Mafia Island, Tanzania
Last week we had a wonderful, though very brief, trip to Tanzania for one of my best friend’s wedding. To make the most of the 20+ hour journey from Hanoi we decided to visit Mafia Island for a few days before the wedding. Southeast of Dar Es Salaam and a 30 minute flight in a tiny twelve-seater Cessna Caravan, Mafia is a bit more off the beaten track than neighboring Zanzibar. Although it lacks the grand 19th Century Swahili architecture found in Zanzibar’s Stone Town, it makes up for this unspoiled beaches, coral reefs, and very few tourists. A large portion of the south of the island has been a protected marine park since 1995 and has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Indian Ocean.
We stayed at the lovely Butiama Beach, owned and run by the very friendly and helpful Maura and Moez. It was the perfect place to relax with friends before the wedding. It’s a small lodge with just a few bungalows simply decorated with colourful kikoys providing a splash of colour.
Everyday we went on little excursions. Two boat trips straight from Butiama – one to a sandbank and the other to a wild stretch of beach a few kilometers south of Butiama where we had a beach BBQ of fresh fish. We also drove to Chole Bay for some snorkeling in the marine park and to visit Chole Island where we saw hundreds of cute sleeping fruit bats.
The sandbank boat trip where we were joined by a pod of dolphins:
The trip to Ras Kisimani beach:
Fruit bats on Chole Island:
It was a very relaxing trip with incredibly beautiful beaches and fantastic snorkeling. We then headed on to Dar Es Salaam for some sailing to the sandbank at Fungu Yasini followed by the most fabulous wedding on the uninhabited Mbudya Island.