The coast of Tanzania is perhaps most famous for the Zanzibar Archipelago, a cluster of islands that saw the growth and survival of Swahili civilization and trade until the mid-twentieth century. Throughout the Swahili Coast, diving, swimming, and snorkeling offer superb vistas of thriving coral and marine life. Whether you’re content to stay on the mainland coast, or want to venture off into the atolls and islands of the Indian Ocean, the Tanzanian coast is a place of untouched beauty and enchantment.
In Pemba, villages steeped in culture and tradition preserves the Swahili way of life, almost oblivious to the world around them. Traditionally part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a unique destination in its own right. For centuries, Pemba’s clove plantations and spice fields provided the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar with money for trade and military dominance over the surrounding areas.
To this day, the island is still a major spice producer in the archipelago. Visitors flock to Pemba’s shores, dotted with desert islands and throngs of coconut palms, for some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel drops off steeply just off the west coast and the diverse species of marine life and coral are truly exceptional. Because tourism is still in its early stages, a trip to Pemba’s unspoiled shores and pristine waters is an adventure of a lifetime.
Rubondo Island national park is on the southwest shores of Lake Victoria. The park includes Rubondo Island and several other smaller islands. A diverse collection of butterflies and bird life can be seen from the lake shore.
The different habitats on Rubondo Island include open woodland, dense forest, swamp and savanna. This variety provides for an array of wildlife. Many of the animals found in Rubondo Island National Park were relocated here in the 1970’s because the Island was considered a safe haven from poaching.
Hiking, bird watching, wildlife viewing or relaxing on quiet beaches are some of activities to enjoy in Rubonda Island National Park.
On the islands of Mafia, old trading towns line the walkway to abandoned ports and the gentle sea. For centuries, the island was a trading stop for Shirazi merchants travelling up towards Persia and under the rule of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar, vast coconut and cashew plantations flourished.
Today, all that remain of the island’s prestigious past are the coral ruins on Chole Mjini, the small island just off Hore from Mafia where the Arab landowners lived a sumptuous life removed from their plantations and slaves.
Mafia Island is a popular destination for visitors to relax after their safari and the island’s relaxed and secluded beaches offer privacy and comfort for discerning travelers. Mafia’s incredible and unspoilt dive sites have remained a well-kept secret of diving aficionados and beach recluses for years, but now the island is fast becoming a preferred destination.
These days, Mafia’s remote location means it receives only the most selective visitors, but things are changing. The recent gazetting of Mafia Island Marine Park – the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean – to include surrounding villages in its conservation efforts means that the millions of fish and coral species that thrive in the warm waters of Mafia’s beaches will survive for decades to come.
There are other Islands in Tanzania that are equally enchanting and we will endevour to bring you the best selections of inland water mass islands.