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Mafia Island National Park

Explore Mafia Island National Park in Tanzania

Established in 1995, Mafia Island Marine Park features among the very few most attractive natural wonders in Tanzania. It was established mainly to offer refuge to most of its archipelago reefs. This park covers an area of about 821 square kilometres and it is situated on the southeastern side of Mafia Island.

Within Chole Bay, the shallow reefs feature as the best areas for you to engage in snorkelling experiences while on safari in Tanzania or if you want to learn how to dive. Outside the bay, there is an entrance that is protected by a long coral wall, attracting most experienced divers.

About 50 distinct types of coral reefs are found at the park including the giant table corals, huge stands of blue-tipped staghorn corals and over 400 fish species. Mafia Island National Park is undeniably one of the perfect places that you should pay a visit for diving experiences.

It rewards you with interesting sights of the rainbow-coloured clownfish to octopus, rays and the odd gigantic grouper or large potato cod. Sharks and dolphins also exist in this park as well as turtles that you can easily spot out at night hauling themselves onto the remote beaches to nest. Given the local winds and currents dive spots that are outside the bay are usually accessible from mid-September to the end of February.

Mafia Island features as one of the 5 (five) sleepy, tropical island that is clustered together in the Indian Ocean that is famous as the Mafia Archipelago. They are found about half to an hour flight away from Dar-es-salaam and compared to Zanzibar they are relatively famous and yet they offer authentic experiences for beach lovers.

Upon arrival at Mafia’s small airport, it is clear that the pace of life is slow at this point; there are recently paved routes that take you via the sandy laned, one street capital of Kilindoni then pave the way to farming and fishing villages.

Diving: Mafia Island Tanzania

Diving: Mafia Island Tanzania

At the coast, there are mostly mangrove forests just a short coverage of golden beach and stunning turquoise sea. Sleepy dhows also float between the islands. All the Archipelagos at Mafia consist of Mafia, Juani, Chole, Jibondo and Bwejuu that feature the most spectacular vegetation and wildlife species with coconut palms, cashews, mangos, papaya trees, baobabs and many more.

They offer refuge to most of the bush babies, blue duikers, genets, vervet monkeys, wild dogs and Pteropus fruit bats. At the coast, the mangrove forests and tidal flats attract countless sea birds. Once you cross Mafia Island Marine National Park, you will be required to pay a daily fee earlier based on your party and how long you hope to be there.

Where to stay at Mafia Island Marine National Park

This park features about 5 lodges; Kinasi Lodge and Pole Pole with each of them featuring a tiny section of beach in front with mangroves. Kinasi Lodge comprises of 14 rooms spaced around a landscaped hillside with palm trees.

Welcome to Pole Pole Lodge

Welcome to Pole Pole Lodge

It is well furnished with antiques and chairs made mainly for the lodge. Pole Pole is a sleepy small lodge with 7 well pointed wooden bungalows overviewing the Chole bay. It is perfect for you to chill out, snorkel, dive or go for a massage. There is also Shamba Kilole an amazing lodge with incredible atmosphere and best for diving, as well as Butiama beach lodge, Chole Mjini Lodge and others.

Lastly, Mafia Island Marine Park features among the most spectacular marine parks that reward visitors with amazing experiences especially with its unique safari activities like snorkelling, diving and many more.