is a relatively large island off the southern coast of Tanzania.
In 2013 the government started a programme of upgrading the airstrip and road network in the hope of promoting more tourism to this hitherto undisturbed part of the old Swahili Coast. But we are not sure that Mafia is cut out for mainstream tourism, mainly because it does not have the beaches and easy swimming lagoons of nearby Zanzibar.
What it does have is the largest marine park in East Africa, which contains some of the finest unbleached coral in the Indian Ocean. There are also whalesharks in residence year round.
Mafia Island is therefore ideal for active people ... divers, sailors and walkers ... looking for somewhere more off the beaten track.
In the marine park area to the southeast, most of our more outdoorsy guests stay at the remarkable Chole Mjini Lodge
with Kinasi Lodge
and Pole Pole Lodge
offering higher levels of conventional comfort, Shamba Kilole Lodge
and Mafia Island Lodge
being the best of the lower cost options.
Over on the west coast Ras Mbisi Lodge
is pleasantly remote, whilst Butiama Beach
offers good value.