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Mafia Island Yacht Charters

Mafia Island, Tanzania, East Africa

Yacht Charter to Mafia Island Archipelago in Tanzania

Mafia Island, Tanzania

Charter a yacht and explore Mafia Island, go sailing, scuba diving and fishing, enjoy sunset cruises and a tropical Mafia island liveaboard charter.

Mafia Island Archipelago

Mafia Island Archipelago is comprised of 9 islands and 12 coral reefs, and is a spectacularly diverse natural environment.  In total, the Mafia Archipelago covers 972 sq. km and offers a unique mix of Africa within a tropical setting. Large palm groves, mango & cashew trees dominate the main Mafia Island while impressive baobab trees are dotted amongst typical African savannah grassland.

Mafia Island, the main island in the Mafia Archipelago is up to 20 kilometres wide and roughly 50 kilometres long  and  is surrounded by a  group of smaller islands that are part of the large  coral reef system that runs down the East African Coast.


The other eight islands are Juani Island, Chole Island, Jibondo Island (Kibondo), Bwejuu Island, Shungumbili Island (Thanda), Barakuni Island, Miewi Island, and Niororo Island (Nyororo).

Mafia Island Archipelago, is comprised of over a dozen islands! Mafia's secluded sandbars, migrating whale sharks, nesting turtles and laid-back vibe make this island simply magic.

Things to do onboard

  • Island Visits

  • Snorkelling

  • Fishing

  • Kayaking

  • SUPS

  • Big Game Fishing

  • Whale & Dolphin Watching

  • Swim with Dolphins

  • Scuba Diving

  • Sailing

Things to do on land

  • Scuba diving (all year)

  • Snorkelling (all year)

  • Fishing

  • Whale Shark snorkelling excursions

  • Whale watching

  • Sunset cruise

  • Cultural island walks

  • Various Island excursions

  • Snorkelling in Chole bay

  • Blue lagoon snorkel trip

  • Sand bank lunch grill

  • Turtle hatching on Juani Island

  • Mange sand bank snorkel trip with lunch

  • Sunset sail on dhow

  • Chole Island tour

  • Kilindoni town tour

  • Mafia Island full day tour

  • Juani Island Kua Ruins

There is alot to see and do!


Our Mafia Island Yachts

We have a fleet of catamaran yachts available for a Mafia Yacht Charter holiday.


Best time to go?

  • The best times to cruise Mafia is March through to July & Oct through to mid Dec. 

  • Aug, Sept, late Dec, Jan and Feb the wind can blow, but if guests can handle this, then its fine.

How to get there?

  • International flight direct to Stone Town (Zanzibar Island) or Dar Es Salaam

  • Light aircraft flight to Mafia Island

  • Road transfer to your beach lodge if you have pre-charter nights booked, or directly to beach front to meet crew and transfer by dingy to yacht.

  • Or sail from Zanzibar to Mafia island on your charter yacht.

Cruise Plans

All our yachts have their home base in Zanzibar and Mafia is about 100 N Miles South of Zanzibar. 

There are 2 options to do a Mafia Island Cruise.

Option 1

Depart on board yacht from Zanzibar and cruise down to Mafia Island.

  • It is a min 24 hour cruise time due to the distance and enroute we normally stop at Latham Island (half way) to do some fishing, to break up the cruise, before we head on south to Mafia. 

  • Likewise on the return its min 24 hour cruise to return to Zanzibar..

  • So on a 7 night / 8 day cruise, 2 days will be spent getting to and from Mafia​.

Option 2

  • The yacht departs Zanzibar without you and heads down to Mafia Island.

  • You fly from Stone Town or Dar Es Salaam to Mafia Island.

  • We recommend you spend one night at a lodge on Mafia Island and then the next day you board the yacht to begin your cruise.

  • At the end of the charter you depart by flight back to Dar es Salaam or Stone Town and the yacht returns to Zanzibar.

  • This option avoids you spendng the 24 hours cruising time between the two islands each way.

  • With this option there is however a delivery fee to move the yachts between Zanzibar and Mafia.

  • For guests with less time available or who dont want to do the 24 cruise between the islands this is the best option.

  • All charters to Mafia are for a minimun of 5 nights per charter.


Mafia Island Wildlife

Monkeys, small antelopes, wild pigs, lemurs and dwarf hippos run wild while falcons, fish eagles, Comoro bats 'flying foxes' and giant turtles have also made it their breeding ground.

The coast is lined with tangled mangroves and a golden bays, where traditional dhows are launched into the turquoise waters. Beach lovers head out by boat to utterly idyllic sandbars, where surrounded by gently lapping ocean waves, they can picnic and swim from pristine, powder-white crescents of sand.

Mafia Island Marine Park was formed to protect the archipelago's reefs, for this is one of Tanzania's best areas for diving. From rainbow-coloured clownfish to octopus, rays and the odd gigantic grouper to sharks and dolphins in deeper waters, there is always something dramatic to see. Within Chole Bay, the shallow reefs are perfect for snorkelling or learning to dive, whilst outside the Bay, a long coral wall attracts experienced divers to admire its giant table corals and huge stands of blue-tipped staghorn corals.

The islands’ blossoming marine conservation projects are equally impressive. Watching Juani’s turtle hatchlings scuttle to the sea is heart-heartwarming, whilst sailing or swimming alongside the annual whaleshark migration is perhaps one of Africa’s greatest wildlife encounters. 


Mafia Island Marine Park

Within the Mafia Island Archipelago is the Mafia Island Marine Park supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature. Mafia Island Marine Park offers world class snorkelling and diving and Mafia Island is famous for its resident whale shark population.

The Mafia Island Marine Park was formed to protect the archipelago's reefs. Within Chole Bay, the shallow reefs are perfect for snorkelling or learning to dive. Outside the bay, its entrance is guarded by a long coral wall, attracting more experienced divers. Here are more than 50 kinds of coral, including giant table corals, huge stands of blue-tipped staghorn corals, and more than 400 species of fish.

This is one of Tanzania's best areas for diving. You'll always see something exciting, from rainbow-coloured clownfish to octopus, rays and the odd gigantic grouper or large potato cod. Sharks and dolphins are found in the deeper waters, and at night turtles haul themselves onto remote beaches to nest.

Please note that All scuba diving at Mafia Island within the Marine Park is done with local PADI dive centres.

Diving outside the marine park, is available if your chosen yacht is equipped to offer diving, though we recommend for safety first reasons to rather do dive with the local dive centres


Swim with Whale Sharks on Mafia Island on a Whale Shark snorkelling excursion

Mafia Island History and Culture

Mafia Island has changed little from ancient times. It retains a traditional, unspoilt non-commercialised friendly culture, where local people go about their business as artisans, farmers and fishermen.

As with all the islands that fringe the East Coast of Africa, Mafia's history is deeply rooted within the empires of the ancient. Creeper-clad ruins inhabit the forest on the tiny offshore island of Chole Mjini, once one of the most important trading towns on Africa's East Coast.

For centuries, silver from the mines of Zimbabwe was the highest quality in the world and from Mafia, huge dhows sailed the monsoon winds across the Indian Ocean delivering this silver for the smelting of the finest swords throughout the Indian and Ottoman empires. 

Image by Crispin Jones

Mafia Island Resorts

Combining the luxury island resorts on Mafia Island Archipelago with a safari  or a yacht charter is dead easy.There is an amazing selection to choose, from luxury private island resorts to rustic tree house lodges.We offer packages that combine our yachts with Mafia Island resorts and lodges on Mafia. So speak to us about the options.We offer a door to door service. We meet our guests straight off the beach at  your Mafia resort or lodge. Its a real adventure!

​Staying on Mafia Island

While Zanzibar is probably the most popular island in East Africa, the small archipelago around Mafia Island, just 160km to its south, remains virtually unknown. Yet for simple ocean pleasures, Mafia has long been the connoisseur’s choice for genuinely laid-back, feet-in-the-sand island chilling.

The archipelago’s clutch of small, high-quality lodges – from fairytale treehouses to a world-class private villa; diving that ranks amongst the very best in the Indian Ocean, and relatively few visitors, make it the ideal destination for a low-key tropical retreat.

On arriving at Mafia's tiny airport, it is clear that the pace of life is slow here. Recently paved roads lead through the sleepy capital of Kilindoni, before giving way to farming and fishing villages, lush coconut plantations and dense forests of baobabs, mangos and cashews.

You can be at a Mafia Island resort in the morning and on a luxury yacht in the afternoon!

Image by Richard Jacobs
Image by Geranimo

Sail & Safari

Light aircraft flight connects safaris in East Africa like the Selous and Serengeti to Mafia Island.


You can be on safari in the morning and on a yacht in the afternoon.


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