Mafia Island is in the Indian Ocean. It is about 25km away from the estuary of the Rufiji River (on the Tanzanian coast), about 120km away from Dar es Saalam and it is south of Zanzibar.
It is 48km long and 17km wide. Its beaches are still very wild. Its territory is largely uninhabited and covered with beautiful palm trees and mangroves. Thanks to the establishment of the Marine Park, the coral reef is still uncontaminated, the seabed is rich and fascinating.
In Mafia it is easy, in season, to spot humpback whales and swim with whale sharks. A short distance away there are many sand banks emerging during low tide, creating enchanting environment where to relax for a while. Kilindoni, its capital, is still a fishing village.
Mafia Island has a tropical climate. The average temperature in the city of Kilindoni is 26.7 ° C (80.1 ° F).
In a year, the average rainfall is 1,705 mm. Average monthly temperatures are generally between 24.8 and 28.3 ° C (76.6–82.9 ° F). Between March and May there is a great rainy season.
The dry season runs from July to October.
Also known as Chole Samba, the origins of its name are still uncertain. It seems to derive from Morfiyeh, an Arabic word, which means "group" or "archipelago" or from Mahalia pa afya a local sentence meaning "Place of health" The island is part of the Mafia archipelago together with Chole, Juani and Jibondo and is mentioned already in the 8th century.
It was of fundamental importance in the trade between Asia and East Africa when ships from the Far East stopped there regularly. Towards the end of 1820, the island of Juani was attacked by about 80 canoes from Madagascar led by the Sakalavas (a Malagasy tribe). The Sakalavas, cannibal, ate many of the locals and enslaved the rest.
With the treaty of 1890 the Germans took control of Mafia by paying the current sultan to acquire ownership (together with Zanzibar and a large part of the mainland coast) and built a fort on Chole Island, which is still visible next to the ruins of the sultan palace. In 1955, thanks to financial assistance from the WWF, it was able to create a center for the protection and study of marine wildlife. The project also had the goal of supporting local communities.
Since 1975 fishing has been regulated in all 8 small reserves of the archipelago. In 1995 the multi-user marine park was officially established.
The inhabitants of Mafia are mainly fishermen.
The beaches are used by two species of sea turtles that as a nesting area and becoming though internationally recognized for its biodiversity. Enchanting are the corals that the marine park protects. There are about 48 species.
(Such as brain coral, soft coral, fire coral and then madrepores, acropores, elk horns, table coral, etc.) There are a large number of species of tiny organisms together with at least 460 species of fish.
Small fish in juvenile livery, gobies, crabs, shrimps, nudibranchs, Napoleon fish, large grouper or "potato cod", glassfish, barracuda, etc. and of course, last but not least the well-known whale sharks.
There are numerous birds on the island, about 130 species, including falcons, and fish eagles that nest on the rocks.
Mafia e le isole che fanno parte dell’arcipelago, sono molto verde con tanti baobab, mangrovie, banani e palme da cocco. Le acque di mafia sono tra le più belle e incontaminate.
Mafia and the islands that are part of the archipelago are very green with many baobabs, mangroves, banana trees and coconut palms.