Mafia Island is the third largest island of the Zanzibar archipelago with an estimated land area of 435km2. Mafia’s protected deep-water anchorage and original harbour, is studded with islands, sandbanks and beaches. The Mafia archipelago is an oasis of authentic arabic-swahili culture, jungle green lush vegetation and turquoise blue-green ocean. Derived from the Swahili phrase “Mahali pa Afya”, meaning ‘a healthy dwelling place’, Mafia island, with its permanent tropical climate, is diverse and fascinating, and truly one authentically unique holiday destinations off the East African Coast.
Historically, the Island goes way back to the 8th century when the island played a key role in the archaic trade between East Asia and East Africa being a conventional stop for the Arabian boats. A tiny island off the main island bay harbored an important settlement that controlled the silver trade from Eastern Zimbabwe. History has it that on the mid 1820’s an attack fostered by cannibals of the Sakalava People from Madagascar was launched at the town of Kua with 80 canoes, victualing many of the locals and taking the rest into slavery. In 1890, Germany took control of the island after paying off a lump sum of money to the sultan of Zanzibar but later surmounted by the British in 1915 as a base for air and sea assault.
Mafia island is home the to the first marine park in Tanzania established in 1995 propelled by a seascape project to improve socio-economic salubrity of the communities through the sustainable, participatory and equitable utilization and protection of their natural resources.
Found within the island are dramatic natural scenery, towering landscapes, tropical forests, and a people that are welcoming and hospitable, reflecting the laid-back culture of the Swahili people.
Mafia Island is not your typical beach holiday destination, this is a location to go out and explore, immerse in local aliment and culture or find solitude strolling through the prestigious beaches of the magnificent island.
If you are seeking a relaxing holiday, Mafia Island boasts world-class hotels, a glorious climate and a gregarious atmosphere, while offering exceptional value for money.
Mafia island is defined by a tropical climate with an average temperature of 26.7 °C. There is one major rain season, with most rainfall coming between March and May. The dry season spans between July to October.
From affordable self-catering chalets, minuscule hotels through to luxury private island properties, Mafia has an abundance of accommodation options to suit any budget or desire. From seaside resorts to inland recedes, there is something for everyone in Mafia.
- Mafia Island Diving
- Big Blu Mafia Island Dive Centre
- Afro Whale Shark Safari
- Mafia Whale Shark
BY AIR: Scheduled daily flights are available connecting Mafia with Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba, Arusha, Selous Game Reserve, the Northern Parks and Tanga.