Diving in Mafia Island
Almost all of Mafia's diving is at depths of less than 30 m. making it a sport diver's paradise. The reefs of the archipelago offer a staggeringly beautiful and varied display of marine life. The excellent condition and high diversity of the reefs stimulated the creation of the Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania's first. Examples of most kinds of tropical marine habitat occur here, including exposed fringing reefs, rock walls and soft coral and algae-dominated reefs. The diversity of animal and plant life is hard to match, with 48 genera of coral and 400 species of fish so far identified. All dives are extremely tide dependent and therefore departure times change slightly with every day. All our dive trips go by traditional dhow and wind allowing we hoist the sail for a lazy trip back, making the whole experience that more sweeter.
Here in Mafia we have 5 types of diving to offer...
The shore is an exceptional, relatively new discovery during some of our exploration of Chole Bay. This reef can be broken up into 3 sites. Nudi City, Frogfish Town and Chekechea. All these sites offer a staggering amount of macro life with beautiful soft corals on a healthy, juvenile reef at just 10 metres deep. We also do our night dives here as it allows us to be in close proximity of the hotel giving our clients the luxury of being able to slip away for a dive and be back in time for dinner. Examples of marine life you can find here are Nudibranches, Squids, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Spanish Dancers, Seahorses, Crocodile fish, harlequin shrimps, stingrays and Frogfish. We also get some slightly larger friends such as our resident lone barracuda – Leon and huge schools of trevally. This isalways a single dive and is tide dependent. It is the perfect choice for macro enthusiasts,photography fanatics and divers who need an easy shallow dive to get started.
INSIDE THE BAY DIVING
All but one of our dive sites inside the bay are open to all levels of divers. Each site offers its own identity with different fish species, size, topography and coral formations. Kinasi Pass, one of the most famous sites in Mafia is the only dive site restricted for Advanced Open Water Divers only. On the pass one has the opportunity to dive with our resident giant groupers – Jesus and Moses who have been left in the water by the local fisherman as they are now too big and chewy to eat. All the other reefs can be dived at a maximum depth of 18, but most of the time we dive at around 12 – 15 metres where all the life and best colours are. These dive trips always leave for a double tank dive and usually last around 4 and a half hours.
OUTSIDE THE BAY DIVING
All the diving East, Outside the bay is restricted for Advanced Open Water Divers only. The majority of these dive sites are wall dives and have an average depth of 18 metres and maximum of 25. Strong currents are quite often experienced here and therefore all our dives are planned to be drifts, we also experience big swell here which is not for the faint hearted. Each dive site delivers an exuberant amount of fish such as snappers, jacks, groupers, giant reef rays and the occasional sharks. These trips last a maximum of 6 and a half hours and are extremely weather dependent and rely on the tides. These dive trips always go for two dives.
We also have opportunities for full day diving trips to sandbanks on the southern outskirts of the archipelago. These adventures leave around 7am and arrive back around 6pm. They are extremely weather and tide dependent and require a minimum number of guests to be planned. These tripsì also incur dive site surcharges because of the distance. These sandbank reefs are suitable for both divers and snorkellers and are an excellent excursion to pair with whale watching during their migration season. Quite often we are also accompanied by dolphins and depending on the species we can attempt to swim alongside them. Depending on the tides and clients we plan these trips for single or double dives. The icing on top of the cake is having a BBQ lunch on the pristine white sandbanks, a true Robinson Crusoe experience with a splash of Mafian luxury.
A big part of our passion is exploring the unknown, stumbling upon new reefs, new species – big fish and little creatures. We invite our experienced divers to have the opportunity to embark on an underwater adventure of exploration. Although not guaranteed to find anything, the thrill of swimming into the blue over rubble never ceases to excite. This offer is for those who want to do something new or for those who have always fancied themselves as somewhat of a Cousteau. These rips are open to Advanced Open Water divers only with proof of at least 80 dives.