Mafia Island

Mafia Island


Mafia Island, just south of Zanzibar.

Why now?

was once a remote paradise, it’s now a popular holiday
destination which can no longer honestly be described as ‘off the
beaten track’. Mafia, however, remains almost completely unspoilt –
super remote and with minimal infrastructure. Get there before
everyone else does. It goes without saying that the food is all
locally sourced and pretty incredible, with seafood coming straight
off the boat and cooked right in front of you. There’s some culture
too; if ruins are your thing, you can find some from the 12th
century and they’re undeniably beautiful. But honestly, go for the
miles and miles of white beaches with the blue, blue sea and not a
soul in sight. Most places to stay have little huts to sleep in
which open out onto the beach, while theres’s a charming eco
tree-house lodge for those after something more substantial.
Another reason to go now is because coral bleaching is starting due
to global warming.

When to go?

Just at the end of low season when weather is likely to be
pretty good but it’ll be totally empty. High season is around June
to March.

Most likely to bump into…

Erm. Maybe some farmers? Other than that, it really is
totally empty, other than perhaps a rogue adventurous
backpacker who’s made it across from Zanzibar.

Who to bring with you?

A pal who’s happy with one activity a day and will then spend
the rest of the time plonked next to you on a beach, eating fresh
fish, slurping on a cocktail and watching the sun go down. Not
someone who’s scared of spiders.

Don’t miss

The water inside the coral reef is a nature reserve and the
diving is amazing, though you can snorkel if scuba isn’t your thing
– get a boat out to underwater ruins where the fish are absolutely
incredible, and you’re likely to spot turtles too. Whale-shark
watching is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while there’s also
some pretty impressive birdlife. Our favourite, however, has got to
be the (very rare) pygmy hippos – no one is 100% sure whether they
really are pygmies or if they just haven’t had enough to eat so are
a bit small…

An essential to bring with you

A stargazing app like SkyView. It’s like being in a dome of stars
because there is no light pollution so you can see them all the way
down to the horizon.

How to get there

Coastal Aviation flights leave daily and take one hour from from

or the Selous and 45 minutes from Dar Es Salaam.

Discover More
Dead Sea, Jordan