Tiny Chole Island, just twenty minutes by boat from Mafia, was once the capital of the Mafia islands.
Today, the ruins of administrative buildings, warehouses and merchants’ homes are overrun with the roots of enormous fig trees. At one end of the former main street, Chole Mjini Lodge incorporates the remains of a Hindu building.
The lodge has seven treehouses built high off the ground around the trunks of trees, with four poster beds and elegant, simple furnishings. Stairs descend to ground level to your private toilet and open air shower. The immaculate compost toilets are just one sign of the genuine commitment to conservation. One family suite is built on the ground and has en suite facilities with a flush toilet.
Created by biologists Jean and Anne de Villiers, Chole Mjini is a partnership with the local community, tourism as an engine of development and conservation. The achievements are real and impressive, and you will find yourself a welcome visitor on Chole.
Though tiny, Chole Island is full of surprises and you will enjoy getting to know the local people and seeing them at work: in the boatyard; doing carpentry and craftwork; tending their crops; or just passing the time of day. People are incredibly friendly, without expecting anything in return.
Jean de Villiers is a highly experienced dive instructor and there are world-class dive sites to explore. A trip to Juani Island or remote Kutitia Atoll is truly memorable.