A central component in Chole’s development is the Chole Mjini Conservation & Development Company, which operates the Chole Mjini Tourist Lodge on as sustainable a basis as possible, without for example mains electricity or running water, and is the biggest employer on the island. The Lodge was constructed almost entirely out of local materials, using local labour, and opened for business in 1998. It always had as an objective assisting in Chole’s development, and much of the remarkable progress already made dates from that time.
The Lodge has seven rooms, with a capacity of just 14 tourists. All but one of the rooms are treehouses built up baobab trees. The Lodge assists the development programme by levying a fee of US$10 per person per night which is applied to village projects and is also a source of expertise and focus for donor funding, which allowed development of the Health Centre and the primary school, through the building of additional classrooms and teacher’s houses.
The Lodge operates sustainably - for example, meals are usually fish, caught non industrially in the local seas. A vital by-product of responsible tourism is that a healthy, sustainable environment acquires an economic value, because visitors value it and are willing to pay to enjoy it. Wherever possible local resources are employed, so one of the boats used on Mafia to take tourists to swim with whale sharks is owned and operated by a Cholean, who thereby acquires a stake in the wellbeing of the whale sharks.
In 2011 Jean and Anne de Villiers arranged for the lodge to be managed by AfrikaAfrika, who combine it with their other small, stylish safari lodges in other pristine Tanzanian wildernesses.