This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu

Traveller reviews

Travel reviews by Mr & Mrs D from Surrey

Review Distribution

Excellent
Good
Average
Poor
Terrible

Total number of trips

1

Countries visited

2

Lodges stayed in

3

Excursions taken

0

Our trip to the Mafia archipelago

Tanzania and 1 other country between 4 Jul 2015 and 19 Jul 2015

Trip rating: Excellent
"An amazing trip, made memorable by staying at Chole Mjini.

Very impressed by Expert Africa, without whom we'd never have discovered Chole Mjini - such a magical place.

Diving was great and as the non-diver I was very well entertained at both Chole and Pole Pole by their daily dhow trips.

Suggestions to help us improve our trips or our service:

Very impressed by Expert Africa and will definitely recommend and use again when possible."

Chole Mjini Lodge

Chole Mjini Lodge

"Amazing and unmissable place to stay"

7 nights Arrived 5 Jul 2015
"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."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Excellent
Facilities
Good
Pole Pole

Pole Pole

"A lovely place to unwind"

5 nights Arrived 12 Jul 2015
"The accommodation at Pole Pole was very comfortable, albeit a little dark inside. The outside verandah had a wonderful view, comfortable chairs and a day bed which my husband found very hard to leave!

The linen and towels are changed as frequently as you request, via a board in the bathroom. The laundry service was excellent, and the housekeeping was also excellent.

The staff were very friendly, and really appreciate any attempt at Kiswahili, however poor. Tea or coffee is delivered every morning to the verandah, but make sure the crows don't beat you to the biscuits!

The gardens are uninteresting, mainly laid to grass amongst the palm trees. Other than the crows, we didn't see much bird life or nature. Squirrels and ants don't really count.

The beach is beautiful, and the sun loungers are comfortable. Drinks orders are taken on the beach and also from your bungalow for a six p.m sundowner. The pool is well appointed, in full sun and with a pool side bar. The verandah on our bungalow did not get the sun, but was a perfect place to relax.

The breakfast was comprehensive, including fruit, toast, muffins, a cooked choice of eggs, bacon, pancakes - as much or as little as you want. Lunch and dinner were both plentiful and varied, but I found the food fairly bland and tasteless, with no condiments to be able to add some spice other than salt and pepper. Only a complaint, as I enjoy cooking and was slightly disappointed, not in the quality of the ingredients, just in the lack of flavour.

The excursions were very good and organised the evening before in the bar before dinner. They are run by Mafia island diving, and the staff were very friendly and knowledgable. The trip to the blue lagoon is not to be missed, tides permitting.

We didn't have a massage."
Excellent
Location
Excellent
Service
Excellent
Activities
Excellent
Rooms
Good
Food
Average
Facilities
Good
Kholle House

Kholle House

"A wonderful architectural building"

2 nights Arrived 17 Jul 2015
"We had two nights at Kholle House, and the accommodation was excellent. Beautiful rooms with interesting brick built bath, and enviable water pressure. Nicely air conditioned rooms, interesting mattress and beautifully made beds daily. Very close to the mosque, so be prepared for 4 o'clock awakenings.

Nicely located on the edge of Stone Town, but an easy walk into the central hubbub. Turn left or right out of the House and wander aimlessly amongst the narrow streets, greeted by very friendly locals, young or old.

We were there for the last day of Ramadan, and also for the start of Eid which was great to witness.

Unfortunately the staff at Kholle House were indifferent bordering on rude and unfriendly. The only place where my Swahili was ignored and possibly ridiculed. It seemed an effort for them to serve us breakfast, and their attitude was generally apathetic. We asked for refreshments on arrival and this was awkwardly and begrudgingly delivered to our room.

I know it was Ramadan, but if you are running a guest house and accommodating non-muslims, Western beliefs should still be respected, especially when the guest is paying.

Architecturally the building has been beautifully restored. The swimming pool was an added bonus, and beautifully clear and well managed. The 360 degree views of Stone town from the roof top area were stunning and it is just a shame that we didn't feel able to relax and enjoy our stay as the staffs' religious views were overwhelmingly made clear, and we didn't seem welcome."
Average
Location
Good
Service
Poor
Facilities
Good
Rooms
Excellent
Food
Good

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team