Home

Search this site powered by FreeFind
 

Dive Sites

Dive Sites of Tanzania

Mafia Island

DIVING INSIDE THE BAY

KINASI WALL

This is a sheltered bank reef, moderately  deep and steeply sloping from 8 to 21 metres. It runs south-east:north-west for approximately 800 m and is an excellent dive on a slack tide or with a slight incoming current. It is in superb condition and composed of many species of hard and soft corals and supports a great variety of shoaling and solitary fish and giant clams, seafans, large groupers, and Napolean wrasse; there are abundant reef and pelagic fish, and turtles (especially  the hawksbill) are often seen.

CHOLE WALL

Another bank reef that joins the Kinasi  Wall but lying north-east:south-west, also about 800m long. A steep bank of coral descending to 15 m, usually with excellent visibility, and ending in coral rubble and sand. A panorama for the diver as there is a startlingly rich tapestry of corals enveloped in clouds of tiny fish, dominated by colourful damselfish and fusiliers; numerous butterflyfish and angelfish.  Especially interesting for the many species of colourful nudibranchs and flatworms. This is an excellent night or introductory dive. A great dive full of interest.

CORAL GARDENS

A very large area of beautiful coral outcrops  or "bommies", lying in a wedge behind the Kinasi and Chole walls. The coral is very densely packed and continuous behind Kinasi wall; elsewhere  the coral is separated by seagrass and sand patches. This is an excellent  site for photography with a very high diversity of fish, colourful corals  and anemones and the shallow water makes visibility excellent. This is a shallow water dive, often undertaken as the last phase of one of the wall dives. Excellent for snorkellers behind Kinasi Wall at low tide.

 THE CORAL PATCHES

This site comprises three extensive and  spectacular coral patches at 9 to 17 m that are separated by sand channels. The many species of coral are packed around the ancient Porites formations.  There are a large number of dense shoals of fish, equalled only by Kinasi  Pass. A peculiarity is the occurrence of large numbers of spotted garden  eels, so named for their habit of living together in "gardens"  in the sand around the coral.

THE PINNACLE

The Pinnacle is a 12 m spire of ancient  coral rock (7o57'005S/39o47'850E) lying in the inner Kinasi Pass, close  to the last rock island. Maximum depth is 24m at the base of the spire. This is a spectacular dive for the unusual structure and the mixture of  reef and pelagic fish in the channel. Home to a very large potato cod  and a very large resident moray in a hole on the "whale-back" of rock that slopes off the western side of the stack and many giant batfish.

KINASI PASS

After completing a tour of the Pinnacle  the diver heads south-west to the side of the channel, the Kinasi Pass  dive, rightfully famous as a stunning drift dive. The Pass has two walls, commencing with a deep 20-26 m shelving reef, then a shallower one at  6-15 m. The diver floats along a wall with small caverns and overhangs, with great shoals of juvenile and adult reef fish, barracuda and carangidae  that sometimes block out the light, a vast array of corals, parrotfish,  large groupers and pelagics coming and going with the tide. A fantastic  dive.

MILIMANI

Extremely picturesque with unusual coral formations through which the diver navigates. Spectacular layered coral  peaks. This is followed by vast Porites formations that are dome-like,  with many lionfish, glass fish and moray eels. From here it slopes away  to 21 m with a wide variety of soft and hard corals. This site is good  in all conditions as it is only slightly affected by currents; an excellent second dive.

 MSUMBIJI

This site consists of a small primary reef with a variety of soft and hard corals on slopes and sheer walls down to 15 m. Away from the central formation are spires of coral that provide  archways and overhangs for the diver to explore. Beautiful anemones of  fluorescent red colour and rays (especially blue spotted) are common.  This site is a good introductory dive but has unpredictable visibility  conditions.

DIVES OUTSIDE THE BAY

DINDINI WALL NORTH

This is a rock wall from 8 m down to 28  m, with caves, caverns, overhangs and an archway; this is the only true  rock wall so far discovered and it makes a spectacular and exciting dive. Large groupers, sharks, guitarfish, turtles and basket sponges are features. We have also seen many large pelagics here, including sailfish, very large tuna and dolphins, as the wall lies close to great dropoffs. There is  lush growth of sedentary filter feeders and algae on the upper part of the wall; seafans and whip corals lower down

DINDINI SOUTH WALL

An extension of the same wall, from 9-22 m, this dive is interesting for the many small walls interspersed with  shelving reef, offering a great variety of soft and hard corals and more  reef fish. There are very many Napoleon wrasse and potato bass. An excellent  dive.

JINA PASS

This site is also an extension of the Dindini  Wall lying at the northern tip of Jina Island, ranging in depth from 8 m to 20 m at the base of a small, vertical wall that has shallow caverns and overhangs and bottoms out in a gravel field. The site is one of our  favourites for a rough-mannered, persistent, overfriendly and very large  potato bass who dominates every dive.

JINA REEF

A gently sloping fringing reef down to 26  m with many brightly coloured soft corals. Home to many mid-size groupers (Flowery Cod) and inquisitive blue-spotted trevally, which are common  on all Mafia dives. This site is close to and a continuation of the fringing  reef complex near Kinasi Pass.

KINASI PASS ENTRANCE

The north and south shoulders of the Pass  are fringing reefs with dramatic landscapes; here there are excellent  stands of pristine staghorn and large table corals. Shoals of juvenile  reef and pelagic fish; the red lunar-tailed groupers are common; many parrotfish. Turtles, rays and small reef sharks are often seen, as well  as many of the larger ocean-going fish - kingfish, caranx, barracuda, rainbow runner. Both dive sites - on either side of the Pass - slope to  20 m, where the coral peters out to rubble and sand, about 500 m offshore.

LONG RANGE DIVES

KITUTIA REEF

This comprises two large bare sand bars  or "cays" and an ancient coral rock outcrop, surrounded by patch  reef, approximately 9 km south east of Jibondo Island and 18 km from Kinasi.  There is a high diversity of corals and reef fish, large oceanic pelagics  on the outer slopes, and excellent stands of staghorn corals. Closer to the cays there is excellent snorkelling with "bommies". There  are moray and honeycomb eels, and turtles and dolphins frequent Kitutia. There are several dive sites here; the site due east of the coral cay slopes to 21 m with a pristine coral slope and a great variety of fish;  a pair of giant potato cod and a Chinaman cod provide friendly company.There is also a superb drift dive down the western side from the sand cays.

THE DHOW WRECK ON MWAMBA UKUTA

FRONTIER lost a 12 m dhow close to Ras Kisimani, during high winds that forced the vessel onto the reef. Heavy seas then  overturned her and she has since become home to a variety of interesting  fish, including giant batfish and groupers. This excursion is wonderful  when coupled with a picnic on Ras Kisimani beach.

MANGE REEF AND SANDBAR

This is a sand bar with patch reef 3 km  long located 18 km south-west of Kinasi. The best dive site is off the  eastern corner of the reef where the reef drops off to a maximum depth  of 20 m. At 10-14 m the coral is dominated by massive, encrusting forms  with an impressive variety of soft corals flourishing at all depths. There are many juvenile fish, extensive stands of staghorn coral, octopus, crayfish,  moray eels, and large pelagics.

 KIFINGE (FORBES) BAY

This is part of the fringing reef that is  typical of the whole south-eastern side of Mafia, and has pristine coral  and an unusual diversity of fish, small groupers, large rays and batfish  are a feature. The site is 10 km north of Kinasi Pass and is a great excursion  along the wild, jagged cliffs of the coast; fishing on the way is also  good with every chance of giant trevally and sailfish. The reef stretches across the mouth of the bay (which is exposed at low tide) and slopes gently to meet sand and coral rubble at 18-20 m. There is a spectacular  coral wall at the northern extremity of the bay. In particular, the diver will see uncommon butterflyfish (Meyers, Black Pyramid and the Longnose) and there is an unusually high population of mid-size groupers and shoals  of red-toothed triggerfish.

RAS MKUMBI (THE LIGHTHOUSE)

Some of the most exciting diving anywhere, but a long way from KINASI and therefore usually undertaken as a camping excursion . The dive sites are variations of shelf and small  walls, coral gardens and overhangs. The exciting feature is the high probability  of sighting sharks, large turtles and many of the pelagics. All the features of Kifinge and Jina Wall are also found here.

OKUZA ISLAND

This is an overnight (or longer) excursion involving camping out on Okuza beach; blissfully there are no flies or mosquitoes on this isolated islet. The island is extremely beautiful  and surrounded by sand bars and protected channels; the colours are wonderful and there is an excellent protected anchorage. The outer wall is a fringing reef that falls away to a maximum of 32 m on the first shelf and then  much further beyond the sport diving limits at the northern end. The southern  extremity ends in coral gardens at 6-9 m. There are vast gardens of lettuce  corals, huge fan corals, clams, lobsters, a vast variety of reef and pelagic  fish and small black and white tip sharks. The snorkelling on the north-western side is surpassed only by that on Nyuni Island, a little further south.

Back to Top

 

 

[Tanzania] [Bookstore] [Diveoperators] [Divesites] [UK Divers]

Back to Top