Mafia Island, and nearby Jibondo, Juani and Chole islands form the most southerly archipelago of islands on the Tanzanian coast, at the mouth of the Rufiji river delta. Here you will find relaxed and unspoilt beaches as well as world-class deep sea diving and superb dive sites.
Mafia Island is about ½ the size of Zanzibar, and like Zanzibar, is a raise portion of the contintental shelf, not a coral island. At its highest point it is only about 200m above sea level. Once covered in palm and cashew plantations and worked by slaves, today’s local fishing and farming communities live a lifestyle that has remained essentially unchanged for generations.
Mafia Island is the site of Tanzania’s first Marine Park, which covers the southern half of the island. Within the boundaries of the Marine Park is one of the most important marine habitats in the world, which includes mangroves, sea-grass beds, coral reefs, inter-tidal reef flats, lagoons and coastal forests. It is home to the peaceful dugong (sea cows or manatees), and a breeding ground for giant and green turtles.
Accommodation on Mafia Island is still exclusive in small, luxury lodges for the discerning traveller. Whether you prefer a thatched cottage, or a tree house overlooking the beach, standards of service, accommodation and cuisine are excellent.
Traditionally part of the Zanzibar archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a unique and popular destination in its own right. For centuries Pemba Island has been renowned for its clove plantations and spice fields, and this green and pretty island is lush with clove and mango trees, coconut palms and dense mangrove forests.
The waters off Pemba Island provide some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel drops off to depths of 2000m between the island and the mainland. Experienced divers can enjoy superb wall and drift dives, as well as world class open water diving opportunities. The diversity of marine life and coral in these pristine waters are truly exceptional.
Deep sea fishing is superb in the Pemba Channel, where huge tuna, shark and barracuda have been recorded.
Pemba Island accommodation tends to be in small, exotic and romantic upmarket lodges catering for discerning travellers. These island hideaways are truly the epitome of rustic chic, offering something for everyone.