Mafia Island

Mafia Island is a perfect and silent escape from the fast pace and busy daily life. This island is still pure and one of the untouched with no tarmac roads and few tourists. It looks like Zanzibar a few decades ago but slightly different at some point. The atmosphere is relaxed and the natives are very friendly.

The island is surrounded by some of the richest coral reefs in the world. Almost half of Mafia’s coastline is part of Mafia Island Marine Park, a nature park, full of coral reef, mangrove forest and lagoons. This is the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean. The barrier reef, with 50 different corals and more than 460 species of fish, is a dream to divers and snorkelers. Mafia’s incredible and pure dive spots have remained a well-kept secret.

Since much of the island is surrounded by mangroves, the deserted beaches are not as wide as the ones in Zanzibar, but still beautiful. The dazzling marine life is the main feature of the island.  This is the place to spot humpback whales, turtles and the biggest fish on earth, the whale shark. Mafia Island is a unique place for travelers and honeymooners to unwind after their Tanzania Safari.

Where is Mafia Island?

This is a question everyone asks, of course….! Mafia Island (“Chole Shamba”) is an island in Tanzania sitting as one of the six districts of the Pwani Region. This island is governed from the mainland, not from the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, of which it has never been considered to be a part politically.

Geographically, the Mafia archipelago consists of one large island that covers 394 square kilometers piece of land and several smaller ones. Some of the smaller ones are inhabited, such as Chole Island covering roughly 2 square kilometers, with a population of roughly 1415. Chole Bay, Mafia’s protected deep-water port and original harbour, is surrounded with islands, sandbanks and the beautiful beaches in the country. In addition of the wonderful sand bank excursion done by many, mafia has some of the very best beaches in East Africa. Remember this when you step down your flight, being in Mafia we do not want you to “BAKE” but we rather want you to enjoy the delightful sand banks and other Mafia’s great tourism spots which you will often have them all to yourself.

How do you get to Mafia Island?

To reach mafia one no longer sails as the first option, but rather take a flight in light aircraft from Dar-es-Salaam or Zanzibar, or one of the game parks such as the Nyerere National Park. Coastal aviation and auric air both offer multiple daily flights, which take approximately 30-50 minutes.  The experience is fantastic, with great views of the African bush and coastline.


How far is Mafia Island from Zanzibar?

The distance between Zanzibar City and Mafia Island is 198 km. It takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes flight from Zanzibar and Dar-es-salaam respectively

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