Reviews of Kinasi Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kinasi Lodge review
We were looking forward to Kinasi greatly and it was such a disappointment. Our flight and taxi were fine but on arrival at the gates of the marine park it seemed we were expected to pay park fees for our stay. We had in fact already paid for this but the management had not been organised enough to have been there to meet us or to have made the appropriate arrangements earlier in the day. We therefore had 15 minutes of great concern as we did not have the US $ available to pay for it! This episode was not a good start to our stay.
The rooms and other buildings were all lovely as was the setting, however the service was rather poor and it should be noted that the location loses the afternoon sun quite early. The staff were polite and charming but it appeared to us that they had not been employed for long or properly trained as they seemed unsure of what they were doing. Service was at their own pace and the same request sometimes did not generate the same result!. Service within the rooms was pretty good although they did not always notice that there was laundry to be done. They also left the lights on in the evening on a number of occasions so the mosquitoes came in!
The restaurant was a huge disappoinment. We understand that on an island, fish would be served quite a lot but having tuna for 4 days both lunch and dinner was stretching anyone's desire for tuna. They kindly arranged for a meat dish for our son who eats very little fish but this wasn't always available or brought with the other main courses, when it was it was very basic beef or chicken. We were excited about breakfast but found the cooked breakast utterly tasteless and although there were pancakes with a wonderful choc sauce the pancakes were cold. Such a pity as they are quick to make and could have been made alongside the freshly made omellettes. It seems that menus started repeating themselves after six days.
We were also under the impression from brochures etc. that there was a pool side grill and pizza oven - which was what made us feel that our sons would be happy dining there with this as a back up. It was not used once in the 6 days we were there and looked as if it hadn't been used in the last six months, we had no explanation as to why not.
Having said this the setting was lovely, the fruit was fantastic and there was Marmite and peanut butter for breakfast which kept our sons going.
The Spa was run wonderfully by Tom and Nam and they gave the most fabulous massages which they tailored to your particular needs.
The dive centre was also run very efficiently and both my husband and son enjoyed their dives. Lars and his team were very friendly and supportive - we were very impressed with the time and care Lars took with a nervous lady on her first dive. Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably windy which made snorkelling difficult and cold in such large waves but what we saw was wonderful - a large range of coral and masses of beautiful fishes.
Not quite what we hoped
Food was disappointing. I expected a much higher calibre.
The staff were lovely and tried hard but communication was a bit hit or miss and I didn't feel the management was totally in control. We were unlucky with the weather and my favourite shirt and some other items were attacked by a bird or little animal in the room which did put a bit of a downer on things and it didn't start well with a wrangle at the gates over whether we had paid the entrance fees.
To be fair, the room was good as are the communal areas and a big plus was the spa where I had some of the best massages ever.
Kinasi Lodge review
pretty much what we expected from a small hotel. Lovely pool and good rooms.
Service good and discreet, restaurant staff somewhat slow and dozy and did run out of food for guests on a couple of meals (did cook more but a long wait). Food ok but more instiutionalised, bar prices good.
Didn't try any activities from here but seemed plenty on offer.
An unspoilt corner of East Africa
This island remains almost untouched by tourism, giving a real glimpse of traditional East African life. There are no signs of any western brands and the main town is one street of little shops, selling everything from mangos to denim jeans. The roads are still untarred and the people continue to go about their business in the way they probably always have done.
The lodge, which nestles on a beautifully landscaped bank, instantly gives you a sense of peaceful seclusion. The southern African couple who run the lodge were extremely welcoming and friendly.
A real delight was a special seafood supper under the stars beside the sea - just for the two of us. The centrepiece of the meal was a large crayfish, bigger than most lobsters we see!
The coral reefs are spectacular with a diverse range of tropical sea life. We went to a different part of the reef everyday, motoring out and sailing leisurely back in the dhow.
This is a very special place, almost unique in the experience it offers visitors. One can only hope that it doesn't sucumb to the lure of mass tourism, which has occured in other parts of the East African coast.
Kinasi Lodge review
Ok good things about the Lodge, the Dive instructor (Audi ), lovely and great fun, very good with Ben who was learning to dive. The staff here were lovely, friendly and helpful very warm and open ( this was our experience generally of the Tanzanians. The down sides at Kinasi : your brochure does not make it very clear that you cannot really swim from the beach here(a boat trip is required). During our stay the island generator was broken ( not the lodges fault), but the lodges own generator was switched off at 10.30pm -11pm every night plunging us into complete darkness. There are no torches provided in the rooms and we felt uncomfortable about the security at night in the pitch black. When I spoke to the manager he said that the price of diesel to run theiir own generator, had shot up and that he needed to ration generator use. On request, one torch was provided, which the kids were very grateful for, but I felt that the high price of diesel was the Lodges issue, and that turning the lights off on the guests to save money was a little cheapskate. we were told while we were there that someone had been caught climbing over the wall and to watch our belongings, so it was even more disconcerting to be left in the dark at night. The rooms are designed in a way that make them very dark, even in broad day light. The swimming pool was freezing- ! more cost cutting?.Read more about the whole beach holiday
As described in the brochure this was a lovely place to chill after a safari. We found the staff pleasant but unobtrusive and the gentle range of activities plenty for our needs. The dive master Audie was very good. He was fun and generous and knew his stuff. For reserved Brits he may come over a bit larger than life but our teenagers thought he was great.
Having the only pool on the island made it possible for them to do their dive training and Audie then made time to take them out for a second dive despite there being other, experienced divers staying who might have been more interesting.
The pool was also a bonus because the beach is extremely tidal. During our visit the monsoon winds meant it wasn't practical to go for sand bar picnics and you can't actually get to the sea at low tide. If you stayed for only a few days you could find that you missed out on any day when the beach / sea combination worked well. As we were told when we arrived, more of an activities resort than one for full on sun worship. However there was no pressure to participate if you didn't want to.
The accommodation was lovely, the family bungalow being one of the ones that looks over the sea. The food was good, generally soup and salads at lunch and predominantly fish in the evening. They offered to adjust the menu for the boys if necessary but frankly by the time they had finished breakfast they didn't need any thing else!
Mafai has the advantage that being on a lagoon it is possible to dive even when it is windy, whereas in July diving off Zanzibar can be a bit hit and miss.
A lovely way to finished an excellently organised fortnight in Tanzania.
Kinasi Lodge review
This lodge is in a lovely setting and is efficiently run. The food was delicious and the activities excellent. The children loved the pool and we all used the dive centre which is very well run.
The rooms were great and the service very attentive. Cocktails were fantastic - try the Kinasi Puntang!
We went on a nature/bird walk one morning which was very informative and well worth doing. There is a spa providing good massages.
Kinasi Lodge review
The communal areas and rooms were really nicely decorated and presented. The facilities were good, a nice swimming pool, internet facilities and a little shop. The beach was clean and well-kept but suffered from the sea going out a long way during the middle of the day.
The Thai spa centre was excellent and we enjoyed very good massages, although the ladies' English was not good and we had to be clear what strength of massage we wanted!.
The local staff and Caesare and Anna were friendly and the meals were all excellent. One small point was that, because we were only one of 6 people there, we felt some pressure/guilt in the evenings to sign up to an activity for the next day, whereas we didn't usually want to do this. Generally we were treated really well and appreciated the effort Cesare and Anna went to to make our honeymoon special.
Our biggest concern centred around the water sports facility. The two South African's that were running this were rude, ignorant, difficult to get along with and uncommunicative. This was to guests but also, and in particular, to their staff. If you didn't dive one of them in particular didn't want to know. We took our business to the watersports centre at Mafia Island Lodge who were a lot more willing to help and be friendly.
Also in connection with watersports we noted that although windsurfers were available we had to tell them that they weren't all set up and there was nobody watching you windsurf so you could have got into trouble with nobody to help. Our decision, and the few number of guests, made us feel like there was an atmosphere and discomfort (with only the dive centre staff)
Expert Africa comments
We were glad to see that these travellers rated their overall stay at Kinasi as good – and that in general they found the team at Kinasi ‘friendly.’
It is a shame to hear that they did not find the service of the water sports team at all welcoming. We passed these comments on to Kinasi’s owner. He felt that it was indication of a ‘personality clash.’
Audie and Jacques are certainly strong characters; some find them abrasive or offensive. These travellers’ aren’t the first to comment on their approach; we doubt they will be the last.
Audie has been at Kinasi Lodge for many years now, and Kinasi’s owner is aware that he sometimes clashes with guests. This is not ideal, but it is how it is – and it is unlikely to change. We do have full confidence that he and his team are highly experienced and professional when it comes to diving.
If travellers are unhappy with the dive centre’s service at Kinasi, then we recommend that they do what these travellers did: use a nearby centre as an alternative for their diving and fishing.
That said, Kinasi have most certainly noted these comments. We have already heard that Kinasi has acquired a recent (female) recruit to the water sports team, and hope that she will settle in and become permanent, and that this will result in a softer approach from at least some of the activities’ team.
Kinasi Lodge review
Anything after Chole is a hard act to follow. Kinasi lodge is neat, clean and has all the facilities. Yet, it came across as lacking atmosphere (which may have been partly down to the fact there were only four guests). The ever-present yellow-painted concrete pathways and steps felt perhaps a little harsh in the otherwise fine surroundings with tropical garden plants and a pretty little private beach. An over-designed place with too strong "holiday" ambitions.
Managment couple was very helpful and professionally friendly, but (after Anne and Jean) felt a tad impersonal. The staff was generally fine, apart from the two diving instructors (2 white males) who, in a Hollywood film, would be great as the "twin bored thugs" act, but at a holiday resort just made us back off from the idea we had of giving scuba diving a first.
The guy that will stay in our memory is the local Mafian guide, Kirubi I think his name was, who took us around the village "next door", knowing everyone, and shaking hands with everyone (including the kids), being loved by everyone, and giving us an amazing insight into the village life, and Mafia life on the whole. He had the charm and warm friendliness the place so desperately needed!
Faciclities were nice, apart from a shower in our room which was reduced to a trickle. We reported it to managment who instantly had a look at it, but couldn't fix it.
Food was generally competent – plus for alternatives for me!
Expert Africa comments
We’ve noted these comments, and do certainly agree that Chole Mjini is a “hard act to follow”. Chole is a very small lodge, personally run by it’s owners – and we can completely understand how these travellers might not have liked the abrupt change to this more ‘classic’ beach lodge.
We’re sorry that the look of the diving instructors put these travellers off trying out a first scuba dive. Despite their appearances, diving instructors like Odi are very serious and professional about their diving – see the positive review below.
Friendly and relaxing stay at Kinasi
First accommodation on Mafia, designed with a Moroccan style, gorgeous rugs throughout the lodges and the dining/lounge area. The lodges were comfortable and nicely furnished - loved the design of the shower-cum-bath tub.
The service and staff were really friendly and very helpful. The food was varied and always ample and tasty. The facilities were also good, having kayak's for free use, board games and many good books in the 'library'.
The pool was clean and inviting during the heat of the day. The nature trail was well worth experiencing, having the resident local expert share with us his vast knowledge of the plant and wildlife around the shore. Other than the wide variety of birds living off the shore, we also encountered a troop of Sykes monkey eating fruit off a mango tree.
The spa was very professional, as was the diving, being run by 2 South Africans, Odi and Jacques. Arrangements were made for the following day whilst winding down in the bar. The qulaity of the dives were very good, all within the large lagoon as the outside waters were described as being too rough during August. This did make for some very relaxing diving with little current and good visibility. The coral was in excellent condition, and perhaps as a consequence there was a vast amount of fish life.
Trips to the deserted sand bar were a delight. Taken there by dhow, the sand bar was visible on low tides and amounted to pristine white sand only inhabited by thousands of little crabs. The 'island' is yours for a few hours, until the tide comes back in and your 'island' disappears back under the sea.
We had thought that Kinasi was 'the' place to relax and unwind after the excitement and long days of the games drives - that was until we then moved on to our final destination, no more than a few hundred metres away, to Pole Pole.