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Located on the south coast, Mafia Island Lodge stands amidst tall palms on a sandy beach in Chole Bay, in the heart of the marine park.

Travel to the lodge is a 35 minute light aircraft flight from the mainland and a 20 minute drive on arrival to Mafia island. The lodge features 34 comfortable self-contained, air-conditioned rooms with their own verandah and en-suite bathroom. All rooms overlook Chole Bay and you the options include standard, superior or a family suite (two connecting rooms with one bathroom). The rooms feature a safe and hairdryer and a laundry service is available.

The main lodge has a relaxing atmosphere with a large open restaurant with a pool table and lounge bar area. Activities and facilities include table tennis, volleyball, snorkelling, sailing, nature trails and small gift shop. The restaurant serves a buffet breakfast and offers set menus for lunch and dinner. Relax on the beach on the loungers where you can enjoy snacks and drinks from the popular beach bar. WiFi interet access is available in hotspot areas.

The hottest time to travel is from October to March and the coolest, from July to September. The lodge is closed annually in May during the rainy season. This is a great choice for those looking to unwind and get away from the world. It's possible to twin centre a stay here with a few days on safar in the Selous Game Reserve.

Our very own Dive expert, Alex Roberts, reports from his dive adventure to Mafia Island Lodge.

Mafia Island Diving

Located on the beachfront outside the lodge, this PADI 5-star dive centre offers shore and boat diving as well as a wide range of courses, available in several languages. 

Daily boat dives, from a traditional Dhow, operate to the sheltered, shallow waters of Chole Bay. Here, divers can enjoy some of the richest reefs in the world with a fascinating variety of hard and soft corals and diversity of tropical fish. It's a photographer's dream at the nearby shore sites of Nudi City and Frogfish Town where you can expect to see seahorse, ghost pipefish, rays, octopus, gunards and all kinds of critters living on the bommies, soft corals and sandy seabed. Larger marine life can be found at Kinasi Pass with its resident grouper, rays and schools of colourful fish found by its pinnacle, which resembles a chicken.

Outside the Bay, there are diving opportunities along Dindini and Juani walls where experienced divers can observe sharks and turtles cruising by. If conditions allow, it's possible to take a day trip to Southern Sandbanks where plenty of fish and rays can be seen on its gentle sloping reefs.

The average water temperature is 26C, visibility up to 30m and the best months for diving are September through to March. This is a fantastic choice for groups. Snorkellers are welcome.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for:
    • Groups
    • Singles
  • Diving suitable for:
    • Beginner
    • Intermediate
    • Advanced

Dive trips

This accommodation is featured in the following itinerary:

Dive Mafia Island

A week exploring the vibrant reefs of Chole Bay in the heart of a marine park. The diving highlight is undoubtedly the annual whale shark aggregation where small males can be seen feeding in the channel.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,075 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
This accommodation is located in:

Mafia Island

A sleepy backwater and remnant of the old Swahili coast, Mafia Island is reminiscent of the Zanzibar of thirty years ago. Chole Bay’s clear waters offer wonderful snorkelling, sailing and swimming, while outside the bay are some of the richest reefs in the world.

  • Ideal for viewing: whale shark, hawksbill turtle, giant frogfish, southern stingray, white-tip reef shark
  • Excellent for: Resort based diving, Singles diving, Whale shark, Snorkelling