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Mafia Island is part of Tanzania's Mafia Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean. It is one of the five sleepy, tropical islands which are clustered together in the Indian Ocean. The Island is located in the magnificent southern circuit of Tanzania and Zanzibar and is part of a fascinating array of parks, wildlife reserves and Indian Ocean islands.

The Island is one of the six districts of the Pwani Region and it is governed from the Tanzania mainland. The main town of the Mafia Island is called Kilindoni. Mafia Island is renowned as an excellent world-class diving destination with some of the richest reefs in the world. It is a peaceful retreat with pristine diving and snorkeling spots that are home to a colorful array of ocean dwellers, including the whale shark.

The Mafia Archipelago is scattered over the Indian Ocean 21 km off the Rufiji River Delta in central Tanzania. These 5 islands include Mafia, Chole, Jibondo, Juani and Bwejuu, Mafia itself is approximately 50 km long by 15km across, and is surrounded by a barrier reef teeming with marine life.

Mafia has a prominent place in the history of the East Coast of Africa. It was part of the sultanate of Kilwa and prospered as a settlement during Kilwa’s rise as an economic power. The island played a major role in ancient trade between the people of East Asia and East Africa. It was a regular stop and safe place for Arab ships to stop for water and for repairs.

In 1995 the Mafia Island Marine Park was created to protect the archipelago’s reefs. Habitats in the area of the Mafia Island Marine Park include hard coral dominated reefs, soft coral and algal dominated reefs, sheltered back reef systems, inter-tidal flats with hard and soft substrate, mangrove forests, over 400 species of fish, extensive seagrass beds, algal, sponge and soft coral sub-tidal beds.

There is another dreamy island in the Mafia Archipelago known as Thanda Island. This small island is situated in its own marine reserve (Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve). This Island is one of the world’s most exclusive island getaways, where you can enjoy in complete privacy with family and friends. It is surrounded by coral reefs, which protect Thanda Island from massive waves and heavy seas.

Boats depart daily from the village of Nyamisati on the mainland to Kilindoni on Mafia Island. The journey takes about 4.5 hours. The island also can be reached from Dar es Salaam by flight.



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