Mafia Island is set off the coast of central Tanzania, 20 kms from the Rufiji River Delta. This quiet island offers diving and snorkeling, the whole island is surrounded by an unbroken barrier reef. The diving here is some of the best the world has to offer. Game fishing, forest walks, bird watching (with over 120 bird species) and deserted beaches make Mafia a truly magic place to visit.
Mafia is the largest island in this archipelago, which is made up of many smaller islands atolls and tidal sandbars. There are no tar roads here and the whole island is locked in a time warp. If you desire to escape from the madding crowd and relax away from the hectic world Mafia is your paradise.
The island is 50 kms long and 15 kms wide. The barrier reef that surrounds the island is teaming with marine life. There are over 400 species of tropical fish in these reefs as well as five species of turtles. The coral gardens and coral heads are spectacular and with walls at various levels give the diver, either beginner or more experienced a profusion of underwater habitats to explore; PADI training is available in some of the hotels.
The island has thriving tidal mangroves, palm wooded grassland and lowland rainforest – with the huge Baobab also found here. The Chunguruma Forest has a dense canopy interlaced with palms, with the floor of the forest carpeted with ferns; there are four endemic species of butterfly here. The center of the island is dotted with a series of reed lined lakes, which are home to a number of small hippopotami. These lakes are thought to have once been lagoons that became land locked thousands of years ago. The island has a colony of flying foxes, bush babies, monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards.
Enjoy some of the best snorkeling off the East African coast and explore many coral reefs that are teaming with tropical marine life. The Park is also a paradise for sailing from island to island in native boats. On land, the rich variety of vegetation is dominated by large palm groves. In some areas baobab trees dot the typical African savannah. There are also fruit trees in many areas, mainly mango and cashew trees.