Located 120km or a 20-minute flight south of Dar es Salaam, Mafia Island is one of the most exciting diving and fishing areas in the world. The major tourist activities are scuba diving, big game fishing, snorkeling, beach and offshore excursions; it is a paradise for fishermen, divers and water sport lovers. The water is beautifully transparent with fantastic views of the unspoiled coral reef; the variety of the coral permits an unimaginable quantity of fish, with diving and snorkeling sites just a short boat ride away.
Chole Bay and its surrounding forests and islands are now within the protected Mafia Island Marine Park. With its fine sandy beaches, swaying palms and lush vegetation, Mafia is the ideal spot to relax and unwind after a great African safari. 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 life 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
The coral reefs provide a spectacular habitat for over 400 species of fish and 48 genera of hard coral – a scuba divers paradise! What’s more, large predatory fish and turtles are extremely common and surprisingly unaffected by approaching divers.
In addition, sharks, guitar fish, turtles and basket sponges exist in the waters and there are many large pelagic, including sailfish, giant tuna and dolphins. Last but not least,
Mafia Island Marine Park also acts as a critical habitat for the highly threatened dugong (Dugong dugon), a species of manatee. Endangered sea turtles of which two species (green turtle and hawks bill turtle) nest in the marine park as well as.
The Marine Park is also home to giant but gentle whale sharks. Visitors are most likely to see these stunning creatures in the period between October and March. Because of their peaceful nature, it is possible to swim with whale sharks, one of the most exciting encounters one can experience at the Mafia Island Marine Park.