I do not like making this comparison because Mafia and Zanzibar are such different destinations (we live in both !), but you need to know that in order to make the judgment and all who have not been to either or both are not in that enlightened position. Mafia does not have the Stone Town nor the Spice Tour but Zanzibar does not have a Marine Park nor whale sharks. The ruins on Zanzibar are not old, while Mafia has a thousand years of history and was visited as long as 2,000 years ago by voyagers. They say Zanzibar has the beaches not Mafia, but look at this…. Angels’ Beach in north Mafia, our private celestial location…
For us, Mafia is where we go to enjoy “leisure” from a work base in Zanzibar …it is a really amazing peaceful natural place … And Mafia IS cost-competitive with Zanzibar, even though many believe “Mafia is a very expensive destination” because of logistics and the Marine Park fees. Well, like most outcomes…it depends… We made a comparison of a similar hotel in Zanzibar (where accommodation prices were substantially higher last season). We have completed this exe=rcise and will keep it updated in response to opinions to that Mafia is “very expensive”.
But having shown this, the market reputation of Mafia Island is tarnished by the very high Marine Park fees for which potential visitors see very little justification. For a family of four it adds $ 100 per day to the bill. It also makes it very difficult for tourism in Mafia to compete with Zanzibar (and other countries, since tourists compare a number of similar destinations while planning their travel). However, it does stop the Chole Bay area from becoming a “cheap” low-value destination that would soon be a victim of “over-tourism”.
Mafia Island is a tiny tourism destination in terms of numbers of visitors – between 5-7,000 per year – so we are able – and we deliberately wish to – communicate with each of our visitors before you travel so we can discuss anything you need to understand or find out: from being met in Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar, arrival in Mafia, domestic flights and baggage on aircraft, and all the other aspects of your travel that need our input.
We have been told this is such an old-fashioned approach and travellers want slick, fast booking systems. You will find those on our websites too but we believe in good old hospitality and being available for your reassurance. You will find chat, WhatsApp and Skype options on our websites www.mafiaisland.com and www.kinasilodge.com.