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Must-See Dive Sites

Diving in Mafia Island

Water Temperature

When to go to Mafia Island

Diving is possible all year round, though the 'long rains' season lasts from March to May. Snorkeling can be done all year long around Chole Bay, and the best months for scuba diving are September to March. The water temperature varies from 25C/77F during the winter months to 30C/86F during the summer months. Air temperature varies from 22C/71F to 32C/89F. Visibility is good, 10-30m/32-98ft. Currents are medium to strong.

Scuba diving in Mafia Island

Mafia Island is the largest (50km long by 15km across) of the Tanzanian Zanzibar Archipelago. Mafia Airport is located here. There is a rich vegetation dominated by large palm groves, baobabs, mango and papaya trees. The island is home to bushbabies, wild pigs, genets, vervet monkeys and lots of sea birds nesting near the coast. Today Mafia is a well known scuba diving destination. It is teeming with marine life and pristine coral gardens which are under protection of the Mafia Island Marine Park, created to protect its reefs. Divers can explore exposed reefs, rock walls, soft coral and algae-dominated reefs. The area features over 48 species of coral, including giant table coral, whip coral, blue-tipped staghorn coral, and over 400 species of fish. Divers also have a chance to observe five different species of turtles and some whale sharks. Mafia’s most outstanding dive sites are situated within the sheltered cove of Chole Bay, at depths ranging from 5m/16ft to 30m/32ft and suitable for divers of all levels. Some of the more popular sites include Kinasi Pass (max depth 24m/78ft), Milimani South, Milimani North, Coral Islands and Chole Wall. Outside the bay, its entrance guarded by a long 20m/65ft coral wall, attracting more experienced divers there are such places as Kinasi Pass Islets, Mange reef and Kitutia. Night diving is amazing as focused on the many small reef species usually overlooked during the day. Mafia also has some challenging dives for advanced divers, as well as lots of sheltered bays and lagoons that are great for novice and intermediate divers.