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Chole Mjini Lodge
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Reviews (172)
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Reviewed March 28, 2008

Fantastic place, fantastic owners, fantastic project. Chloe is somewhere really different to stay. On an island, sleeping in the open, totally amongst nature. This isn't a holiday for everyone and it is not the most relaxing as you awake with the sun and nature but it is that that makes it so amazing. I am very archnophobic and was extremely worried how I would cope with the 'openness' of the accommodation - infact i even tried to cancel at the last min! However i am so glad we didn't as it was such an amazing experience. We actually stayed in the ground house not a tree house - waking up with the sunrise breaking over the ocean and mangroves and noise of the island inhabitants starting the day is special. The food is wonderful as is the service however what makes it really special is the owners Jean and Ann. Jean is a character, great fun and an excellent dive instructor - if you want to learn to dive properly or extend your qualifications this is the man to do it with. Ann is a complete humanitarian and between them they have built an amazing project that massively benefits the local community. I totally disagree with other reviews that cast a negative light on what they have done - we spoke to a local who worked at Chloe and he said that before the lodge his wife had lost 4 babies during their birth due to complications and the fact that to get to the hospital they had to get a boat (tide dependant) then car - thanks to revenue generated by chloe the locals not only now have a hospital but schools, a women's educational centre and employment which all enable a higher quality of life and the tools for the community to help themselves. The local we spoke to was enormously pleased at the opportunities the lodge had given his village especially as his wife given birth to two healthy babies at the new hospital. The 'eco' aspects aside it is a wonderful place to stay, where dinner is eaten each night in a different location (our favourite was amongst the ruins with lanterns hanging from the trees for light). A special, beautiful place.

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank lovebeinginger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2008

This place has all the good things you get when camping in the wild, and none of the bad. It was amazing to be hidden in the treetops with all the wildlife, which sometimes clambers past, flies over, or slithers along to say hello. It is genuinely a remarkable place to stay. Having dinner for two in the lantern lit ruins of an ancient town was one of the most memorable meals I have ever had, something between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. If you really want to stay somewhere unusual and different, and you like wildlife, then this place is great.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank coconutcrab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2008

We booked this FEB 2008 week through ATR based on initial info from Lonely Planet. The place is unbelievable: Excellent daily snorkeling and sailing. Food is great and local. Suppers are a communal event for those who don't want a quiet intimate meal. The supper table is moved to a different place each night from being on the wharf to beside a ruin. The hosts are wonderful not only for leading diving and snorkeling trips but for warm conversation and sharing of ideas on a host of topics and experiences. Other guests were also very interesting. The positive attitudes and excellent service from all employees we met (all local from the village) are proofs Jean and Anne are welcomed and appreciated on this island. HIGHLY recommended. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JeffreyVictoriaBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2008

My family and I have just come back from a weeks stay in Chole. We had a great time: beautiful treehouses, beautiful island, friendly staff and some great diving. My wife used to dive some years ago and but had given up and was very nervous about going again. Under Jean de Villiers kindly supervision she conquered her fears and went on 5 dives. In addition to that, Jean went on to teach my 10 year old son to dive. I wouldn't have entrusted him with anyone unless I was really confident about them. We saw all kinds of wonderful fish and rays. What was possibly even more exciting was when we went on a trip to go swimming with whale sharks off the west coast of Mafia Island. Absolutely unreal, swimming next to these 30 feet long sharks. Something which will remain with me and my family all of our lives. My only complaint was that the food (all meals are included in the price) was almost too much. Huge breakfasts, lunches and dinners led to me returning to the UK considerably stouter than when i went to Tanzania despite taking lots of exercise whilst i was there!

I was interested to see how the hotel interacted with the local islanders, as its a small island and the hotel is next to everything. I had long talks with the de Villiers family about the various projects that they have undertaken on Chole: they set up and support the Chole Health Centre and kindergarten. They have organised a woman's group and a woman's market. They help the secondary school. In addition, virtually all of the 40 odd staff are local: this means that they employ almost 5% of the island's total population. It is not often that you get that level of committment to local people from a hotel and speaks volumes about the de Villiers's attitude to the locals.

Jean and Anne can occasionally get a bit stressed when things get very busy but their charm and knowledge and general helpfulness far outweigh the odd harassed moment.. Certainly i wouldn't hesitate to reccomend staying there. Its a beautiful, unique place that will, at very little more cost, give you a holiday that will remain with you long after more normal holidays are forgotten.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank Ivoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 17, 2007

My wife and I had a wonderful time at Chole Mjini. We just returned from our honeymoon spent in Tanzania, Zanzibar and Mafia. Of all the upper end lodgings we experienced we found Chole Mjini to be one our favorite (if not favorite) place to stay. We found the treehouses, food, daily activities and the company of the De Villier family (including the delightful Jean) to be excellent.

During our stay we participated in a variety of activities such as swimming with whalesharks, sailing a dhow to a beautiful beach, snorkeling, scuba diving and wandering through the local village. The food was fresh, varied and the best we had experienced during our trip.

A certain relaxed approach to Chole Mjini should be considered in that overt, gratuitous pampering of the guests doesn't occur and pit toilets do exist (which initially sounded kind of funky, but ended up being no big deal). Guests are encouraged to play an active role in deciding what day-to-day activities they want to participate in and hence are allowed to create what kind of vacation they want to have.

Overall, our experiences at the treehouses were great and the lodging extremely comfortable. We are currently looking forward to when we can return.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jakobis2cute
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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