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Tanzanian Holiday in Mafia Island

 

Location and Size Mafia Island

When planning a Tanzania Safari, remember the Mafia Islands. The location of the Mafia Islands is in Southern Tanzania off the Rufiji River’s mouth in the Indian Ocean. It lies southeast of the Island of Zanzibar and falls within the jurisdiction of Tanzania in the region of Region of Pwani.

The location of Mafia made it a prominent place in the annals of Africa’s east coast. It was considered safe for ships stopping for repairs and water. Mafia being a part of Kilwa’s sultanate enjoyed prosperity as a settlement seen today in the ruins.

The establishment of the Mafia Island Marine Park has brought Mafia Island into the limelight resulting in the Island becoming well known for its outstanding marine life. Mafia is an archipelago of one big island and several other smaller islands. If you are of the opinion, there is not much to see here you can be wrong. Each has a unique history important to Tanzania and blessed by nature’s lush bounty that is home to a range of wildlife from colourful butterflies to fruit bats. It is a “to do” item on a Tanzania Safari list. The area of the Park is 317.4 mi² (822 km²) and park declared a protected nature reserve. 

Special Features Mafia Island

Mafia Island’s history dates back to the East African trading routes involving Kilwa and Zanzibar when it played an important role during the 8th century. The Mafia’s name in Swahili translates it to being “a healthy dwelling place” seems to be the most appropriate as no mass tourism has taken hold. It may be because of the restricted buildings.  The initial total of three tourist lodges has a total capacity of 120 beds. The quiet lodges are in the form of bush resorts. It is certainly a place for a Tanzania Budget Safari you won’t regret. With time, Mafia came to be seen as great touristic potential resulting in more accommodation. Most of the accommodation is owned not by the people of the country but outsiders.

Boat building is one of the major pastimes economically wise. The capital of Mafia from the 12th century and until the beginning of the Twentieth Century was Chole,   

The main attraction is the Mafia Island Diving Centre that has been operating since 2005. Visitors on a Tanzanian Holiday can be certain to enjoy a range of activities if headed to Mafia. Snorkelling, scuba diving, an offshore island and beach excursions are some of the activities at hand. Kinasi Pass Islets, Kitutia, Kinasi Pass Islets, Chole Bay, Jibondo Pass, and Mange reef, are among the preferred places recommended to visit. Other attractions are nature trails, cultural village tours, walking in mangroves and mangrove snorkelling. 

When planning a Tanzania Safari remember to go diving within Mafia Island’s Marine Park around Chole Bay that is exceptional. It is one of the healthiest and varied coral reef systems, with warm waters that average 26’C and visibility is at 25-30 metres. You will have much of the ocean section for yourself.

Why to go there Mafia Island

The Mafia Island Diving Centre is one of the earliest and reputed diving establishments on the Mafia Islands. They offer expeditions on land and well as on the water suitable for visitors of any age and interests. There are things to interest all who visit them, which are mostly projects based on community, helping to increase knowledge of ecological practices and the promotion of sustainability in tourism. Their aim is to maintain the unpolluted and pristine natural environment we see so little in the developed world today. Mafia’s distinct charms are little known, but expected to develop once a proper runway of the island’s airport is completed. Presently it remains a serene, backwater with limited visitors arriving, and because of this you are assured of a charming, quiet and peaceful Tanzanian Holiday.

Watching whale shark that is seasonal a few hundred meters off Kilindoni harbour is yet another reason to visit Mafia. These beautiful, gentle giants can be observed by taking a short ride by boat to the feeding grounds towards the west.

When To Go / Weather Mafia Island

Mafia is a tropical location in the Indian Ocean that is mainly affected by monsoonal weather as the rest of Tanzania. The expected rains are from November to May. November and December start with short spells of rain precipitating till around March, April and May. Notably the dry months are June, July, August, September and October. There is, however, a short dry spell in January and February. June to October and December to February is the ideal time to visit.  September to March is the ideal time for diving.