Mafia Island – welcome to YOUR beach getaway
Mafia is an unspoiled and little-know alternative to other Indian Ocean destinations. This often overlooked tranquil and secluded island lets visitors avoid the crowds found at Zanzibar’s tourist-filled beaches. Yet this remote and charming island – with its surrounding archipelago encompassing the smaller islands of Jibondo, Juani, Bwejuu & Chole, has a lot to offer.
It is a water enthusiasts’ paradise and a-well-kept secret among snorkelers and divers. The surrounding waters are crystal clear and permit amazing views to the pristine coral reefs and an unimaginable number of colorful, tropical fish. Some of the most exciting diving spots of the world are found here! Mafia’s main attraction are however the majestic whale sharks!
> offshore island in Southern Tanzania
> reachable by small aircraft plane
> size: 435 km²
> capital: Kilindoni
> all year around – except April and May
> whale sharks seasons: September to March
> humpback whales pass by: August and September
> Snorkeling & Diving
> Boat trips to sandbanks in traditional dhows
> Cultural tours to ancient ruins and fishing villages
Perfect for travelers...
> who are looking for a quiet & authentic beach vacation away from hustle
> who are looking for accommodations with character and Swahili charm
> who love to snorkel or dive (beginner to well-experienced)
> who are adventurous to swim with the mighty whale sharks
What would you like to explore about Mafia Island?
Check out our sample itinerary for a possible beach extention to Mafia Island. The itinerary can be customized to your individual wishes! Prices depend on number of travelers, duration of your beach stay, the travel time and your accommodation preferences.
Activities & Daytrips
Maybe relaxing and sunbathing at the beach sounds a bit boring? Mafia Island has lots of activities to offer: for water enthusiasts and travelers interested in ancient ruins. Check out our favorite ones here!
Scroll through our selection of beach resorts on Mafia Island – each personally visited and reviewed! Depending on your travel preferences and budget, we will recommend the perfect accommodation stay for you!
Interested? Talk to an expert!
As an adventurous European travel is in my blood! Tanzania is a fascinating country with so much to explore! It’s a pleasure to share my insider knowledge and offer first-hand advise. I take the time to listen to your ideas and create a unique safari & beach adventure out of these – tailored to your indivudal requirements and designed just for you!
Not sure if Mafia Island is the right beach destination for you? You have questions or missing a particular information? Don’t worry we are here to assist!
Not sure – Talk to an expert
Let me show you my stunning home country and discover the true Tanzania – authentic and first-hand with a native at your side! As a Tanzanian myself, I am intimately familiar with the local conditions. With my years of experience and my passion for Tanzania, I will happily design an itinerary based on your travel interests.
You have any questions about Mafia Island or wonder what to do there? Get in touch for a first chat to discuss your requirements!
Phone/Whats App +255 787 298 159
Further Details – Mafia Island
Where is Mafia Island and how is it reached?
Mafia Island is located 20 km offshore from Tanzania’s mainland and roughly 120 km south of Dar es Salaam. Domestic flights operate twice a day from/to Dar es Salaam with the domestic airlines Auric Air, Coastal Aviation and Safari Airlink. It is also possible to connect from Arusha, or other airstrips within the national parks, to Dar es Salaam and then onwards to Mafia Island.
Flora, Fauna & Wildlife above water
The islands of the Mafia archipelago all feature lush vegetation with coconut palms, cashews and mango and papaya trees as far as the eye can see. A few animals such as bush babies, duikers, flying foxes, genets, velvet monkeys, squirrels and wild pigs call the archipelago their home. The coast with its tidal mangrove thickets and scrubby coastal moorlands attracts a large variety of sea birds.
Mafia’s claim-to-fame is its underwater glory…
The Mafia Archipelago forms one of the most complex marine ecosystems of the world. The government took first steps in 1975 to protect this area by declaring it a marine reserve. Today this marine reserve covers an area of 822 km² and encompasses both inhabited and desert islands, inter-tidal flats, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and various coral reefs.
A glorious underwater paradise awaits travelers here with more than 50 species of corals and sponges and more than 460 documented fish species. The special characteristics of this amazing underwater world arise from Mafia’s unique location in the estuarine delta system of the Rufiji River on Tanzania’s south coast – a melting pot of oceanic and reef fishes.
The further you venture into the deep, the better are your chances of coming across dolphins, sharks and occasionally manta rays. Mafia is also home to five different turtle species that come to nest on the remote beaches. You might even witness humpback whales that pass the islands between August and September.
Mafia’s main attraction: Majestic whale sharks…
From September to March, the north monsoon winds (called Kaskazi) push a plankton-rich surface layer of the nutrient-rich Rufiji River towards the island. Whale sharks will gather in areas with the densest plankton occurrences and filter-feed with their wide mouths. According to the WWF, the population of whale sharks around Mafia has increased to 180 individuals as of December 2017.