Mafia Island

Mafia Island

Mafia Island (“Chole Shamba”) is part of the Tanzanian Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Unguja, Pemba and Latham Island.  Mafia Island is a popular destination for visitors to relax after their safari and the Island’s relaxed and secluded Beaches offer privacy and comfort for discerning Travellers. Mafia’s incredible and un-spoilt dive sites have remained a well-kept secret of diving aficionados and beach recluses for years, but now the island is fast becoming a preferred destination.

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 land owners 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.

Mafia Island tanzania


Mafia Island and its reefs are renowned as an excellent, world-class diving destination. Scientists have confirmed that Mafia has some of the richest reefs in the world, with an unparalleled variety of hard and soft corals and diversity of tropical fish.

The terrestrial and reef ecosystems are fascinating and over the years we have spent a great deal of time to research these aspects of the islands and ensure that our snorkeling and scuba trips give visitors an unforgettable experience. The diving here is truly World-class with a vast variety of corals and fish; being a breeding ground the Bay is alwayss full of shoals of fish.

And to enhance your stay with us we have guided walks and nature trails to enjoy the native
trees, animals and birdlife, cultural visits to villages to understand local village life and watch skilled craftsmen at work, sailing in traditional dhows and ngalawas, and fantastic day picnic trips to outer islands, sand banks and beaches.

The Mafia Archipelago hosts antiquities dating back to the Eleventh Century, including ruins at Kisimani Mafia, Kanga, Kua on Juani Island and Chole Island. These include a beautiful, barrel-vaulted mosque of the Fifteenth Century and a number of well-preserved buildings of the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, providing great interest for the methods of construction and the ancient architecture.

We make guided excursions to examine these for those interested in history, ancient trade and the promise of new discoveries.

Friendly people are one of the greatest attractions on any holiday and you will soon
realise that, as for all of East Africa, the people of Mafia are extremely friendly, self-confident but humble, and always ready for a laugh. A lasting memory you will take away is how happy and spontaneous people are.

Most of all Mafia is wonderfully peaceful and calming and a perfect place to find your feet again….

It may be realized by now, that tourists looking for night life, Mafia is not the place to come! Unless of course you wish to include night dives, dinners on the beach, star-gazing. And don’t forget that by the time you have finished the day, evening cocktails and a splendid dinner, we bet you won’t have much energy left to waste!

The sand is white and pure and one can always swim, despite tidal changes and the complete isolation from any other tourist facility or commercial activity of any kind. Solitude, nature, complete relaxation.