Mafia Island is a true remnant of the old swahili coast, a place unspoilt, unaffected by commercialism and timeless.
Local people go about their traditional activities seemingly detached from the outside world. The main activity is fishing which is combined with the cultivation of staple foods and weaving of mats and baskets. Moderate Islamic religion dominates the Island.
The name Mafia is probably derived from the Arabic morfiyeh, meaning, “group” or “archipelago” or from the Swahili mahali pa afya meaning “a healthy dwelling place. Mafia is the largest of a small archipelago of islands with a population of about 40,000. It is approximately 30 miles off the Tanzanian coast, about 35 minutes by air from Dar Es Salaam. Across from island lies the Great Rufiji River delta and the world famous Selous Game Reserve.
It’s a wonderful destination to round off a wilderness safari or simply put your feet up and unwind!
Ideal for nature lovers, this is a real paradise with the rich variety of vegetation, which combines a mixture of bush with baobabs, mangrove and dream sandbanks. There are wild pigs, duiker, monkeys, small antelopes and nocturnal mammals such as bush babies and the fruit bat or flying fox. Fish eagles and countless other wading and wetland birds frequent the shoreline.
Snorkeling - **Duration 2 to 4 hours ** Snorkelling in Chole bay is a fantastic, colourfully exuberant experience accompanied by hoards of fish, all with different shapes, colours and sizes.
The waters surrounding Mafia Island offer an extraordinary variety of marine life and provide some of the most spectacular coral reefs on the East African coast. The marine diversity is amongst the highest in the Indian Ocean with over 400 species of fish, 5 species of marine turtle and 48 species of hard corals.
Marimbani Sandbank - **Duration 4 hours ** The Marimbani sandbank is a beautiful half moon shaped piece of sand which can be discovered only by low tide.
This little patch of dreams is located within Chole bay, only 15 minutes away from the dive centre. The excursion starts with a departure from the dive centre for some snorkelling on one of Mafia's pristine reefs. After the snorkelling, the boat will set off again taking you to the sandbank itself. This is one of the most idyllic spots imaginable to catch up on some reading, to suntan, to have a snooze or to have a little walk in the inter-tidal area where it is possible to spot cowries, sea urchins, crabs and starfish.It is also possible to snorkel where one could be lucky enough to spot the illusive seahorses in the sea grass.
Fisherman Island -
The Lighthouse and Kanga beach
Full Mafia Island Tour