Chole Mjini was never meant to be a tree house hotel, and it isn’t. It is a castaway fantasy, a jungle island retreat appealing to a specific kind of person; one who appreciates a return to simple luxuries that reawaken the senses, rather than the predictable comforts of room service and air conditioning. Chole Mjini tree house resort has six treehouses and one ground house.
Each treehouse is equipped with one or two stories, creating varying views of the ocean and bay surrounding the island, large “throne-like” beds, a hammock, relaxing area with a bench or couch, private bathing area and open-air showers. Each treehouse took from six months to a year to complete because they were built completely by hand, using traditional tools and utilizing materials sourced only from traders living on Chole. Each tree for poles and planks was cut by hand, sawn into planks by hand in a saw pit and transported to Chole by dhow, cured for at least twelve months and then ripped and planed by hand.
The Tatu Tree house hotel, also known as ‘the house on the rocks’, is reached by passing through a foliage tunnel. It is literally firefly city, and the treehouse which is most in touch with the ocean, with both really close up and distant sea views, crabs and mudskippers running around meters below the house, and even schools of fish under the house sometimes.
Built on 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, close to the ground, and the stairs go down from there into the second house that is over the beach in amongst the mangroves. During Spring tides the water comes 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.