The island of Mafia, although much less visited than Zanzibar, has nothing to envy.
This small island located in the south of Zanzibar is a world famous destination for scuba diving. This island of 48km long et 17km at widest point, has among the richest reefs in the world.
I went there at the end of May for 10 days. I had the chance to dive there and I was very surprised by theabundance of fish, colors and beautiful corals that we see there.
Mafia Island is experiencing a equatorial weather with two rainy seasons:
- March to May
- October to December
In Mafia it is quite possible to dive all year round. However, having experienced it myself, know thatit can be very difficult to dive in May. Indeed, between the Ramadan and rainy season, most (see all) of diving centers close during this month of May.
I personally took a week to find a solution to be able to go diving. The advantage of course is that we were the only diving boat on the whole island.
La best period to dive in Mafia is therefore:
- January and February
- July to September
For my part, I dived in Mafia at the end of May and I was lucky during my various trips to sea since the conditions were very good.
What is the temperature of the water in Mafia?
La temperature of the ocean changes depending on the period, however be sure that she remains very pleasant all year round due to equatorial weather.
It is possible to find a water at almost 30 ° C during the warmer months (January to March) and a temperature that drops to around 22 ° C to 24 ° C during the winter months, from July to September.
I personally dived at the end of May with a temperature of 27 ° C.
What is the price of a dive on Mafia Island?
Le price of a dive in Tanzania various in terms of different criteria:
- Le lieu chosen for diving
- Le club dive selected
- La need or not of rent equipment Diving
In general, diving clubs located in the same place will have similar rates.
In Mafia, given that there are few dive centers, the prices are a bit higher than in Zanzibar including.
In Mafia, count on average:
- An excursion in snorkeling: US $ 30
- Simple dive: US $ 65
- Double dive: US $ 100
- Equipment: US $ 25
- Certificate PADI Open Water: approximately US $ 500
He's important to note that there is a very personal peculiarity to Mafia. Indeed, keep in mind that when you want to dive in Mafia, given that the diving (as well as the diving centers) take place inside the protected national park, you must pay US $ 23 admission to enter in this reserve. This entry is valid for 24 hours so you will have to pay for this admission every day you want to go inside the national park. These entrance fees must also be paid if you choose a hotel that is located inside the park.
I prefer to tell you this because I have personally experienced it. I had booked a very inexpensive hotel (5 Tsh per night, which corresponds to 000euros) and this hotel was inside the park. The manager of the hotel with whom I had spoken before going there was careful not to inform me of these entrance fees that I had to pay.
Please also note that if you wish to pay by credit card (the establishment must also accept these bank cards), a commission of 4% will be automatically deducted by the Tanzanian bank. That whether or not you have subscribed to an international option with your bank in France.
The conditions to follow when diving in Mafia Island
In order to dive in all security, it is mandatory to rrespect certain rules. These rules will benefit both you and the protection of the seabed:
- Respect and follow the instructions of your instructor
- Do not throw anything in the sea: be it bottles, plastic, cigarette ends etc ...
- Do not touch anything underwater (both corals and fish)
What to see while diving in Mafia Island?
The Mafia seabed lies to be very rich.
We see especially:
- A rich and varied coral fauna,
- Manta rays, spotted and leopards,
- Reef sharks, or black tip, whale sharks,
- Many nudibranchs
How to choose your dive center in Mafia Island?
Le choice of a diving club does not should not be taken lightly since on that depends your security and the experience you will have in the water.
When you choose your dive center, it turns out be advised to:
- Favor an approved diving center: consider a structure approved or labeled by a known federation (FFESSM, PADI, SSI, etc.)
- Find out about the club: you can, for example, visit the website, contact the club or even look at the reviews and comments posted on the web.
Diving clubs in Mafia
Mafia Island dive clubs are not not very many. There are about four, many of which are attached to hotels.
The most famous are :
- mafia island diving
- Big Blu Dive Center
- Blue World Diving Center
All Diving Centers in Mafia are located inside the reserve Marine.
French-speaking diving clubs in Mafia
Among the Mafia diving clubs, it is possible to find French speaking instructors.
Le changing staff often in diving centers, I will recommend de contact the clubs before you go to Mafia to ask them if any staff speak French.
Be aware that in one of the clubs, the owner is Belgian, he therefore speaks French.
The best diving spots in Mafia
All Mafia dives are done in the Mafia Marine Park. This reserve, declared as such in 1995, covers an area of 821km2.
This reserve covers the southern part of Mafia Island as well as the small islands of Chole, Juani Jibondo and Bwejuu as well as the small neighboring islands.
La diving submarine is one of the most popular activities to Mafia.
Best Dive Spots in Chole Bay at Mafia Island
Mafia's most spectacular diving spots are in Chole Bay. This is a place accessible for all levels, for beginners as well as for experienced.
The depth of the spots varies between 5 and 30 meters.
Among the most beautiful diving spots, we find :
- Kinasi Pass: probably one of the most beautiful diving spots in Mafia. You can come across potato groupers and a huge variety of fish. It is a 12-meter pinnacle with caves housing beautiful wildlife.
- Kinasi Wall: covered with soft corals, this spot is frequented by many schools of fish such as barracudas, but also wrasse and turtles.
- Chole Wall: this spot is 5 to 17 meters deep. It is a huge wall of 800 meters. There are many corals and fish such as parrotfish, turtles, rays, fusiliers etc ...
- Milimani South: there are very beautiful and spectacular coral formations there. You can meet napoleons, fusiliers, moray eels etc. This diving spot is the favorite of many divers.
- Milimani North: This diving spot is suitable for all levels. The sandy bottom allows us to admire octopuses, frogfish and many others.
- Coral Gardens : this is an easy dive about 8 meters deep with beautiful corals. In particular, there are rays, wrasse, turtles etc.
The best diving spots outside Mafia Island Bay
The exterior of Chole Bay is reserved for the most experienced divers because of the strong currents.
Among the most beautiful sites outside the bay, we find:
- Dindini Northern Wall : this wall is 8 to 28 meters deep. There are caves, caves, and an arch. The fauna is varied and dense. You can see sharks, turtles, tuna and dolphins etc.
- Juani Reef: the spot descends to a depth of 26 meters. We see beautiful colorful corals and it is common to meet green turtles and many other fish.
The best diving spots along the Mafia Coast
He's possible, in Mafia, of dive from the edge. These dive spots are very popular with beginners. You can observe beautiful soft corals and it is here that the night dives take place.
The favorite spot in this area is Nudy city, the best known with a fantastic macro life.
Dive with whale sharks in Mafia Island
Mafia Island is, above all, known for whale shark encounters.
Many operators and dive centers offer these half-day expeditions.
Be aware, however, that the ideal time to dive with these giants of the oceans is between November and March.
Mafia Island offers a multitude of possibilities for diving. The seabed is quite simply exceptional, it feels like a giant aquarium. I highly recommend this destination for diving enthusiasts!
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