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Mafia Island

Not home to a ravenous bunch of Italian mobsters but an idyllic set of islands, so off the beaten track, most of the world have no idea they exist.
Located 200 kilometers south of Zanzibar, the Mafia archipelago is Tanzania’s best kept secret with less than 7000 visitors each year.
Picture this: a sleepy archipelago, riddled with sandbanks, islets, coastal forests, mangrove forests, inland lagoons and kilometers of pristine coral reef.

Home to the oldest and largest marine protected area in Tanzania, resident whalesharks,
humpback whales, nesting turtles, ancient ruins and sweeping tropical flora.
All of Mafia’s water-based excursions are tide dependent which means that the types of activities available, departure times and ocean conditions such as visibility vary on a week-to-week basis. If your dates are flexible, get in touch with our team to plan the perfect trip.

About Mafia Island Diving

Our sister centre Mafia Island Diving is a multi-award winning, community focused, environmentally conscious dive centre located on Utende beach - moments away from the heart of the Mafia Island Marine Park.
Mafia Island Diving has been leading ocean exploration around the Mafia archipelago for more than a decade, offering guests personalized dive trips to unique sites and curating exciting excursions for non-divers too. If you're looking for a little slice of uncrowded paradise and unparalleled encounters in pristine natural surrounds – Mafia is for you!
The diver to guide ratio is never more than 4:1 and courses are taught on demand. Mafia Island Diving extend a ‘valet service’ to their guests: they’ll set up, load, unload, rinse, and store your equipment unless specifically asked to do otherwise.
They dive off traditional dhows – wooden sailing boats that have been exploring the coastlines of Africa for centuries. When the weather and dive sites are suitable, snorkelers are welcome to join on the same boat.
Mafia Island Diving founded their dive centre on the E-Nne approach (Employ, Educate, Equip, Empower) – hiring locally and providing capacity training through an in-depth apprenticeship program that has seen the investment in the professional scuba training of 16 Tanzanians over the past 9 years. Through various partnerships and initiatives Mafia Island Diving have extended scuba capacity training to the wider community as well, training more than 50 Tanzanians to various recreational diving levels.

About the Diving

All of Mafia’s water-based excursions are tide dependent which means that the types of activities available, departure times and ocean conditions such as visibility vary on a week-to-week basis.

All of Mafia’s dive sites are all found within 30 metres of the surface – making them the perfect playground for recreational divers.

Diving from the Shore

Home to the weird and the wonderful. You can see seahorses, frogfish, nudibranches, shrimps, crabs and all the strange critters people point out in fish I.D books and think “What is that thing!”. It is all about muck diving which means really keeping your nose to the ground and looking through seemingly uninspiring environments like sandy flats, dead weed and sea grass to find the most incredible critters. If you are looking to see a more traditional reef-scape, this area will definitely not wet your whistle. These dive sites are available all year round, take place from the shore and are aways for 1 dive. If the tide is is right, a night dive here is not to be missed!

Diving in Chole Bay

Chole Bay is home to the heart of the marine park and undoubtedly boasts the best coral and fish diversity in the archipelago. The hard coral formations here are unparalleled by any other area of Mafia’s underwater world and the sheer number and variety of fish is breathtaking. Each reef is unique and home to creatures great and small, from the tiniest banded cleaner shrimp to giant groupers and napoleon wrasse patrolling the reef tops. With nearly 500 species to encounter — Chole bay offers encounters with turtles, stingrays, barracuda, giant trevally, leaf fish, crocodile fish and much more.  These dives sites are available all year round, take place from a boat and are always for 2 dives unless specified otherwise. Visibility is tide dependent.

Diving outside Chole Bay

Dive sites outside of the bay are restricted to Advanced+ divers due to depth and dive conditions. Outside of Chole bay there are a handful of dive sites that include walls, reefs and some strong channels to drift through.  Marine life is less diverse outside of Chole bay. Regular encounters with green turtles, potato groupers and reef rays and if you look out into the blue you could be lucky enough to see some pelagic species. These dives sites are only available during the kaskazi wind season – usually from October through to March, take place from a boat, are extremely weather and tide dependent, and are always for 2 dives.

Full day diving trips

Fun for everyone, especially for families — when the weather and tides are suitable we can arrange full day trips to southern sandbanks and islets to dive/snorkel distant reefs and enjoy a picnic in true Robinson Crusoe style. In the right season this can also include watching humpback whales migrate past the archipelago with their young calves (August/September). While the quality of diving is not as spectacular as what we have in the heart of the marine park, the full-day-experience and sandbank BBQ is an unforgettable experience. These sites are only available during the calm winds and low tide and are always for 1 dive.

Non-diving adventures

Mafia Island is a true remnant of the old swahili coast — a timeless place unaffected by commercialism. You can be as adventurous or as laidback as you like whilst exploring all that the islands have to offer.
All of Mafia Island Diving’s excursions are guided and most are run off traditional dhows in an effort to blend in as much as possible with the unaltered, seafarers of Mafia. This signature boat of the archipelago has been uniquely transformed to offer you a safe and comfortable ocean-exploring adventure.
All of their excursions are designed to showcase Mafia in its true, natural beauty. Mafia Island Diving don’t believe in staging scenes or interfering with the natural environment. What you see is what they see, an unfiltered, unedited, first hand glance into Mafia; a sleepy set of islands that are bursting with colours, sights and sounds.

How to get there?

Mafia Island is accessible via Cessna caravan from Dar es Salaam.

For groups of 10+ it’s worth chartering direct flights from Zanzibar to Mafia.

For the adventurous, there is also the option of an irregular ferry service from Nyamisati.

Where to stay?

Mafia Island Diving works very closely with a variety of properties ranging from small guest houses to luxury private islands.

Get in touch with our team today to plan your bespoke trip or browse dive & stay offers below*
(*All packages are customizable)

This intimate and lovely  resort  is located on an old cashew and coconut plantation, providing a luxury stay amidst stylish decor and magnificent tropical surroundings. There is a swimming pool, snooker table, spa and wine cellar on site — as well as many more thoughtful touches to make your stay enjoyable. Located on a tidal beach, where swimming is possible on the high tide and inter-tidal exploring on the low. Kinasi has a total of 15 rooms, all featuring an en-suite bathroom, private terrace and decadent bed with a fitted mosquito net and fan.


USD 2720 per room  / 4 nights, 4 dives
USD 1496 per single traveler / 4 nights, 4 dives


Full board accommodation 
Airport transfers 
Marine Park fees & TDL 
Whaleshark snorkelling

Does not include:
Drinks, tips, items of a personal nature 
Equipment rental

Meremeta Lodge  is a family run lodge set amongst a beautiful, vibrant tropical garden. Located about 15
minutes walk from our centre, guests can explore the area on complimentary bicycles or opt for free car transfers to and from the beachfront.
All the rooms are decadently appointed with ACs, ensuite bathrooms, ample storage and a private outside
barazza. Order from a delicious and varied menu at their on-site restaurant and well-stocked bar.


USD 1926 per room  / 7 nights, 8 dives
USD 1158 per single traveler / 7 nights, 8 dives



Bed & breakfast, Wifi, tea, coffee, filtered water 
Airport transfers 
Dive centre transfers

Marine Park fees & TDL 
Whaleshark snorkelling

Does not include:
Lunch, Dinner, drinks, tips, items of a personal nature 
Equipment rental

A beautiful  boutique lodge  nestled amongst vibrant tropical gardens less than a minutes drive from
the beachfront. Towering palms, ancient mango trees and a variety of birds and butterflies make Kivulini Lodge a refuge for nature on Mafia. The Lodge features seven AC cooled rooms, all ensuite, with private veranda. Refresh yourself in the beautifully located swimming pool, order fresh fare from the on-site restaurant or an ice cold drink from their well-stocked bar.


USD 1760 per room  / 5 nights, 6 dives
USD 1030 per single traveler / 5 nights, 6 dives

Half board accommodation, Wifi, tea, coffee, filtered water
Airport transfers 
Dive centre transfers
Marine Park fees & TDL 
Whaleshark snorkelling

Does not include:
Dinner, drinks, tips, items of a personal nature 
Equipment rental


USD 000 per single traveler

USD 000 per room