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Mafia Island Whale Sharks
Swim, Snorkel or Dive with Whale Sharks at Mafia Island, Tanzania

Combine Mafia Island, Whale Sharks and Yacht Charters

Mafia Island is one of the best places in the world to see Whale Sharks. Swim, snorkel or scuba dive with these majestic creatures for an experience of a lifetime.


Our Mafia Island Whale Sharks adventure is an island hopping yacht charter, exploring the Mafia Island region and combining professionally guided whale shark encounters with the Mafia Island Marine Foundation and Whale Shark Research Centre at Mafia Island.


The whale sharks occur in the Mafia Island region all year-round. When the conditions are right they feed on the surface in the shallow waters on the western side of the island. The most reliable time to encounter them is between October and March.

No previous experience is necessary and swimming or snorkelling with them is easy.

This yacht charter to explore Mafia Island and swim with Whale Sharks will be a very relaxed affair. There is no set route or itinerary, only a general plan, as we prefer to keeps things flexible to make the best of conditions at the time and our guest’s interests.

You will spend the days enjoying the whale shark encounters, swimming, snorkelling on various reefs, exploring various islands and beaches, kayaking or scuba diving if you wish, or just relaxing, reading, sleeping. The choice is yours.

Charter Period: October to March/April

7 Nights/ 8 Days

Yacht Charter & Whale Sharks

  • 3 Guided Whale Shark Excursion

  • Crewed Yacht,

  • Skipper

  • Chef/crew

  • Bed linens & towels

  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner 

  • Juices & soft drinks

  • Local beers

  • Coffee, tea, water 

  • Water Sports Gear,

  • Snorkelling​

  • Stand Up Paddle boarding

  • Fuel For Main Yacht and Tender

Prices from

  • USD 2225 per person

  • Based on 6 paying guests.

mafia island whale sharks.jpg



When is the best time of year to see whale sharks at Mafia Island?

Mafia Island experiences one of the longest whale shark season in the world. Whilst the behaviour of whale sharks is still relatively unknown, the most reliable time to encounter them in Mafia is from October to February and they routinely seen feeding at the surface on the plankton that is pushed out into the Indian ocean from the Rufiji River.

What is swimming with whale shark like?

Despite their name, whale sharks are actually gentle giants, feeding only on plankton. They and are shy and timid by nature; making swimming with whale sharks a safe experience at Mafia Island.

Swimming or snorkelling with them is easy and anyone, regardless of their snorkelling experience, can safely swim with them.

Their gentle nature has made the whale shark a popular focus of marine wildlife conservation tourism. Whale sharks are classified as a globally endangered species, but in Mafia Island Whale Sharks can be seen all the time.

Charter Itinerary
Mafia Island & Whale Sharks
7 Nights / 8 Days

Day 1

  • Board yacht at the Dar es Salaam Waterfront followed by captain’s briefing on security & safety on board and explanation of the itinerary.

  • Depart for Mafia Island.  We cruise south along the coast towards the Mafia Archipelago. its about a 10 to 12 hour cruise to the most northerly islands of the archipelago.

  • Relax on board and enjoy the journey. Try catch fish for dinner.

  • The Alternative arrangement is that you fly from Dar es Salaam to Mafia by light aircraft. This does cost extra, but avoids the cruise down for guests from Dar es Salaam to Mafia.

  • Dinner is served

  • Overnight on board

Day 2 

  • Sailing continues towards the Mafia Archipelago.

  • Once we arrive we will drop anchor and spend the rest of they day relaxing, swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the islands.

  • Overnight on board

Day 3, 4, 5

  • On each morning we will do a Whale Shark Encounter Excursion.

  • The rest of the day will be spent exploring the islands, snorkelling, fishing, diving if you wish or just relaxing. We will explore Chole Bay Marine Park too

  • You can go ashore and enjoy drinks at some of the island beach lodge bars or explore the island. interior. Excursions can be booked on arrival while you are there.

  • During these days guests will be able to spend their time fishing, as mch as they want., from the yacht, the beach, the fishing boat, or wading in the shallows.

  • After fishing, why not visit some of the smaller islands around, “hunt” for lobsters, go snorkeling, swimming,  sunbathe or just relax.

  • All the islands have a rich flora and fauna. The total number of islands on the reef is about 40 and lots of them are still unnamed.

Day 5 or 6

  • We depart for the Songa Islands just south of the Mafia main island and head down to Fangove and Songa, to explore these islands and reefs, before we head back to Dar es Salaam.

Day 7

  • Whole day sailing back to Dar es Salaam and fishing along the way back in the open sea.

  • The alternative is that the boat returns to Mafia main island and the guests fly back to Dar es Salaam by light aircraft.

Day 8

  • Disembark back to Dar es Salaam

This is a guide only. There is no set cruise time frame or route we take, as it all depends on the conditions at the time and the wishes of the guests.

Zanzibar Yacht Charter Power Catamaran.jpg

40ft Power Catamaran
Private Charter

7 Nights / 8 Days
USD 2225 per person (based on 6 paying guests

Mafia Island Whale Sharks

56ft Sailing Catamaran
Private Charter

7 Nights / 8 Days

USD 2575 per person (based on 6 paying guests


The yacht, crew, insurance, fuel and all on-board equipment and facilities, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, soft drinks,selected local beers and mineral water and all on-board equipment and facilities and on board.
3 Whale Shark excursions included

Charter Excludes

Scuba Diving – supplement payable
All Flights, transfers, visas, travel and medical insurance, national / marine parks and reserve fees, all items of a personal nature, optional land based and other activities and fees, alcohol and specially requested Premium Imported drinks and all items not specified as included. EOE

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