Mafia Island

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Mafia Island lies in the Indian Ocean, opposite the Rufiji Delta. The island was a regular stop for 2000 years for Arab and Persian dhows plying the coastal waters from the Gulf to Madagascar and Mozambique. Chole Bay, Mafia's protected deep-water anchorage and the original harbor, is studded with islands, sandbanks and beaches. The clear, protected waters offer wonderful snorkeling, sailing and swimming. Outside the Bay unbroken reef runs the length of the island, from Tutia in the south to Ras Mkumbi at the northern tip.

Mafia is little changed from ancient times and retains a traditional, friendly culture. Chole Bay and its surrounding forests and islands are now within the protected Mafia Island Marine Park, supported with assistance from the World Wide Fund for Nature. The reefs offer a beautiful range of corals and fish, which makes them excellent for diving and snorkeling. Isolated islets and beaches, lagoons, coves and channels provide many private swimming, fishing and picnicking hideaways. Chole Bay, is perfect for windsurfing and laser sailing.

Bird-watching is excellent and very different to the mainland of Tanzania. The tidal flats and mangroves are always alive with coastal and sea birds and there are many colorful woodland and forest species.

There are numerous villages, historic archaeological sites, coastal forests, coconut plantations and traditional boat-building yards on Mafia Island.

The island is a short aircraft flight from Dar es Salaam, the Selous Game Reserve or Zanzibar. It also has boat connections with the mainland, as well as Zanzibar. Hotels and restaurants are scattered all over the island.


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