Kiswahili otherwise known as Swahili is the ‘lingua franca’ of Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Uganda. English is very widely spoken in Tanzania, particulary in tourist centres, hotels, lodges and main cities.

The People

The indigenous people of the country are friendly and hospitable. They are rightly proud of their country, so be sensitive as you would be anywhere in your travels. In Swahili speaking countries, the traditional greeting is “Jambo” and the responce “Mzuri” (fine) – even if you are not! Unfortunately touris centres such as Zanzibar suffer a degree of hassle from “papassi”, the local word of hustlers so be firm and definite in saying “no thanks” as they can be awfully persistent an heavy one of the joys of Mafia, is that the dont exist on the Island. they don’t exist on the island.

Tanzanian Visas

You can obtain these on arrival for most nationalities; contact us if you are in doubt.


Tanzania’s currency is Tanzanian Shillings and Cents. You will be able to change foreign exchange at the airports, or at the many bureaus that exist (DO NOT CHANGE MONEY WITH HUSTLERS – these are scams to entrap you) and also at any other banks in the major towns. US Dollars are often favoured, and most excursions, tips, drinks and curios can be paid for in Dollars. We advise clients to take spending money in the form of US Dollars cash. Traveller’s cheques carry a service charge of at least 5%. Credit cards are also widely accepted but again subject to surcharge, as the commissions are high (eg VISA charges 5% in Tanzania).


The mains electricity supply is 240 volts, 50 cycles. We also recommend you carry a small flashlight. Kinasi also has adaptors if you need them.


On Safari – informal and casual dress is appropriate. Comfortable lightweight cotton clothing in subdued safari colours is practical. During the day, shorts or trousers are ideal, and the evenings may be chilly so light cardigans or sweaters are appropriate. For clients visiting the Ngorongoro Crater, please note that because of the altitude nights are very cold and so a thick sweater or fleece are advisable. Long sleeved shirts and trousers are also advisable in the evenings to lessen the chance of being bitten by mosquitoes. Many safari lodges have swimming pools, so bathing costumes should be taken. It is advisable to have a good pair of closed walking shoes / boots.

In the Cities We suggest that ladies do not wear shorts in the cities, particularly in the Muslim areas, where immodest dress is unacceptable. Neither jackets or ties are required when dining in hotels or out at restaurants.

In Mafia one-piece or bikini swimsuits are fine on the beach or around your hotel pool, but not appropriate in the villages or outside Kinasi. Topless sunbathing is not acceptable unless you are unable to be seen by staff or other visitors.

Baggage allowances on charter flights and small aircraft

Scheduled small aircraft flights and charters limit baggage to 15 kgs per person. Please would you also take your luggage in soft bags rather than rigid suitcases; a soft-sided suitcase is fine but a bulky Samsonite or aluminium suitcase is not, as they are difficult to fit in small aircraft.

Reconfirmation of flights

Make sure you reconfirm your return international and charter flight at least 72 hours prior to departure. Kinasi offers this service to all guests

Airport departure TAX

Internal flights in Tanzania are subject to a departure tax of around $6 per person. International flights carry a departure tax of $33 (25$ airport tax + 8$ safety fee) per person. This amount must be paid locally, preferably in USD, so please ensure you carry enough currency on you for these payments as the airport authorities do not accept credit cards and traveller’s cheques. Both Airport Taxes and Security Fees are subjected to change without prior notice.

Insurances Kinasi has Third Party and Accident liability insurance. However, please ensure that you have taken out the appropriate travel insurance for your own personal requirements in case of flight cancellations, missing flights, sudden cancellation of bookings, etc.


Yellow Fever

The famous Yellow Fever vaccine is no longer required unless you have come from a classified Yellow Fever area.


Malaria is endemic throughout Africa. There are a number of prophylactics available and be sure to obtain one from your physician and follow his directions. If, despite taking recommended drugs, you feel unwell and feverish, seek medical advice as soon as possible. If you are already in the UK, please do not forget to mention that you have been in a Malaria area.

Stomach Upsets

It is advisable to carry medication supplied by your physician for simple stomach upsets. In the first few days of your trip you may suffer from mild upsets attributable to a change in food and water.


We do recommend that you consult your doctor about other recommended injections, normally the advice is that Typhoid and Hepatitis injections should be taken. The BA travel clinic (0207 4399584) or Trailfinders (0207 9383999) can provide advice about these requirements.


At the coast and on the water, the sun can be dangerous. You will be wise to wear hats in the heat of the day and make use of a good sun block and reputable sun tan lotion or cream. Humidity is generally quite high; average daytime temperatures are around 26°C (80F).


We strongly recommend that you take sufficient film for your trip. ASA 400 film is a good film for safari, and a lens of at least 300mm is recommended.


Mobile services are present on Mafia, but not all company providers are operating on Mafia, so make any calls from the mainland or Zanzibar to avoid anxiety and inconvenience while relaxing at Kinasi, as the land lines often fail too.

Kinasi have email at the hotel either – we think you should relax and get away from it !! However we do have satellite television for those who wish to stay abreast if international affairs, sport and movies.

More travel reading

The Bradt Guide to Tanzania has a comprehensive chapter on Mafia. The Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar by Annabel Skinner is one of the best. The Guide to Zanzibar, by David Else, published by Bradt Publications is very informative and the Lonely Planet series also produces an edition on Tanzania, Zanzibar and Pemba, by Mary Fitzpatrick; also has an extensive dive site section.

Water Sports and other ‘Extra’ Activities

The use of windsurfers and bicycles is free-of-charge to Kinasi guests.   All other activities that are “extras” at Kinasi will be charged to guests’ accounts and are to be paid prior to departure. An itemised account will be provided. You will find a copy of our Activities Price List on the notice board near the Cocktail Bar, in the Water Sports Centre and at the Gift Shop.   Kinasi does not offer an “all-in” rate as some lodges in Tanzania do because preferences differ so widely at an island destination such as Mafia.

Bar Bills

Bar accounts are also charged at the end of your stay with an itemised account. We do not ask you to pay for any extras each day, to avoid inconvenience.

Reconfirmation of International flight bookings

Kinasi arranges ticket re-confirmations for international flights on behalf of its guests through a registered travel agent; the service charge is US$ 5 per ticket.

Billing and Payments by VISA or Traveller’s cheques

We cannot accept payments by credit card or traveller’s cheque for amounts less than US$ 100. We will also make a service charge of 5% for the use of VISA card or traveller’s cheques (which are discounted in Tanzania); we regret this but we have many taxes to pay (over 30 including 20% VAT !!) and experience very high operating costs due to our remote location. We must remain competitive and keep our prices reasonable and in line with other seaside destinations, so our profit margins do not allow the luxury of losing another 5% in commissions and bank charges. We are also unable to confirm VISA card payments electronically so we bear a very high risk. We are sorry to state that we have experienced fraud in the past and have lost money and received fake currency. We have also had guests later deny making VISA payments.

Changes in itineraries and travel arrangements

If guests wish to change their booking arrangements at Kinasi, or alter travel and other pre-booked services we will not bear the costs of same and no refund shall be provided other than through the booking agent. Kinasi does not guarantee refunds nor to bear the costs of other hotels in Mafia or any other destination in the event a guest wishes to leave Kinasi prior to the pre-arranged date.


  • Tobias Mildenberger

    Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I’m very interested in volunteering for a research project on Mafia Island. I’m a student from Germany. Do you know if I need to get a visa for Mafia Island and where I get it?

    Thank you for your help.

    Kind regards

    Tobias Mildenberger

    • Emma Wilkinson

      I believe you do i know you need one to go to tanzania and theyre around $50 USD

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