Our sabbatical is over and management of the lodge has reverted back
from AfrikaAfrika to the owners, the Chole Mjini Conservation and
Development Co. Ltd. Anne and Jean de Villiers are once again your
Thanks to Rob Barbour and his team for giving us the opportunity to pursue other interests.
In the past three years Anne has launched a program to introduce English language instruction into the first few weeks of secondary schools and this has been piloted in Mafia and Kilwa Districts. The 6 week program has proved very cost effective and also has increased the reading age of scholars by an average of over a year. The huge challenge of the future is to get the program adopted nation-wide, which of course will require funding.
Jean has been collaborating with the Tanzanian Department of Antiquities to restore (rebuild actually, using original materials and traditional techniques) the Old Boma on Chole Island. This double story building, which served as the district headquarters under Shirazi then Omani, then German and finally British Military rule, had collapsed into mostly rubble but will be reborn as an extension of Chole Mjini Lodge, opening with 3 suites in 2015.
Jean, very ably assisted by Didier and Maya, has also set up Kitu Kiblu (see www.kitukiblu.com), to provide responsible marine encounters with whale sharks and next year with humpback whales.
A new 20 room lodge, outside the Marine Park on the West coast of Mafia Island, is also in the planning phase. All preparations, including the Environmental Impact Assessment, have been completed and we are now awaiting a building permit.
The Chole Mjini Trust Fund (see www.choletrust.org), a fully functional UK charity, has continued supporting the people of Chole to build a better future for their children. The Trust is under the very capable stewardship of a Board of Trustees, all of whom are major donors to the Trust and long-time staunch supporters of Chole development initiatives, and ably chaired by Mr. Robin Cooke-Hurle. The 2012 annual report of the Harambee Committee, the Chole village stakeholder group that administers the funds raised by the Trust, is available. If you want a copy, please email Robin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Anne (email@example.com) or Jean (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are at all interested in assisting us with this, or any of our other projects, please visit www.choletrust.org, or do not hesitate to contact us.
Finally, we thank Tripadvisor for honouring us with Awards of Excellence for three years running and a Travellerís Choice award in 2013.