Whale Sharks watching in Mafia Island
WHALE SHARK WATCHING IN MAFIA
These beautiful giants are seasonally found just a few hundred metres offshore near Kilindoni Harbour. A short boat ride towards the west brings us to a feeding ground for the sharks and soon fins and dark shapes are apparent.
Up to 24 can be seen at any one time: males, females and juveniles, all beautifully marked with stripes and spots. The larger sharks are estimated at over 8 m long, so they are an impressive sight next to the boat, and quite stunning under the water.
The boat is able to move among them quietly and visitors can swim and snorkel to get a closer, underwater view of these gentle, wonderful animals. The sharks remain in a well-defined area and have a repetitive for them. And no crowds to compete with,as with the Kizimkazi dolphins in Zanzibar.
Please make this a must when you are in Mafia. The whale shark trip can be combined with a picnic on the beach, swimming, a trip to the Kilindoni Market or a full day to Ras Kisimani or Bwejuu Island.
One of the delights of staying in Mafia is to sail our local craft, which are jahazis (also called dhows). And this is very special when we do this as a sunset cruise around Chole Bay. Audie and Jacques will arrange this when conditions are right complete with a coolbox full of cold white wine and other beverages, so please don’t miss it.
PRIVATE BOAT EXCURSIONS
Our boats are available for private excursions and picnics so please arrange with the Activities Manager whenever you would like to take a boat out for snorkelling, a safari around the bay, a full day trip to another part of Mafia or simply for a swim and sunbake on your own on one of the marvellous secluded beaches or islets.
ROAD SAFARIS and PICNIC EXCURSIONS
There are many interesting places to see on Mafia, but the condition of the roads can make this rather tiring for those not initiated to bad African roads. On these excursions the visitor will see village life as it has always been, with almost none of the trappings of the modern day.
KILINDONI TOWN & HARBOUR
Kilindoni is the district centre and most populous settlement on Mafia, which is also Tanzania’s smallest electorate. The harbour is a bustling port and a great place to see how the coastal dhow trade works, as almost all Mafia’s needs and exports are still handled by these vessels. The fish and vegetable market is also interesting.
RAS MBIZI PLANTATION
This and its sister plantation, Chunguruma, form a lovely area for a day’s outing, with your guide explaining how the coconut industry works and the products derived, as well as miles of beach to explore in total isolation.
BALENI & KIFINGE
Baleni is a village in the south-central area of Mafia, and lays enroute to the lovely Kifinge Bay (also known as Forbes Bay), the northern boundary of the Marine Park. There is a very interesting 45-minute walk through the Mlola Forest down to the beach for a picnic lunch on the sand.
These are the northern villages of Mafia before reaching Bweni and Ras Mkumbi. The north of Mafia is quite different to the south, as a result of lower rainfall and better soils. There are many baobabs and multi-headed doum palms, euphorbia and Acacia trees. The people live from a combination of farming and fishing, with most having additional skills such as sail-making, rope-making, weaving. Kanga and Jimbo are famous for the natural and colored mats made from Phoenix palm leaves.