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Mafia Island Guide

Although carrying a name Tanzania mafia islands are far from menacing but a piece of heaven on earth. 

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Despite the name, Mafia Island in Tanzania is mafia-free and a piece of heaven on earth. The island has a lot of fascinating scenery, colorful aquatic creatures, exotic beaches, local fishery culture and so much more on this tropical island. 


Situated along the edges of Tanzania, it depends mainly on fishing and subsistence agriculture to sustain its existence. 

A Glance at History


A historical island with its history dating back to the 8th century the island once played a pivotal and crucial role in facilitating the trade between the people of East Asia and East Africa. It served as a connecting point between the Populus of both ancient civilizations. 


As a result of a treaty signed 1890, Mafia Island fell under the control of Germany. The traces of the once existent German structures still standing to this very day. With financial help in 199, the island put its first mark on the international plane with the establishment of the very first marine park in Tanzania. 


Nowadays the exotic island of Mafia is not only a model example of how an exotic island should look like, but it is also filled with effective long term fisheries and a very hospitable and welcoming community waiting to greet you with open arms and wide smiles.

How to Get There


Mafia Island is easily accessible. You can get there from Dar es Salaam by a 30 minute flight after your international flight in Dar es Salaam.




Mafia Island experiences two dry seasons. The first dry season is the cool one which takes place from July to October. Since it is the time of summer vacation in the west, the area sees increased visitors during that time. 


The hot dry season lasts from January to February, coinciding with winter in America and Europe. This is also a preferred time to enjoy the warm climate. 


The island has two wet seasons. The first is the long season which begins in March to June, peaking in April and May. 


The short one is from November to December. It is not recommended to engage in water activities such as snorkeling and diving during the wet season in Mafia Island. 


Best Time to Visit


Generally, the best time to visit Mafia Island is during the dry season from July to October. It is when the weather is dry and sunny with no rain.

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Things to Do in Mafia Island


1- Scuba Diving


Scuba diving is the most popular activity to do while being in Mafia Island. Almost half of the coastline is protected by Mafia Island Marine Park. This is a chance to enjoy more than 460 species of tropical fish, five species of turtle along with a collection of hard and soft corals.  


You can witness whale sharks from September to March in Mafia during their annual migration. 


2- Fishing 


The island is pretty rich with sea treasures attracting fishing lovers. Take a trip to the atolls, reefs and seamounts beyond the Marine Park and you will have the opportunity to catch various species including wahoo, tuna, giant trevallies and sailfish. 


3- Watersports


Watersports are very enjoyable activities in Mafia Island. Snorkeling is the most popular and enjoyable one due to the shallow reefs. Sea kayak is a great way to discover the island’s tidal mangrove forests.   


4- Wildlife Viewing


Not only does the island offer water activities, but also it provides wildlife viewing. The island is home to a variety of habitats. You can enjoy the wilderness on foot and come closer to monkeys, flying foxes and lizards, squirrels, and over 120 of bird species. 


Humpback whales are spotted in September and August, during their migration past the island. Baby Turtles can be spotted during June and September.