Mafia Beach Holidays
Mafia Island is the largest of a small archipelago of islands and atolls and is truly a paradise in the Indian Ocean. It is the southern most of three islands (Pemba & Zanzibar) located off the coast of Tanzania. 25kms from the mainland and 130kms from Dar es Salaam, it is reachable by light aircraft in 35 minutes or 45 minutes from Zanzibar and the Selous Game Reserve.
The resident population of 46,000 are mainly fishermen or smallholder farmers that grow coconut, paw-paw, rice and cassava. The islanders are friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere relaxed and laid-back.
The dominant religion is moderate Islam and both christians and muslims live in peace and harmony. The air and sea temperatures remain warm all year round with the rainy season between April to June.
Today Mafia is known as a beautiful Indian Ocean tropical resort that is famous for deep sea fishing and scuba diving. Aquatic life is abundant and the coral gardens are pristine due to the protection of the Mafia Island Marine Park. The park is located between the Rufiji River delta to the west and the open Indian Ocean to the east.
The dual influences of the river and the sea have combined to create a rich and exceptional biodiversity with unique landscapes under the sea and on dry land. It is a unique and perfect destination as part of a safari package or simply a place to unwind and get away from the daily, modern and busy world.
For centuries, the island was a trading stop for Shirazi merchants travelling up towards Persia and under the rule of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar, vast coconut and cashew plantations flourished. Today, all that remain of the island’s prestigious past are the coral ruins on Chole Mjini, the small island just off shore from Mafia where the Arab landowners lived a sumptuous life after being removed from their plantations and slaves.
These days, Mafia’s remote location means it receives only the most selective visitors, but things are changing. The recent gazetting of Mafia Island Marine Park as the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean and includes surrounding villages in its conservation efforts means that the millions of fish and coral species that thrive in the warm waters of Mafia’s beaches will survive for decades to come.