Mafia Island

  • Relax in a Tropical paradise, with white sand beaches, turquoise waters and palm trees
  • Enjoy watersports, beautiful marine life and Historic ruins on Mafia Island
  • Swimming with whale sharks, the world’s largest gentle fish
  • Spot humpback whales and watch baby Turtles whilst making their way to the Ocean

Mafia Island is a green, natural island with coconut palms in abundance, white sandy beaches and the clear, shimmering blue Indian Ocean with the most colorful and diverse underwater world of Tanzania. So, it is surprising that Mafia Island is still an insider tip for those seeking tranquility, nature lovers and divers. It is the most southern of three islands (Pemba & Zanzibar) located off the coast of Tanzania, 25 km from the mainland, the river delta of the Rufiji River, which previously cross the Nyerere National Park (before Selous Game Reserve) and which is 130 km from Dar es Salaam.  The island is reachable by light aircraft in 35 minutes or 45 minutes from Zanzibar and the Nyerere National Park.

For divers and snorkelers Mafia is a paradise, not least because of their sheltered location and the many nearby islands. Many small offshore islands and coral reefs guarantee spectacular underwater experiences! The underwater world of the island is protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park. In the Chole Bay in the southern part of the island, sandbanks, small islands and tropical beaches invite you to dive, snorkel, sail and swim. Nice trips to lonely sandbanks (e.g. Marimbani sandbank) and beaches (e.g. Chuwia Beach) or neighboring islands and lagoons (e.g. Chole Island, Juani Island, Blue Lagoon, Jibondo Island, Bwejuu Island) can be undertaken.

Cultural tours to fishing villages, traditional boatyards and the old Kua Ruins on Juani Island are also popular destinations. Juani Island is one of the main nesting locations for sea turtles, particularly the Hawksbill Turtle. The organization Sea Sense in cooperation with the Marine Park is involved in protecting the nests of these amazing creatures. Join one of the Conservation Officers on a trip to a nesting and watch the Baby turtles making their way to the ocean.

A special highlight are the huge whale sharks that visit the waters around Mafia Island between October and April (best time: January to March). Divers have nothing to fear from the world’s largest fish. Rather, diving or snorkeling with the whale sharks is an overwhelming experience that you will never forget. Even Humpback whales pass by Mafia Island on their migration route between August and the end of October each year and there is the opportunity for organized whale watching tours. Chole Island is home to the rare Comoros (Seychelles) Flying Fox or fruit bat, found only on Mafia, the Comoro Islands and on the Seychelles.

The vegetation consists of bushes, baobabs, palm trees, fruit trees and mangroves. The 40,000 inhabitants live mainly on the fishing and cultivation of coconut, papaya, cassava and rice. They are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere is relaxed.

The dominant religion is moderate Islam and both Christians and Muslims live in peace and harmony. The hotels and lodges on Mafia can be reached from Kilindoni Airport in about 5 to 45 minutes. They are usually located right on the white sandy beaches of the crystal clear Indian Ocean. The interestingly designed lodges exude the local charm of the Swahili culture. Everything here is more leisurely. Mafia Island Marine Park, founded in 1995, is home to some of the best accommodations on Mafia Island.

South & Coast

In agreement with our customer

Please ask us about additional programs i. e.

  • Game drives in the national parks, for example in the nearby Southern Circuit Parks: Nyerere NP (former Selous Game Reserve), Mikumi NP, Ruaha NP or Kitavi NP
  • Or fly to the northern parks: Serengeti, Manyara or Tarangire National Park or Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
  • Visit the chimpanzees at Lake Tanganyika
  • Climbing Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru is also a great way to start your trip and then relax on the beaches afterwards
  • Culture tours or trekking tours are possible too
  • Or continue with other islands

  • Mafia Island has two dry seasons: January/February and July to October
  • However, as in other parts of the world, there are more and more shifts in the rainy season in East Africa
  • Best visibility for diving is from October to February and June to September within Chole Bay
  • Swimming wiht whale sharks: October to April
  • Humpback Whales Watching: Juli to August 
  • Baby turtles start to hatch: June to August

Recommendations what to wear:
On Mafia Island, outside the hotel complex, out of respect for religion and the traditions of the population, you should wear sufficiently long trousers or skirts in public (the knees should be covered when sitting) and no shoulder-free or low-cut outer clothing.

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This itinerary is an example of tours we organize.

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