Mafia Island Archipelago
Mafia Island is set off the coast of central Tanzania, twenty kilometers from the Rufiji River Delta. This island is an ideal place to relax after a safari in the Selous Game Reserve. This quiet island offers diving and snorkeling, the whole island is surrounded by an unbroken barrier reef. The diving here is some of the best the world has to offer. Game fishing, forest walks, bird watching [with over 120 bird species here] and deserted beaches make Mafia a truly magic place to visit.
Mafia is the largest island in this archipelago, which is made up of many smaller islands atolls and tidal sandbars. There are no tar roads here and the whole island is locked in a time warp. If you desire to escape from the madding crowd and relax away from the hectic world Mafia is your paradise. Mafia is the safest island in the whole Indian Ocean. The beaches are secure and wherever you walk you will be left alone; no one here to hustle and spoil the peace of your holiday. Many people return to this island year after year because it is a treasure, because is it remains off the well trodden tourist routs.
The island is fifty kilometers long and fifteen kilometers wide. The barrier reef that surrounds the island is teaming with marine life. There are over 460 species of tropical fish in these reefs as well as five species of turtles. The coral gardens and coral heads are spectacular and with walls at various levels give the diver, either beginner or more experienced, a profusion of underwater habitats to explore; PADI training is available in some of the hotels.
The island has thriving tidal mangroves, palm wooded grassland and lowland rainforest ? with the huge Boabab also found here. The Chunguruma Forest has a dense canopy interlaced with palms, with the floor of the forest carpeted with ferns, there are four endemic species of butterfly here. The center of the island is dotted with a series of reed lined lakes, which are home to a number of small hippopotami. These lakes are thought to have once been lagoons that became land locked thousands of years ago. The island has a colony of flying foxes, bushbabies, monkeys, squirrels and monitor lizards.
The roads are quite bad on the island and a 4 x 4 is needed to drive around. The going is slow and it can take half an hour to travel 30 kilometers. Many of the locals travel by boat to move around the island. There are regular scheduled flights to the island by light aircraft, from Dar es Salaam or the nearby Selous.
About the Author: For more information about Mafia Island or the Tanzania see http://betheladventure.co.uk/zanzibar_mafia.htm using tourism to fund community initiatives focused on the education of the young and the medical care for the whole family. Ensure your safari is using profits to help the community.