia Island - as it can be charming and is very un-spoilt. You can go out on a village walk, or perhaps borrow a mountain bike to head out to meet the people in the neighboring villages.

Before you leave, don't forget that Kinasi has a large and well-stocked curio shop – with a variety of carvings, jewelry and clothing!

Our view

Kinasi feels like a combination of a small lodge with a resort. It only has 14 rooms and strives to maintain a personal feel, yet it has a very large pool, a serious spa and gardens. Having such close access to Chole Bay is another huge plus and it’s the most cost effective option in this area.


Location: Mafia Island, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: We'd recommend three nights or more

Directions: 14 kms from the airport – this is about a 15-minute drive

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Independent / Owner Run by Peter Byrne

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we were last there (Jun 16) the food at Kinasi was tasty and fresh – incorporating lots of spices and flavour to a variety of dishes. Expect plenty of seafood and fresh fish, as well as meat and vegetarian dishes – and plenty of it. Vegetarians and children can be catered for with prior notice.

Breakfast is a relaxed affair – and timings are flexible. Though generally breakfast is served between 7.30 and 10am. There is usually a buffet with fresh bread, cereals and fruit – as well as a cooked breakfast on request.

Lunch is then served between midday and 2.30pm – often down by the swimming pool, although if it is windy it will probably be in the main restaurant. You will usually find a number of international style dishes on offer to chose from, ranging from lighter salads to a heavier main dish.

Dinner is usually at 7.30 in the evening – though timings for this are flexible. It's a slightly more formal affair than lunch, and usually in the main restaurant, consisting of three courses, followed by coffee or tea. The last time that we stayed we enjoyed an avocado and prawn salad, followed by fish pie with a coconut and spinach stir-fry, and then tiramisu to finish.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: No - $18 for a bottle of wine $2.5 for a beer Kinasi has a fully stocked wine cellar

Further dining info: No

Special interests

Diving & snorkelling: Within the Mafia Island Marine Park – Kinasi offers great diving and snorkelling. Snorkelling trips inside Chole Bay usually cost $25, and take you out to a quiet and sheltered reef with an abundance of coral and fish. Diving can either be inside or outside of the bay, and is some of the best in East Africa.

See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Tanzania

Wellbeing: For a small beach lodge, Kinasi has an impressive spa, run by two professional therapists from Thailand. In here are several different treatment rooms and a vast, tiled Turkish. Many treatments on offer!

See more ideas for Wellbeing in Tanzania


Attitude towards children: Kinasi welcome children of all ages

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Kinasi

Special activities & services: Kinsai can organize babysitting on request – though they will need a bit of notice to provide this. Note that baby-sitters are likely to be willing staff, and not child-minders trained to European or American standards.

Equipment: Cots in rooms

Notes: family rooms are available here.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There are British style 3-pin sockets in all of the rooms.

Communications: Kinasi has intermittent mobile phone reception around the lodge and there is also Wi-Fi in the office.

TV & radio: There is DSTV available in the main reception

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Bottled water is supplied.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The water sports team are trained in first aid – for more serious cases Kinasi would call upon the flying-doctor.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: Guards night and day around Kinasi

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry is an extra Charge – usually between $1 – 4 per item

Money: Kinasi cannot offer any currency exchange facilities.

Accepted payment on location: You can settle your account with Kinasi using cash in most major currencies. Visa or Mastercard command a 5% surcharge. They don't accept Amex or Diner's card.

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