Chole Mjini Tree Lodge

Chole Mjini Tree Lodge – Show more hotels in Mafia Island

Location: Chole Island, Rural Utende, Tanzania


Chole Mjini Tree lodge is situated on the largest marine park in East Africa, This unique eco-lodge is a stunning destination offering secluded tree house accommodation and a complete retreat from the pace of modern life. In rustic luxury form, stand six wooden houses and one ground-level house all with private facilities. 

With only seven treehouses, carefully placed and designed, privacy is assured. Open to the elements, with the king-size bed and the throne-like centerpiece, 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 trickling back through the mangrove roots. Most treehouses have a second level to accommodate children.

Here you get to watch the sunset and the moon rise from the Red Herring Cafe or the Hanashi, rooftop, bar, or just coming in from a sunset sail and soon it’s time for a candle-lit dinner under the stars. Each evening sees a different setting, where guests can choose to dine at the dinner-party table or on their own in a romantic location.  A table may be set within the age-old ruins, the crumbling walls clasped by fig tree roots like giant fingers in the flickering candlelight, on the jetty, next to the murmuring ocean, or under the magnificent Tamarind tree, on the beach, or on a surprise spot in the gardens. The strong Swahili-Indian influence, known for its judicious use of coconut milk, adds subtle but distinctively flavourful spicing to our international cuisine. The specialty is seafood, freshly caught and delivered daily, this is complimented with lots of salads and fresh vegetables.  The Chef is happy to cater to gluten-free, Vegan, or Vegetarian diets. The Lodge doesn’t serve pork and other meats and chicken are offered infrequently.

The lodge can’t accommodate children under two years of age in peak seasons and children under the age of 5yrs need to sleep in the ground suite (Sita) for safety. The Lodge is closed for staff annual leave and maintenance from March 31st until June 15th. Mafia airport is on the West coast of Mafia Island 15km from Utende on the East Coast where the lodge’s boat will meet you to ferry you 1 km across to Chole Island.

The Uniqueness of this Villa

  • Fairytale honeymoon with you and your sweetheart skipping into the sunset and taking rose petal baths… Chole Mjini is not that.
  • Six wooden houses and one ground-level house all with private facilities. 
  • Showers built in a bamboo thicket are a personal favorite of every visitor.

Accommodation Options

Six wooden houses and one ground-level house all with private facilities. 

Treehouse Moja: Built high up in the canopy of a huge and ancient baobab which apparently thinks it’s a mangrove, growing as it does with its roots in the sea), this house is popular for its views of the sea out to Kinasi Pass – over the mangroves, enchanted by fireflies at night – and the spacious deck that wraps around the tree.  As in nature, visiting species such as nesting Fish Eagles, or Kites, share the baobab. The Only treehouse built on a single level, with one king-sized bed, shower one toilet (built earlier, smaller than normal, and with little light) built in a bamboo thicket, is a personal favorite.

Treehouse Mbili: The first Treehouse to be built along with Number Seven by the new owners, set in a perfect location, is the biggest, most ambitious construct. Took time to construct with some engineering problems.  Features under one roof two double beds on two spacious and separate floors. The views from upstairs are spectacular, Mbili’s baobab is the granddaddy of them all and has its own spirit and personality. 

Treehouse Tatu: also known as the house on the rocks, accessible through a foliage tunnel. It is a firefly city and is most in touch with the ocean and distant sea views. Crabs and mudskippers run around meters below the house, and occasional schools of fish are under the house. Built-in two separate levels, under two separate roofs, almost like two separate houses joined by a staircase, the main house is on rocks under a Tamarind tree, with the stairs going down from there into the second house that is over the beach amongst the mangroves.  The Spring tides bring water right up under the lower house and even, twice a year (March and February) wets the floor of the lower house. The shower is in a very pretty rock garden but the toilet is another of the three original prototypes.

Treehouse Nne: equally popular tree houses, It is the first of three houses with the upstairs ‘tea house’ design: the ‘tea house’, a 19th-century Stone Town innovation, is essentially an elevated room that is open to the breezes, allowing for 360-degree views; the sunsets are spectacular from here, has a baobab and views to the open ocean, with the most appealing of all the showers and toilets.

Treehouse Tano: The second of the ‘tea house’ treehouses, set in the midst of the fig-entwined ruins of what was once a large house built during the 19th-century heyday of Chole, when the bustling trading entrepot flourished between the Shirazi Sultanate of Kilwa, on the Tanzanian coast, and the Omani Sultanate of Zanzibar.  The tea house has sweeping views of Chole Bay, when the figs are ripe, the tree at Tano becomes a favourite haunt of the beautiful ‘flying foxes’ that live on Chole. The shower is built into a remnant of ruin and has space for an entire football team. The toilet has a new, bright and breezy atmosphere.

Ground House Sita: the ‘ground house’, caters to families with small children, to anyone afraid of a tree house, or requiring a flushing toilet. Large in size, with multi-levels to create separate spaces: the throne-like built-in king-size bed is on the highest level, two Zanzibari beds on the next level (a few steps down), and a day bed on the porch and another few steps lower. With a sunken mosaic bath (micro swimming pool for the kids), shower, and the only en-suite flushing   W. C on Chole. The house is open wide to the large gardens on either side, which lead to the mangroves, residents for fireflies at night. Being closest to the bar and restaurant, it still has strategically planted hedges and floor-to-roof curtains providing total privacy.


Activities include dhow trips, swimming, SCUBA Diving, snorkelling, beachcombing, guided forest walks, fishing, and village visits. Seasonal activities include snorkelling with whale sharks and observing turtle nesting and turtle hatching.