Excursions & Activities
With Kinasi Lodge and Blue World Diving
At Kinasi we proudly operate our own Whale Shark excursions for our guests, in order to ensure best practice protocols of sustainable swimming with whale sharks are followed with minimal impact on their behavior.
This is not always easy with excited visitors experiencing this amazing adventure for the first time and boat captains who wish to please them. In the past this has led to situations with too many swimmers in the water at the same time (especially when few sharks are around and there are several boat-loads of people from different operators in the water).
Blue World Diving is our in-house PADI Five-Star Resort dive centre, established in 1995. We have just moved into our completely redesigned and re-built dive centre with its new deck for apres sea drinks and socialising, with its own drinks refrigerator and snack grill.
We have a traditional “jahazi” and three fibreglass boats fully equipped with first aid and life jackets (and Oxygen when diving), spare engines for diving, snorkeling, whale shark trips and special boat excursions.
Diving inside Chole Bay -
Kinasi Wall, Chole Wall, Coral Gardens, Kinasi Pass & the Pinnacle, Milimani Reef, Msumbiji and Big & Small Islands and Darusi.
There is also “Seahorse City” a shallow dive just off Utende Beach where you will sea these beautiful fish.
Diving outside Chole Bay -
Dindini Wall North, Dindini Wall South (Jina Pass shelving reef, Jina Reef, Kinasi Pass Entrance), Juani Island reef
Excursion Dives further afield -
Mange Reef and Sandbar; Kitutia Reef and Sandbar and the Lighthouse at Ras Mkumbi with Kifinge Bay on the way.
Night Diving -
Focusing on the many small, delicate reef species usually missed during the day, garden eels, lobsters and more.
There is a dive, snorkel and excursion programme organized every evening with each individual guest prior to the next day’s activities.
Mafia Island Marine Park is a snorkeler’s paradise with the Coral Gardens, Kinasi Pass Islets, Darusi & Miewe Island, Mange Reef, Kitutia, Jibondo Pass, Chole Chan nel and Reef, North Side of Kinasi Pass
There is a personalised snorkeling programme organised each day for our guests.
The fishing grounds include Mafia Island and its reefs (Mange, Kitutia, Ras Mkumbi), Songo Songo islands, the deep sea crescent north-east of Mafia extending to Okuza, Nyuni and Njove Islands, and in the channels from Ras Bweni to Miororo Island. These have always been regarded as among the best game fishing grounds in East Africa, with catches of sailfish, blue, black and striped marlin, barracuda, wahoo, kingfish, giant trevally, yellowfin and dog-tooth tuna, dorado, five-fingered jack and rainbow runner, red snapper, rock cod. Also, night and day-time bottom fishing trips can also be arranged.
We operate “Catch-&-Release” fishing (trolling, popping, jigging) with “Pyxis” our specially-fitted Fairline deep-V hull boat with its twin engines and room for up to six fishermen. “Pyxis” comes equipped with w fish-finder, life jackets, food & drinks and first aid kit. Enjoy the adventure along Mafia’s famous drop-offs and deep water reefs.
Mafia Island offers great kayaking through mangrove channles and waterways, down the Kua Channel and around the small islets that dot Chole Bay. Our kayaks are free-of-charge to our guests and are also designed to carry a small cool box for drinks and snacks and have ‘dry’ compartments for storing towels and cameras.
Your Excursion Guides will tell you where to go and organise the kayaks for you.
REMOVE THE FOLLOWING:
SAND BANKING IN MAFIA
We do not want you to “bake” but we do want you to enjoy the delightful Marimbani Sand Bank in Chole Bay as well as Miewe island, Mvinje Beach and other great spots, like the sea-mouth of the Kua Channel with its beaches and islets that are full of sea birds, that are seldom visited and you can enjoy all by yourselves. Our boat crew will erect a sun shade for you and lay out your picnic lunch while grilling fresh fish on a small fire.
The months of June and July are the beginning of the turtle hatching on the ocean beaches of Mafia Island and the start of the new breeding season. An amazing sight is to see the hatchlings emerging from their nests and scrambling to the sea… here is a visitor’s comment:
“The nest that hatched last week was set back quite a distance from the seashore, and when one considers the size of the creature and the energy it needs to reach the sea and start its new life it is simply extraordinary that a small round egg like a pingpong ball can achieve all this….. This is certainly an experience not to be missed when visiting Mafia in June – August.”
Visit the 850-year old Kua Ruins on Juani Island or at Kisimani Mafia at Ras Kisimani, where a once-famous settlement was lost to a cyclone in 1856, after being previously overrun by Sakalava cannibals (from Madagascar).
There are also interesting ruins at Baleni Village and German colonial buildings on Chole Island and at Kanga in the north of Mafia.
Our Excursion Guide is well versed in the history and importance of these various lost towns and settlements.
We usually leave for the sunset cruise at around 1600 hrs, heading for Kua Chanel across the Bay from Kinasi. The Chanel is a pristine mangrove forest with many little estuaries and beaches and a feature is the Blue Lagoon, a coral grotto fed by the sea. We visit this on the sunset cruise before sailing to the west of the Bay towards Jibondo Island and enjoy the late afternoon sunset over the Rufiji Delta, usually a stunning sight.
By now the crew has raised the sail so there is only the sound of rushing water along the hull and the creaking of mast and stays as our jahazi “Tabasam” catches the wind… perfect harmony as it has been for hundreds of years.
BIKING IN MAFIA
We arrange for bike rides through village farming areas to give you the chance to meet the local people and see what happens on Mafia Island and how and what the farmers grow. You will be accompanied by our experienced Excursion Guide, if you wish. Or just enjoy an early morning ride for a good workout and sweat !
A great way to see the island and also to observe the lives of the local people and see how they use the land and depend entirely on nature.
NATURE TRAILS AND BIRD WATCHING
Bird watching while in Mafia adds a very interesting dimension to a Tanzania wildlife safari, as the visitor will see many species of shorebird, including migrants such as the Crab Plover, and other species found only in coastal thickets and mangroves and not observed in the inland National Parks and Reserves.
These are early mornming walks arranged on request while you are at Kinasi to experience the shore and mangrove nature trails, the open fields and bushland in the environs of Utende village and Kiegeani; this area is rich in a wide variety of species of birds. Serious birders should contact us in advance so that we can send them the Mafia Bird Checklist that we have worked on for two decades.
We also have a series of nature trails along the wild coastline north of Chole Bay, crossing the peninsula of Mafia at Ras Mkumbi through the dense coastal forest and on the Island of Juani.
Accompanied by a trained and experienced personal guide, visitors can experience the cultural heritage and traditional village life of Mafia by hiking and walking. The excursions around Kinasi - by foot, road or boat - include visiting Chole island and village (with its historic ruins and large Pteropus bats), Jibondo Island and village (an old and very interesting fishing village), Juani Island with its water pools and springs, and the nearby Utende village and farming areas.
We individually arrange with our guests the activities they wish to enjoy to maximise their experience of Mafia and all it has to offer…. so guests can plan their own all-day or half-day picnic excursions and take in snorkeling, a picnic on the beach with fish cooked on an open fire (Swahili style), swimming and just lazing away in nature’s playground….
The full-day excursion includes picnic lunch (if required), soft drinks and water and guests will be accompanied by an expert guide and boat crew.
There are many possible trips around Mafia and visitors will see villages and traditional life of Kilindoni Town & Harbor, coconut plantations such as Ras Mbizi Plantation and Kitoni; Baleni & Kifinge Bay, Kirongwe, Kanga & Jimbo, Ras Mkumbi (The Lighthouse), Mrora Coastal Forest and the Hippo Pools… great opportunities to explore Mafia by road, enjoy an isolated beach for swimming and picnics..
We can also organize motor bikes and the three-wheel “tuktuks” for the adventurous.
The excursion activities are arranged as half- or full-day safaris with refreshments and picnic lunch on a per vehicle basis.
Our chefs have been with us for years and get refresher training each year from a restaurateur friend from England. Naturally we have lots of fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables but we cater for the meat-eaters and vegetarians just as well. We have created everything from kosher food to catering for cruise ships ! So just let us know while you are our guest and we’ll look after you.
KINASI was opened in January 1996 with our first six rooms. We designed and built it ourselves from our experience of living in East Africa and growing up in Papua New Guinea on the sea. Was I re-creating my childhood ? I think so…. KINASI sits on a hillside on the south-east coast of Mafia Island at Utende, overlooking Chole Bay and the islands of Jibondo, Chole and Juani. Mafia is 160 km south of Zanzibar and the same distance east of the Selous. The lodge is 15 km from the Mafia Airport, which was completed in 2013.
KINASI sits on a hillside on the south-east coast of Mafia Island at Utende, overlooking Chole Bay and the islands of Jibondo, Chole and Juani. Mafia is 160 km south of Zanzibar and the same distance east of the Selous. The lodge is just 15 minutes from the new Mafia Airport, which was completed in 2013. The new bitumen road was completed in 2014. There are connections in Dar es Salaam to/from Zanzibar and all the northern and southern game parks, so Mafia Island is now easy to reach.. Mafia Island is a short flight from the capital Dar es Salaam or the Selous Game Reserve…there are morning and afternoon flight connections from all parks, Zanzibar and Pemba Islands and several airlines serving Mafia, so contact us for the latest details or ask us to make your booking.