Mafia Island

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Mafia Island is a tropical paradise located off the coast of Tanzania, in East Africa. It’s an idyllic destination with white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush greenery. The island is part of the Mafia Archipelago, which includes several smaller islands and islets, and is surrounded by a marine park that boasts some of the richest coral reefs in the world.

The island has a rich history, having been ruled by Arab sultans, Portuguese explorers, and German and British colonizers. It was also a hub for the slave trade in the 19th century. Today, Mafia Island is a peaceful and welcoming destination, with a small population of friendly locals who make their living from fishing and tourism.

Despite its small size, Mafia Island offers a range of activities for visitors, from diving and snorkeling to birdwatching and cultural tours. The island is easily accessible by boat or plane, and visitors can choose from a variety of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to simple guesthouses.

Things to do

Diving and snorkeling

Mafia Island is known for its spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities. The waters around the island are home to a variety of marine life, including colorful coral reefs, turtles, dolphins, whale sharks, and more. There are several dive centers on the island that offer courses and guided dives for all levels of experience.

Beach Vacations

The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Tanzania, with white sand, crystal-clear waters, and swaying palm trees. Visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the sea, or take a boat trip to one of the nearby islands.

Cultural tours

Mafia Island has a rich history and culture, and visitors can learn about it by taking a tour of the local villages and historical sites. The island is home to several ruins from the Swahili era, as well as a 19th-century slave market.


The island is a haven for birdwatchers, with over 150 species of birds found here, including several endemic species. Visitors can take a guided tour to see birds such as the Pemba scops owl, the Böhm’s bee-eater, and the Fischer’s turaco.

Sport fishing

Mafia Island is known for its excellent sport fishing opportunities, with several species of fish, including marlin, sailfish, and tuna, found in the waters around the island. Visitors can charter a boat and try their luck at catching a big one.

When to visit?

The best time to visit Mafia Island is between June and October, when the weather is dry and sunny, and the sea is calm. During this time, the visibility for diving and snorkeling is excellent, and the chances of seeing whale sharks and other marine life are high.

The rainy season runs from November to May, and although it’s still possible to visit during this time, the weather can be unpredictable, and the sea can be rough. However, this is a great time to visit if you’re interested in birdwatching, as many migratory birds arrive on the island during this time.

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