Overview
Mafia Island is part of the Tanzanian Zanzibar Archipelago. This tropical island is a true paradise in the Indian Ocean and is especially suitable for scuba diving, fishing and just relaxing. Your time is totally free to enjoy the facilities of the resort or explore the island. Aquatic life is abundant and the coral gardens are pristine due to the protection of the Mafia Island Marine Park.

The Island is scattered over the Indian Ocean 21 km off the Rufiji River Delta in central Tanzania. The largest of a score of islands, atolls and tidal sandbars, Mafia itself is approximately 50 km long by 15km across, and is surrounded by a barrier reef teeming with marine life. Almost half the coastline of Mafia, some 822km², has been gazetted a marine park by the Government. To date over 50 genera of corals, more than 460 species of fish and five different species of turtles have been recorded in the waters around Chole Bay.

While Zanzibar has become a popular tourist resort, Mafia Island lying only 160 km south, remains virtually unknown. Previously poor communications with the mainland and being much lesser known than Zanzibar have kept Mafia ‘original’, although a steady trickle of visitors are unanimous in singing its praise. Mafia is one of the safest places in the Indian Ocean and there are no hustlers to spoil a holiday.

Natural vegetation on Mafia ranges from tidal mangrove thickets and scrubby coastal moorlands to palm-wooden grassland and lowland rainforest. Magnificent baobabs are prominent along with the native Albizia. Patches of coastal high forest remain in localities all over Mafia; one of the most picturesque, the Chunguruma Forest, is a dense tree canopy interlaced with palms, lianes and epiphytes and has an abundant floor covering of ferns.

A series of reed-lined lakes in central Mafia are probably the remnants of an old lagoon which was cut off from the ocean thousands of years ago. Here live a number of small hippo which may have crossed from the mainland or were washed to the island by floods of the Rufiji River system. They have been on Mafia many years, since Dr Baumann records their presence in 1895.
Other island fauna includes a colony of flying foxes, several species of bushbabies, a type of pygmy shrew and a monitor lizard known as kenge. Monkeys and squirrels are common.
An official bird list kept by Kinasi Lodge records sightings of more than 120 different species, including five different types of sunbird, living in and around the hotel gardens. There are also thought to be at least five endemic species of butterfly on the island.While Mafia makes an ideal holiday for people interested in nature and outdoor activities, its big attraction for many visitors is that it remains locked in a time warp of the early 20th Century.The population of the archipelago is approximately 40,000 living in 24 villages scattered throughout the main island, Jibondo, Juani and Chole islands. The people live in rustic fishing communities and farming villages. The majority are Muslim but there are many Christians. Traditional religion also manifests itself in ritual dances linked to the lunar cycle.

Map/Location

Visiting Time
Because of its siting close to the equator on the south, Mafia Island has a warm, pleasant year-round temperature without any extreme weather variability. The maximum fluctuations you are likely to see during the seasonal climatic year range from lows of 20 C (68 F) to 25 C (77 F) and highs of 28 C (82 F) to 32 C (90 F). The monsoon ocean breezes wafting in also help to keep the temperatures more or less steady. Mafia Island has two dry seasons like most of Tanzania, but one of these is the cool, dry season and the other is the humidly hot, dry season.
More about weather: https://w-weather.com/Tanzania/Mafia_Island/season/ 

Activities

  • See traditional boat(dhows) building activities.
  •  Deep sea fishing, kayaking, kite surfing, wind surfing.
  •  Boat excursions and picnics on sand bars, kayak to mangrove forests and visit lagoons.
  •  Sail with local fisherman in their traditional dhows and experience traditional “Swahili” cuisine and lifestyle.
  •  Visit historical ruins dating back to 15th and 8th century.
  • World class scuba diving and snorkeling
  •  Tour the island on bicycles.
  •  Birding and guided walks through traditional villages.

How To Go

FLIGHTS

The flight by plane takes only 45 minutes from Dar es Salaam and 1 hour from Zanzibar or the Selous.Mafia has daily scheduled air services with same-day connections to the Ruaha, Selous, Arusha, Pemba and Zanzibar; all flights can be booked direct or through Kinasi, which can make flight arrangements and invoice you as part of the overall bill.

Accommodation

Tanzania Parks & Reserves

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Serengeti National Park

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Kilimanjaro National Park

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Selous Game Reserve

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Mahale Mountains

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Arusha National Park

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Lake Manyara

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Ruaha National Park

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Gombe Stream

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Ngorongoro Crater

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Mkomazi National Park

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Kitulo National Park

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Uzungwa Mountains

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Tarangire National Park

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Mikumi National Park

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Saadani National Park

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Katavi National Park

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