Mafia Island

Mafia (Latin: Menuthras, Roman name of the island in ancient times ) is a Tanzanian island, which lies to the east of the Rufiji River delta off the East African coast in the Indian Ocean.


Mafia with their side islands is the southernmost island of the Zanzibar archipelago, but is administratively one of the six districts of the Pwani Administrative Region on the mainland. Mafia has an area of 518 km ². The main island alone measures 435 km ². The island is due to its sheltered location, the many small islands and the coral reef is a paradise for divers and snorkelers.

At the time of the 2002 census, the population was 40,801 of which 11,751 in the capital Kilindoni in the southwest of the island. The three largest islands are side Juani ( 17.12 km ²), Jibondo (3 km ²) and Chole (3 km ², 800 inhabitants) with a total of 3,405 inhabitants. The raised coral island is relatively flat with a maximum height of 53 meters.

In the south and east of the island lies the Mafia Marine Park, which includes the offshore islands and reefs there. 45 km south of the Mafia Archipelago is located around the island of Songo Songo, which also already located only 20 kilometers south and therefore nearer to Mafia small island Okuza Iceland is expected.


The 17- km-wide mafia channel that separates the island from the mainland, is part of the distribution area of ​​dugongs ( dugong ), on the east coast sea turtles lay their eggs. In the coral reefs around the island king fish, marlin, horse mackerel, sailfish and the Great rock cod are found.


The island is accessible by air. Flights may be best to book at the airport in Dar es Salaam. In addition, daily runs from a motorized ferry from Nyamisati. However, with the arrival irregular trains running dhows is indeed possible for tourists due to the uncertain weather conditions and the questionable safety equipment on board this wood gliders rather not recommended. Good accommodation can be found in the southeastern part of the island. These are located within the territory of Iceland Mafia Marine Park. The poor transport links to the mainland, the island is still relatively untouched. It has excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. About the hotels and private providers diving tours can be booked on site. In the sea side there are the "normal" reef fish whale sharks, sea turtles and humpback whales. On the small offshore island of Chole you can watch hundreds of animals bats in colonies.


The oldest archaeological finds prove already the 8th century trade relations between the Mafia and the surrounding areas (Madagascar, Mozambique, Arabian Peninsula ).

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal was the dominant colonial power in East Africa, but maintained only at a few strategic points fortified facilities for the control of trade and to secure the sea routes to India and the Moluccas.

1698 subject to the Portuguese Omani Arabs who from now on, the area between Lamu and Kilwa, including mafias controlled. In the division of the Sultanate of Oman in the 19th century came Mafia to Zanzibar. Still in the Anglo-German Agreement of October 29, 1886 Berlin recognized the Zanzibari sovereignty over Mafia as well as via a 10 -mile coastal strip on the mainland.

In the German -British Heligoland - Zanzibar Treaty of 1890 the UK agreed to act on the Sultan in terms of an assignment of the continental strip as well as the island of Germany. Accordingly, an agreement was in 1892 achieved, after which the kingdom after a payment of 4 million Reichsmark to the Sultan of Zanzibar Island and the strips along the mainland coast, took over together with the acquisitions of the German East Africa Company and other conquests, the colony of German East Africa formed.

A few months after the outbreak of World War II occupied on January 10, 1915 British units, the island of Mafia, to turn from here the hidden in the delta of Rufijiflusses German warship " Königsberg ". The landing took place at Ras Kisimani on the southwestern tip of the island. The defenders, three German and twenty Askaris under the command of a local planter, gave up the fight against six companies of the British after five hours. The protective forces members were captured by the British. Only a Landsturmmann managed to escape with a thumb to Kilwa Kivinje.

After the First World War, Mafia became part of the British Trust Territory of Tanganyika and gained with this on December 9, 1961, the independence ( since 1964: Tanzania).