The Undiscovered Islands of The Indian Ocean : The Indian Ocean is undoubtedly calling to you if you’re looking for an African island getaway or intend to add a little beach time to your Africa safari Tour. But where should we go? You’ve probably heard of Mauritius and the Seychelles, which are both stunning, but what about a less-traveled destination, specifically the Mafia and Pemba islands? These two stunning islands, which are just off the coast of Tanzania, have all the characteristics of a Robinson Crusoe-style island getaway: swinging palm fronds, white sand beaches, and gin-clear waters. They truly are a slice of heaven on earth. Choosing which is best for you can be difficult because they are both so stunning. Roll up our helpful guide, which could aid in your decision-making, The Undiscovered Islands of The Indian Ocean.
WHAT TO DO?
You might believe that Pemba Island and Mafia Island are only good for relaxing beach days because they are so small. Although there are enough of them to choose from in this area, these havens provide more than just a place to top off your tan. Divers come from all over the world to dive in Mafia and Pemba because they are both well-known dive destinations with beautiful reefs, clean waters, and an abundance of amazing marine life.
Of the two, Pemba is perhaps the better known for diving. The west coast is well-known for its coral reefs and sheer drop-offs, making it a paradise for spotting tropical schools of fish. In addition to seeing Nemo and his friends, you can expect to dive with Napoleon wrasse, barracuda, reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, and always impressive dolphin pods.
Mafia is also renowned for its fantastic diving, and Pemba-like marine life can be found in its protected bays and difficult dive walls. The opportunity for guests to snorkel with one of the ocean’s most stunning species, the whale shark, is available from October to March each year. This one-of-a-kind feature might just help Mafia take over its neighboring island. PADI lists the island as one of the top 10 places in the world to interact with these amazing creatures, which also happen to be the biggest fish in the world, The Undiscovered Islands of The Indian Ocean.
Don’t dismiss Pemba just yet, even though these graceful giants may not reside there. The interior of this island is so lush and colorful that it is also referred to as “the Green Island.” If you take a stroll, you might come across vervet monkeys and flying foxes. You can also explore the nearby plantations, which are home to everything from cloves (the aroma fills the air) to mangoes, coconuts, and bananas.
In actuality, either island is a great choice. Both are genuinely gorgeous locations and are great for beach getaways and aquatic adventures.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
Because the islands are significantly smaller and see far fewer visitors than some of their neighbors, you might anticipate that there would be a dearth of lodging options. The islands may not have as many possibilities as the larger island of Zanzibar, but those that they do have are of the highest caliber, The Undiscovered Islands of The Indian Ocean. We guarantee you’ll find something here that suits you, from private islands to underwater bedrooms (yes, really), rustic opulence on the beach, and everything in between. Here are some of our favorites:
If you’re looking for some barefoot luxury in the middle of Pemba’s tropical forest, head to this lovely location. You’ll feel as though you’ve stumbled upon paradise itself, encircled by jungle and the sea. Visitors can pick from tented rooms (ideal for those who want to be Castaways), suites, and luxury suites, with alternatives for any budget (for those really wanting to push the boat out). You’ll have a ton of options.
The Manta Resort
We’re prepared to wager that this is unlike any other place you’ve stayed. The actual resort is situated high on a desolate hilltop with a view of the glistening sea. It’s been lovely so far, but it gets better! The resort’s undersea chamber, which is not located on dry land, is ideal for visitors looking for aquatic life. The unusual room is a floating glass cube that is anchored in the water and allows visitors to entirely immerse themselves in the ocean while watching fish leisurely pass by. Bliss.
Pole Pole is the pinnacle of eco-luxe and sophistication for the environmentally conscious traveler. This location, which translates from Swahili as “slowly,” is a great place to disconnect from the outside world. The hotel is understated and elegant, with a peaceful pool to unwind by, a restaurant with a view of the ocean that is renowned for offering some of the island’s best food, and a bar where you can sip a few sundowners.
Although rustic luxury is great, there are moments when you just want pure grandeur. Thanda Island, the pinnacle of exclusivity, is the only place in Mafia that more closely fulfills this description. On a private island located in Tanzania’s Shungimbili Island Marine Reserve, you’ll stay in a lavish home large enough for you and your guests and equipped with every modern convenience. Your own chef will prepare fresh local cuisine for you, and you can snorkel right from your beach around the nearby coral reef.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Despite being removed from the hustle and bustle, Mafia and Pemba are both accessible via frequent connections from Dar es Salaam. You might need to make a brief stop to let off a few people in Zanzibar, but that just gives you more time to take in the view of this island paradise from above.