Mafia Island Attractions
Mafia Island draws divers and snorkelers from around the world to the undersea world protected by the Mafia Island Marine Park. This island paradise first saw settlers in the 8th or 9th C, but Mafia became a more important settlement during the 12th to 14th C when it held a key position in the East African trading routes.The Germans established headquarters in 1892 at Chole on Mafia Island. A large boma was built as well as other buildings including a jail. During WW I, Mafia Island became a base for British troops as a location to attack the German battleship, Konigsberg.The best months for diving are October to March but the best weather on Mafia Island is May to October, March and April are months of heavy rain.
The residents of Chole Island are noted for the art of boat building and shark fishing while the island itself has many picturesque ruins to explore. Traditional village life has been maintained much as it was during the 19th C.Chole Island came to prominence in about 1829, after the destruction of Kua and was the main administration center for the next century.A group of local women on Chole Island has established East Africa's only fruit bat sanctuary by purchasing the land around an important nesting tree.Chole Bay is part of the Mafia Island Marine Park and features Chole Wall, Chole Wall and Kinasi Pass Wall. The horseshoe shaped bay is perfect for snorkeling, scuba diving and underwater photography.
Mafia Island Marine Park
Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania's first marine preserve, has some of the best deep-sea diving in Tanzania. The excellent coral gardens, abundant variety of fish and relaxed diving atmosphere have made Mafia Island a popular diving and snorkeling destination.Countless birds and over 400 species of fish can be seen in the area. Mafia Island is also a traditional breeding site for the green turtle, which are unfortunately close to extinction.Mafia is also a desirable location for deep-sea fishing, especially tuna, marlin, sailfish and other big-game fish. Fishing is prohibited in much of Chole Bay, however sport fishing is permitted elsewhere in Mafia Island Marine Park with a maximum weight limit for most species.
Ruins at Kua
The city of Kua, located on Juani Island south of Mafia, was a major trade center linking Africa to Asia and Kilwa to Zanzibar. The inhabitants of Kua were from the Persian Shiraz, who conquered Mafia in the 10th C. The ruins are located on the western side of Juani Island, covered by bush and intertwined trees. The decline of this ancient city remains unexplained but has become the subject of many legends.The remains of Kua include several houses, one of these has a bathroom under the building with a vaulted ceiling; two mosques, dating to the 14th C, and tombs with pillars also stand nearby.
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