The Tanzanian coastline is protected by a huge coral reef and the Mafia Island archipelago form part of this. It is generally grouped in with the Pemba Island and Unguja of the Zanzibar archipelago as the Spice Islands, that is where the relationship and similarities end. The Mafia Islands are made up of a number of small islands with one big one, Chloe Shamba, being the main island that is considered Mafia Island
Mafia Island was considered so special for its unique ecology that it has been turned into a marine park, with the support of the World Wildlife Fund. Most of the diving spots here are no deeper than 30m (98ft) and promise a hugely diverse marine life offering thanks to the influence of the Rufiji river delta, and the coming together of big ocean animals and reef fish.
The tides here are strong so you will need to keep that in mind when planning your dives, and there are certain times of year, such as from April to May, when it is not possible to dive due to the conditions. If you want to be in with a chance of spotting whales sharks, you’ll want to visit between November and March.
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Wildlife in Mafia Island
The waters around Mafia Island are home to an astonishing 60 species of fish and 52 genera of hard corals. This makes the underwater life here some of the most interesting and diverse in the entire region. There are many interesting invertebrates who call the Chloe Bay area their home, including shrimp, blue ring octopus, nudibranch, bryozoans, feather stars, coral crabs, and flatworms. There is also a lot of great fish to take in here like the frogfish, anemone fish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, and angelfish. Dolphins, sharks, and whales can also be seen at certain times of the year and in certain areas.