"Dominated by the large island for which it is named, the Mafia archipelago is protected in a marine park that offers probably the finest diving, snorkelling and game fishing in all of Tanzania. ”

- Philip Briggs

Mafia Archipelago

Comprising one large island and several tiny islets, this relatively little-visited archipelago stands off the southern mainland opposite the remote Rufiji Delta.

Primarily known as a diving hub, it is serviced by a scattering of top-notch beach lodges that offer an exclusive upmarket alternative to the more popular and touristy island of Zanzibar. The lagoon-like Chole Bay is ideal for learner divers, but there are also several more challenging sites for experienced divers in the open waters of Mafia Island Marine Park.

Between November and March, close-up encounters with the immense whale-shark are commonplace.

When to go

Find out when is best to visit

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DRY SEASON

A brief dry interlude before the more intense long rains in March, April and May.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A brief dry interlude before the more intense long rains arrive in late March.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY TO WET SEASON TRANSITION

The beginning and end of the rains varies each year, but generally, this period is the wettest time of the year. Travel to and from lodges is potentially difficult at times. This wet season is often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

WET SEASON - 'LONG RAINS'

Often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain, this period is the wettest time of the year, making travel to and from lodges potentially difficult at times.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

WET SEASON - 'LONG RAINS'

Often characterised by overcast skies and consecutive days of rain, this period is the wettest time of the year, making travel to and from lodges potentially difficult at times.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies. This is the perfect time to visit the vast majority of the country.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

DRY SEASON

A more stable and predictable time of the year, usually with clear skies.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

WET SEASON - 'SHORT RAINS'

This is a rather unpredictable time of the year, with occasional heavy showers or thunderstorms interspersing the sunny spells. Nevertheless we would still consider this a good time to visit, since the rains are not as intense during this period as during the long rains.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

WET SEASON - 'SHORT RAINS'

This is a rather unpredictable time of the year, with occasional heavy showers or thunderstorms interspersing the sunny spells. Nevertheless we would still consider this a good time to visit, since the rains are not as intense during this period as during the long rains.

There are two wet seasons in Tanzania. The first, known as the ‘long rains’, takes place between March and May, while the ‘short rains’ take place between November and December and are much milder. Exceptions to this are found in the southern and western safari regions, where there is a more continuous wet season from November through to May.

Choosing the best time for a safari in Tanzania ultimately depends on the experience you are seeking. Generally, the Northern Circuit parks (The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara) are good year-round. Tarangire is an exception in the Northern Circuit; along with the Selous and Ruaha (Southern Circuit) and Katavi and Mahale (Western Circuit), Tarangire is generally at its best during the dry season. Saadani is best visited after the wet seasons, when the plains are well watered. Coastal and island destinations are at their best during the dry season, when the weather is sunnier and more consistent.

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