Kinasi Lodge is an established lodge with a friendly, informal atmosphere, and the only swimming pool on Mafia. Built on a clifftop above Chole Bay, the lodge is set in tropical gardens, among coconut palms and cashew trees.
This is a relatively inexpensive, comfortable, no-frills lodge, in a great setting and with good fresh food - perfect for people seeking a relaxing holiday with a minimum of commercialism.
The fourteen large cottages are comfortably furnished, each with a covered verandah and hammock. Designed for through-ventilation and coolness in all seasons, the cottages have king-size beds within walk-in mosquito nets. A fan is mounted within the net, above the bed. The family bungalow has two double rooms with adjoining en suite facilities. There are two twin cottages.
The swimming pool has a pool bar, which serves drinks, lunch and complimentary afternoon tea. There is a cocktail bar, comfortable sitting areas, and a restaurant. Breakfast is served in the restaurant and lunch at the pool bar. Dinner alternates between the two.
The brand new spa offers massage, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and beauty treatments.
There are many beaches, inlets, and islets to explore, and activities include scuba-diving - Kinasi lodge has its own well-equipped dive-centre - wind-surfing, fishing, dhow-sailing, cycling, nature walks and kayaking.
When the tide is in, you can swim from the beach. At low tide, you will be offered the opportunity to take a boat to Marimbani sandbank, or somewhere similar, for swimming and sunbathing. The diving and snorkelling are exceptional and Audie Murphy, who runs the dive centre, seems to impress everyone staying at Kinasi. Kirobo can take you birding along the shore or in the Kinasi gardens; or guide you on the nature trail, which follows the shore for 3 km and then ascends the ridge, where you may sight black monkey. He also taught us how to play bao. Kirobo can also take you across to Chole Island by dhow and for a guided walk around the island. Though tiny, Chole is full of surprises. On a short walk, we found fascinating ruins overrun by the roots of giant fig trees, a colony of fruit bats, a dhow building yard, local artists and craftsmen making and selling wares, and plenty of agricultural activity. And if you have time, there are three other islands to explore.
We think Kinasi Lodge underplays its 'eco' credentials. The coastal nature trail was created by its owners. Solar panels heat the water - very effectively. Peter is in the process of installing a natural grey water recycling system for the gardens. Kinasi is the only lodge to employ a guide, which indicates its attitude to Mafia's flora and fauna.
Kinasi lodge operates its own aircraft which can collect guests from Dar es Salaam (cost £60 pps one-way) and Zanzibar (cost £85 pps one-way). There are also flights from the Selous and Arusha. The return road transfer from Mafia airport to the lodge costs £10.