Day by Day

6-day Mafia Island

Swim with whale sharks!


Mafia Island is part of the Tanzanian Spice Islands, together with Unguja and Pemba. Mafia is known for excellent Scuba diving, snorkeling and whale shark watching. Discover this hidden gem!

  • Whale shark encounter included!
  • Sleep in a luxury tree house
  • Return flight from Dar es Salaam included!
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Complete Programme: 6 day Whale shark watching Mafia Island

We have designed a well-balanced programme with little stress. Depart from Dar es Salaam and in 30 minutes you will arrive on Mafia Island. Watch whale sharks in their natural habitat. Transportation and activities are organized by the lodge with an English speaking guide. 


Day 1: Fly to Mafia Island

Whale shark watching is seasonal. This tour is only offered from October to March every year. 

Your tour starts at Dar es Salaam airport. Transfers to the airport are not included. You will fly with Coastal aviation to Mafia island! Depending on your arrival in Dar es Salaam you can choose to go with the morning or afternoon flight. 

Mafia Island (“Chole Shamba”) is part of the Tanzanian Spice Islands, together with Unguja and Pemba. This remote island is less know than its neighboring islands like Zanzibar. Mafia is known for excellent Scuba diving, snorkeling and whale shark watching. 



Upon arrival the driver/guide from Chole Mjini will be there to pick you up from your flight. He will take you to your wonderful accommodation.

The coming nights you will sleep in Chole Mjini. With only seven treehouses, carefully placed and designed, privacy is assured. Open to the elements, with the king-size bed the throne-like centerpiece, each thatched platform is reached via sandy paths that lead through the natural vegetation. All tree houses have views of the sea.

Journey Time 30 minutes flight
Accommodation Chole Mjini
Meal Plan Dinner

Day 2: Swiming with Whale sharks!

Today is a very special day, you are going to encounter the Whale sharks of Mafia Island. This activity is included in the price.

Chole Mjini offers fabulous dhow trips to swim with Mafias gentle sea giants. The dhows (traditional Swahili) are stocked with refreshments ensuring you are kept-re-hydrated throughout the trip. Breakfast is at 6.30 am together with an educational briefing and then you set sail on the dhow in search of the whale sharks. When approaching the sharks the engines are switched off. The approach is disturbance free so as not to chase them away. Guests can then jump into the water and snorkel with them including taking photos and videos.


Whale sharks are most often seen in tropical/sub tropical regions. They are solitary and travel alone but aggregate in a few locations around the world, where they can be seen in larger numbers, such as in the waters of Galapagos, the Yucatan, Ningaloo, Bahrain and a few other sites. Mafia Island is one of these special locations with one of the longest lasting aggregations and thus one of the best places to watch these animals.

Journey Time depending on the activity
Accommodation Chole Mjini
Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3 till 5

At Chole Mjini there are daily activities included! Turtle hatching, sandbank picnics, sunset cruise and visiting the nearby village. In case you want to do one of the other optional activities, this is at your own cost.

Scuba diving

Mafia Islands marine park has more than 400 coral species and extraordinary reefs and dive sites. You can be guaranteed exclusivity due to very few tourists in the area. You can do a two-tank dive for US$ 100 per person.


Snorkeling in Chole bay

For this excursion you will go the Mafia island marine park. You drive about 15 km to the marine park and then go by boat to the bay. Rent of snorkelling equipment and transportation to and from the excursion is included at US$ 50 per person.

Stand up Paddle Boarding

  • Full day trip with back up boat and guide US$ 50 per person
  • Hire of paddle board for a day US$ 20 per person 



Day 6: Departure

Today is unfortunately your last day with Matoke tours on Mafia Island. The driver/guide of the lodge will take you to the airfield for your flight back to Dar es Salaam.

The transfer from the airport to Dar es Salaam is not included. Please let us know if you wish us to include one (or more) nights in Dar es Salaam.

This is the end of hopefully a wonderful experience!

Journey Time 30 minute flight                
Accommodation Not included
Meal Plan Breakfast

Click here for info about the rates and conditions of this Whale shark extension.

This is the end of what we hope has been a fabulous trip!

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6 day- Mafia Island - Exclusive