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Mafia Island

Tanzania Safaris: Mafia Island
Tanzania Safaris: Mafia Island

Mafia Island Marine Park (the first in Tanzania) was opened in July 1995. The project is backed by the WWF which contributes human and financial resources for its development and maintenance.

The Mafia archipelago is formed of a number of very large islands and small uninhabited coral atolls. The island is the meeting place of large oceanic fish and the vast variety of fish common to the Indian Ocean coral reefs. There are over 400 species of fish in the park. The Park is a paradise for both expert scuba divers as well as those Tanzania Safari visitors wishing to snorkel or sail in the native local boats from island to island. At present the international diving community has not 'discovered' the surrounding reefs of Mafia which makes for amazing diving for Tanzania Safari guests in genuinely pristine conditions.

Mafia is also a refuge for whale sharks and the lodges organising incredible Tanzania Safari excursions to snorkel with these gentle giants of the ocean - highly recommended.  Island excursions can also be organised by Authentic Tanzania Safaris to visit villages and different parts of the island.

Tanzania Safaris: Mafia Island
Tanzania Safaris: Mafia Island

The Mafia archipelago is situated about 130 km south of Dar es-Salaam and about 25 km from the mainland. Chole Bay, Mafia's protected deep-water anchorage and the original harbour, is studded with islands, sandbanks and beaches. The clear, protected waters offer wonderful snorkeling, sailing and swimming for Tanzania Safari visitors. Outside the Bay an unbroken reef runs the length of the island, from Tutia in the south to Ras Mkumbi at the northern tip.

On land, the rich variety of vegetation is dominated by large palm groves. In some areas there are baobab trees dotting the typical African savannah and there are also fruit trees in many areas, mainly mango and cashew trees.

The archipelago's birdlife undergoes significant seasonal variations according to the passing migrants, so Tanzania Safari orithology enthusiasts can have wildly differing tanzanai Safari experences depending on the season! Falcons and fish eagles build their nests on both the small and larger islands.

When to visit

Best time to visit is June to October and December to February.
Best time for diving is September to March.

Getting there

There are daily scheduled flights from Zanzibar via Dar es Salaam and daily flights Mafia to Dar which connect on to Zanzibar. There are also daily flight connections from Mafia to Selous.