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Chole Mjini is one of the tiny islands that makes up the Mafia archipelago, south of its larger cousin Zanzibar, and home to a luxury island lodge where guests sleep in tree houses.
There are just seven open sided tree houses at Chole Mjini, offering a lofty luxury adventure. Created by local craftsmen using local materials, they are mostly built around baobab trees and blend in with their natural surroundings. They all have four-poster beds with Egyptian cotton sheets and a sundeck with spectacular views out to sea.
Being totally au natural, there is no electricity on Chole, and the lodge is notably proud of its minimal carbon footprint. Lighting is provided by kerosene lamps, but thanks to solar and wind power and innovative design, guests can still charge batteries and enjoy a hot shower. We love it, and think it adds to the Tarzan and Jane vibe it's got going on.
The food at Chole has a distinct Swahili influence, with strong, aromatic flavours. Fish is caught and delivered daily, and the vegetables are grown on the island. The rooftop bar is the best place to watch the sunset, and Red Herring is one of the few bars in the world with 270° views, perfect for stargazing.
Chole Island is just a short dhow ride from Mafia Island and lies at the heart of the Mafia Island Marine Park, so diving is fantastic. Jean de Villiers, the owner of the lodge, is a PADI Master scuba Diver Trainer, so guests can be assured of the utmost safety and learn from his encyclopedic knowledge of marine life.
There are plenty of other things to do and see aside from diving, such as a trip to Popo Park, the world's first sanctuary for fruit bats; or just plain and simple sunbathing on the Funguni sandbank, a strip of dazzling white sand, only accessible by boat.
Tom, Original Traveller