Mafia is renowned as a world-class diving destination, with some of the richest reefs in the world, The park covers the Southern part of Mafia Island and includes the inhabited islands of Chole, Juani Jibondo and Bwejuu, along with several uninhabited islets and the waters around them.
Mafia Island and its chain of small islets stand approximately 120 km south of Dar es Salaam. To the east of Mafia Island is the wide open Indian Ocean. The main island of Mafia is about 48 km long and 17 km wide at its widest point. Several smaller islands and islets are scattered to the west and south.
Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP) consists of eight small reserves along the Tanzanian coast. Two of these reserves are in what is now the Mafia Island Marine Park (MIMP), namely Chole Bay and Kitutia Reef.
What You’ll See
Mafia Island is home to some of the clearest waters and one of the few remaining reefs within Tanzania’s coastal waters.
The marine park area at Mafia Island extends across some 822 square kilometers, more than 75% of it below the high water mark. The area hosts an outstanding mosaic of tropical marine habitats, including coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangroves and inter-tidal flats. In addition, a remnant block of threatened lowland coastal forest survives along the eastern seaboard of the island, roughly half of it within the marine park boundary.
Mafia’s beaches are also home to two species of sea turtle and have been recognized internationally as a critical site for biodiversity.
Visitors can also visit several sites of historic ruins within the marine park. Some of these sites date back to the thirteenth century.
The waters surround Mafia Island are some of the least contaminated in Tanzania. This is owing to its distance from the mainland as well as the island’s lack of industrial development.
The marine park on the island is cherished nationally as one of the few remaining reef complexes in good condition off the coast of Tanzania.
Source: Tanzania Tourist Board
Header Image Source: Mafia Island