Mafia Island and its surrounding archipelago including Jibondo, Juani and Chole is located 30 minutes flight south of Zanzibar. Mafia has a great deal to offer as an unspoiled, little-visited alternative to other Indian Ocean locations around Zanzibar and along the coast. However, as with Pemba, Mafia has better diving than Zanzibar, but worse beaches. Mafia is the one island off Tanzania's coast that really encourages visitors to explore its offshore islands and sand bars. There are very few hotels here which only adds to the attraction of Mafia as the beach destination for the adventurous traveler.
The central main island of Mafia is where most accommodation options are located, the smaller islands are fun to explore, with crumbling historical ruins now inhabited by a variety of different animals, from monkeys to wild pigs, fruit bats and bush babies.
Mafia is primarily known for its ocean glory; the Marine Park which was created to protect its reefs. Do note that the beaches on the main island are not nearly as good as those on Zanzibar, but the diving, fishing and snorkeling are infinitely better. Whereas Zanzibar has no diving for advanced divers, Mafia has challenging and rewarding dives for the advanced - as well as numerous sheltered bays and coves that are great for novice to intermediate divers. Snorkeling is also magnificent.
The atmosphere of all the islands is that of adventure; days are spent fishing or exploring exposed sand bars and untouched reefs. The diving on offer here is certainly the best in the entire region. Perhaps a lodge only for those mad keen on making diving the central focus of their Tanzania holiday. Accommodation choices Kinasi is one of the oldest lodges on the island and fits right into the sleepy feel of Mafia. The 15 rooms are made from stone, and although seeming somewhat dated, they have thoughtfully decorated interiors and the hotel has good food and service.
Kinasi is one of the only lodges on the island with a swimming pool, and has one of the most experienced dive masters on the island. Next door to Kinasi is Pole Pole (meaning ‘slowly, slowly’ in Swahili). Pole Pole is even more laid back than Kinasi but has lovely bungalows and a good general feel. The lodge’s size, with only seven rooms, is a reason to come in itself, especially if you want to get away from crowds completely. Across the waters, Chole Mjini is a small tree-house lodge on Chole Island across the bay from Kinasi and Pole Pole. Chole Mjini is an eco-lodge with emphasis is on sustainability and Eco-credentials. You have to be prepared for the long drop compost toilets here...but the character and unique charm of this lodge is undeniable. The final two lodges to mention are Mafia Island Lodge and Ras Mbisi, however, we would opt for any of the other three lodges where possible.
With idyllic setting and tranquil milieu, the island of Mafia, once an important trading center between the 11th and 13th centuries, now draws tourists to it’s extraordinary coral formations and marine park. The waters of the island are splendid for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving,sailing and sport fishing.
For more information or booking please contact us.