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Chole Mjini, Mafia Island

Book Chole Mjini, Mafia Island

starting at 168 €  Actual rate may vary based on seasonality and availability.

Chole Mjini, Mafia Island

P.O Box 20
Mafia Island
, Tanzania
Direct to the Hotel
"Magical. A complete escape from every burden of the Western world, set on an idyllic, peaceful island."


Chole Mjini is a jungle-island fantasy-getaway, tucked away among historic ruins on Chole Island, situated in the middle of the Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania, East Africa. After moving to Chole island in 1996 the owners Anne and Jean started to construct something simple yet at the same time elegant and comfortable. While they wanted it to reflect themselves, at the same time they wanted it to be appropriate to the site and blend in with the bush, ruins and mangrove forest, be open to nature but still secure and able to withstand the occasional tropical storm. Each tree house took from six months to a year to complete because they were built completely by hand, using traditional tools and utilizing materials sourced only from traders living on Chole. Slowly but surely the houses took shape, and four years later was ready to receive its first guests.
Chole Mjini was never meant to be a hotel, and it isn't. It is a castaway fantasy, a jungle island retreat appealing to a specific kind of person.


*Jungle-island fantasy-getaway
*6 tree houses and 1 ground house
*SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the Mafia Island Marine Park
*Whale sharks (September to March)
*Turtle hatchings (June to November)
*Humpback whales (August)
*Authentic interaction with the traditional village
*Heritage building Chole Boma ruin opening in 2015
*Each day begins with a birdsong serenade at dawn and ends with the   excited chattering of squabbling fruit bats at sunset


  • environmental protection
  • being local - authentic experiences
  • giving back
  • cultural commitment

Development and support for the people of Chole island was – and remains – the motivation and the primary purpose of the Chole Mjini Lodge.


Rooms & Amenities

6 tree houses and 1 ground house

Rooms with king size beds and open to the elements

each thatched platform is reached via sandy paths that lead through the natural vegetation

all have views of the sea, some are close enough to be lulled to sleep by the sound of the tide tricking back through the mangrove roots

most tree houses have a second level to accommodate children

The Story of Chole Mjini

When the founders and owners visited Mafia Island for the first time
they fell in love with the island, its wonderful people and the waters
that surround it. Somehow the district authorities thought they were
investors and offered them a site on Chole to develop a hotel. At that
time they knew nothing about the business of hotels but they had many
ideas about how tourism could improve the lives of the people in Chole village. Together with the creator of Zanzibar’s first boutique hotel they started planning on how he would build and ultimately run a hotel on Chole island. They started the company in 1993 but their partner dropped out and, in 1996, they were left with a little more than a camp site on Chole. Having put so much effort and a fair amount of capital into the project and having raised so many expectations in the village, they couldn’t just drop it and they decided to move to Chole for a year or two and build the kind of place that they would have liked to find in such a beautiful place, and they are still there 18 years later.

Chole Mjini Green Initiatives


Dinner at Chole Mjini is a sociable (or private) three-course affair in various locations throughout the historic ruins. Meals are set menus,though taking dietary requirements into consideration, served by trained staff and lit by candles and lamps. Dinner can be accompanied by your drink of choice selected from our menu of fine South African wines, local beers, international spirits and soft drinks.


After taking over the Chole project, they decided to sell the generators their partner had purchased and forego power tools; to build slowly and only with local skills, labour and materials, so that almost all development capital would be spent on Chole Island. Each tree house took from six months to a year to complete, because they were built completely by hand, using traditional tools and utilizing materials sourced only from traders living on Chole.


From the beginning the owners vision was to improve the life of the people in Chole village. Along every step of the way they carefully made sure that the community would profit from their decision.