Mafia: superb diving, far from the crowds
A classic, off-the-beaten-track tropical island, Mafia provides the discerning visitor with a serene and exclusive hideaway, far removed from the crowds of Zanzibar. The largest island of the Mafia Archipelago, Mafia lies 120km / 75mi south of Dar es Salaam and is widely acknowledged as one of the best dive sites in the Indian Ocean. Diving equipment and logistics are provided by Mafia’s excellent lodges and staff will take you to remote beaches and pristine reefs. Go between late May and mid-October for the best weather; there’s rain between April and May and again in November while February and March can be very hot and humid.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The island is the third largest in Tanzanian ocean territory, but is not administratively included within the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, which has been politically separate since 1890. Mafia Island forms the major part of Mafia District, one of the six administrative districts in the Pwani coastal region.
While there is an Italian resort on the island, the name Mafia is not Italian. Its origin is unknown, but it probably comes from the Arabic morfieyeh, for group which refers to the archipelago. Portuguese maps and manuscripts from their earliest voyages at the end of the 15th century mark the island as “Monfia”
The easiest way to get to Mafia Island is on a plane. Coastal Aviation and Auric Air both offer multiple daily flights from Dar es Salaam, which take approximately 30 minutes. Budget travelers can also opt to travel to Mafia by ferry
A tiny island about a kilometre or half a mile north-east from Zanzibar Island
Lying 50km / 31mi north-east of Zanzibar is little-visited and largely undeveloped Pemba Island
A classic, off-the-beaten-track tropical island, Mafia provides the discerning visitor with a serene