GUIDE ON MAFIA ISLAND IN TANZANIA
With the Rufiji River Delta on the western mainland of Tanzania and the expansive Indian Ocean on the east, Mafia Island has the distinction of hosting an incredible diversity of aquatic life, both flora, and fauna. The tepid, sheltered waters of the horseshoe-shaped bay are a superb habitat for an unbroken line of coral reef that houses an astonishing 460 species of fish.
This reef runs from Kifinge (Forbes Bay) on the north to Tutia in the south. On shore, the coast is rich with forests of fruit trees, mangroves, baobabs and palms that in turn host bushbabies, wild pigs, small antelopes, monkeys and interestingly, small numbers of hippos, and also varied tropical birds.
When vacationing on Mafia Island with AfricanMecca, you could explore the first marine park of Tanzania, the Mafia Island Marine Park, that is spread over an area of 317 square miles (822 square kilometers). Or spend time on the stunning pristine white beaches washed by the crystal azure waters of the Indian Ocean (read more on when is the best time to go to Mafia).
Accessible from mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar Island, Mafia features in historical accounts of the 8th century that speak of the island being used as a stopover by traders plying routes between Kilwa and Zanzibar, and all the way to Madagascar and Mozambique. The Omani merchants called it "Morfiyeh," meaning "collection" in relation to the archipelago while the Swahili dubbed it "mahali pa afya" meaning "a healthy abode." The present day term, Mafia is a derivative of these names.
This little island has not changed much over the centuries and as you will see on your exploratory trip to East Africa, even today its casual, relaxed atmosphere is preserved by ardent community efforts. They have also preserved remnants of that primeval era, and there are distinct archeological sites you can check out.
Another trace of its interesting history is the dhow-building industry and the boat yards that you can visit when touring Mafia Island. Here you can watch as dhows are built by hand from the naturally occurring wood on the island. Most of the islanders still ply their ancient trade of fishing and grow crops of coconuts, rice, cassava, pigeon peas, pineapples, cashew nuts, mangoes, beans, paw-paw and many more.
Weaving baskets and mats are other common trades. You will be touched by their friendly demeanor and the obvious pleasure with which they welcome guests holidaying in this part of eastern Tanzania (read more on where to stay in Mafia).
Join them on fishing trips around Mafia and in the deep waters channels of Lindi to Rufiji Delta, Njovi and Nyuni Islands, Songo Songo Islands and many more. Or go snorkeling and scuba diving in Chole Bay, that along with the outlying forests, beaches and isles all form part of the marine park. Bird lovers will find the island a sheer delight as they revel in countless, unusual bird sightings.
Mafia is a part of Tanzania that comprises of the three main islands – Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia and many other smaller islands; though, Pemba and Zanzibar are part of an independent governing institution. Mafia is the southernmost island that affords AfricanMecca guests with a superlative, discerning castaway location to spend an off-beat seaside holiday in Africa where there are few other visitors and a tranquil, serene ambience with breathtaking vistas.
Select Our Highly Recommended & Unique Designed 5 & 6 Days Mafia Island Beach Vacation By Destination & Accommodation You Want To Visit & Experience
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WHERE TO STAY IN MAFIA
Mafia Island has varied beach accommodations, from Chole Mjini's treehouse experience, Kinasi Lodge's stone walled cottages, Pole Pole's rustic bungalow suites to Mafia Island Lodge's value guest rooms.
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MAFIA TOURS & ATTRACTIONS
While you could spend your complete outdoor holiday in Mafia sunbathing in the powdery white sands or swimming in its azure waters, do take the time to explore its many fascinating, unspoiled treasures.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT MAFIA
Because of its siting close to the equator on the south, Mafia has a warm, pleasant year-round temperature without any extreme variability but with two wet seasons and two dry seasons like most of Tanzania.
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WANT TO VISIT ZANZIBAR?
An exquisite Indian Ocean jewel, off the east coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar or the Spice Island is a laid-back little settlement where history whispers and pristine beaches sooth your mind, body and soul.
What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWS
The Zanzibar Stone Town tour guide was superlative. He was outstanding and gave us undivided attention. We felt that was great value and to be escorted round the market place and slave stations was like walking in a living museum.
Viv & Kirsty Turner - KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
AfricanMecca Safaris created a remarkable honeymoon tailored to our interests and desires. The quality of service and delivery of experience was unsurpassed. I highly recommend AfricanMecca Safaris to honeymooners, families, or any traveler.
Noorin & Jason Nelson - Maryland, United States
Greetings to you and our most fervent thanks for a wonderful trip of Kenya, Zanzibar, South Africa & Victoria Falls. Everything went very well. This was truly a perfect vacation. Thank you so much for all your arrangements.
Adrienne & Barrie Carter - Canada
We have returned from our African adventure and would like to thank you very much for your part in making this such a wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to time the Great Migration from the Serengeti, which was amazing.
Denise Paterson - Belmont, Australia
Ras Nungwi was a beautiful property, the pristine white beach not more than forty feet from our lovely room, the Indian Ocean sublime. Raza, it was the vacation of a lifetime, again, thanks so much.
Jamie Davis & Liudmila Kondakova - California, United States
Dear Raza, I want to thank you for being the very best travel partner to design and arrange our spectacular trip to Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. I have already recommended you to several of my friends and colleagues.
Pat Bernard, Vice President, Global Channel Sales, Novell Corp - New Hampshire United States
EAST AFRICA SAFARI & BEACH BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR MAFIA IN EASTERN TANZANIA
When beach vacationing in Mafia, we recommend experiencing some of the surrounding Mafia Island attractions and tour activities after your Northern Tanzania safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti.
You may optionally extend out to offbeat parks in Southern and Western Tanzania such as Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha or Katavi ending with a chimpanzee trekking safari at Gombe or Mahale by the relaxing Lake Tanganyika.
MAFIA BEACH & ISLAND TOUR PLANNING DETAILS
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