The moment you get close to the gates of Mafia Island Marine Park, you will just know and feel that you are in a different Planet. This is an area where the marine ecosystems, marine life, sandy beaches and the Tropical sun will all collude to offer you an unforgettable safari experience. Unlike most National Parks you will visit in Tanzania, you will have an extraordinary experience when you visit Mafia Island Marine Park where you will see extraordinary Marine life during your safari. It is classified as a multi-use area to help local communities in developing sustainable practices in conservation and use of resources co-currently.
Mafia Marine National Park was established in 1995 to protect the magnificent Archipelago’s reefs. Extending for an area of 821 square kilometres, this extensive Marine Protected Area is found within Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean, south-east of Zanzibar Island. Mafia Island is one of the five Tropical and remote islands clustered together in this Ocean referred to as the Mafia Archipelago.
This Island includes the mafia Channel and Rufiji River Delta and comprises of coral reefs, estuarine, mangrove and other marine ecosystems. Other Islands within this Archipelago include Juani, Bwejuu, Chole and Jibondo, all with verdant vegetation comprising of the papaya tree, coconut palms, cashews, mangoes and baobabs, wildlife and bird species.
Mafia Island Marine Park is a biodiversity hot spot for marine attractions, the fact that it is a haven to the Dugong, sea turtles including the Hawksbill Turtles, Olive Ridley turtles, leatherback sea turtle and Loggerhead sea turtles among others. There are also more than 50 species of corals including the giant Staghorn corals, table corals in addition to over 400 species of fish.
The forests in this Island are havens to outstanding animals such as blue duikers, bush babies, genets, wild pigs, vervet monkeys, the Pteropus fruit bats, black and white colobus monkeys, flying foxes and many others in addition to the numerous sea birds attracted to the mangrove forests and tidal flats. Also, Dolphins and Sharks can be spotted in the deeper waters while the night turtles always visit the remote beaches to nest.
Activities to enjoy within this Marine Park
Mafia Island Marine Park is one of Tanzania’s most exciting places for diving where you can see interesting species such as the rainbow-coloured clownfish, octopus, sharks and Dolphins. Diving is considered one of the best ways of exploring this Park and you can go with one of the Chole Bay dive operators. However, note that most of the dive sites outside the Chole Bay are safely accessibly from mid-September to the end of February.
Other activities you will participate in include picnicking, snorkelling, sailing, guided nature walks within the forests and bird watching.
Where to Stay?
There are few accommodation facilities here, and most of them are found on two Islands and they include Chole Mjini Lodge (in Chole Island), Kinasi Lodge (the Park’s most spectacular Lodge), Shamba Kilole, Pole pole Lodge and Butiama Beach Lodge.
How to get to Mafia Island?
This Island is between 30 and 60 minutes’ flight from Dar es Salaam and while compared to Zanzibar Island, the Island is relatively unknown by tourists thus maintaining its authentic appearance and if you are looking for an undisturbed beach holiday, then this is your place to be.
To visit Mafia Island Marine Park, 4×4 Tanzania can assist you to plan your trip, and to other parts of Tanzania. You can rent a 4×4 car in Dar-es-salaam with us to enable you to drive your own adventure.