Mafia is one of the safest places in the Indian Ocean and there are no hustlers to spoil a holiday.
The Mafia Archipelago is scattered over the Indian Ocean 21 km off the Rufiji River Delta in central Tanzania. The largest of a score of islands, atolls and tidal sandbars, Mafia itself is approximately 50 km long by 15km across, and is surrounded by a barrier reef teeming with marine life. Almost half the coastline of Mafia, some 822km², has been gazette a marine park by the Government. To date over 50 genera of corals, more than 460 species of fish and five different species of turtles have been recorded in the waters around Chole Bay.
The major tourist activities are scuba diving, big game fishing, snorkeling, beach and offshore excursions. Mafia is a paradise for fishermen, divers and water sport lovers. The water is beautifully transparent on Mafia Island, and the variety of the coral permits an unimaginable quantity of fishes. The waters are unsurpassed in beauty, and there are fantastic views of the unspoiled coral reef. With its fine sandy beaches, swaying palms and lush vegetation, Mafia is the ideal spot to relax and unwind after a great African safari. 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 range of corals and fish like no other in the Indian Ocean, and diving and snorkeling sites are just a short boat ride away. Isolated islets and beaches, lagoons, coves and channels provide many private swimming and picnicking hideaways. Chole Bay is perfect for windsurfing and laser sailing. Bird-watching is excellent and very different to the mainland parks that guests may have visited. The tidal flats and mangroves are always alive with coastal and sea birds and there are many colorful woodland and forest species. There are also roosts of the unusual and fascinating giant Madagascan fruit bat to see on nearby Chole Island.
The population of the archipelago is approximately 40,000 living in 24 villages scattered throughout the main island, Jibondo, Juani and Chole islands. The people live in rustic fishing communities and farming villages. The majorities are Muslim but there are many Christians. Traditional religion also manifests itself in ritual dances linked to the lunar cycle.