Whale Sharks Mafia Island

For wildlife enthusiasts and photographers this expedition is truly one you do not want to miss !! We will be spending our days swimming with the largest shark on the planet as they feed on plankton. Mafia Island, off the coast of Tanzania, is a East African hidden gem and is home to a resident population of whale sharks and beautiful coral reefs in a Marine Protected area.

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Every year from September until March, whale sharks aggregate at the surface to feed in the narrow channel between Mafia Island and the main land but late in November and in early December visibility peaks and is best for photography. We will spend 4 days at sea snorkeling with these giant sharks and 1 day diving on the coral reefs and maybe see the famous Giant Groupers of Kinasi Pass, all the while living on the beach in simple and eco-friendly stilted palm-frond beach huts.

 

Whale Shark expedition details, cost and booking

Expedition 1 – Dates to be decided – $2500 p/p – Enquire Expedition

Expedition 2 – Dates to be decided – $2500 p/p – Enquire Expedition

Mafia Island Whale Sharks Trip Report 2014  

Included:

  • Flights to and from Dar es Salaam
  • 7 nights / 6 days bed accommodation and all meals
  • Transfers to lodge and Marine Park
  • 4 full days Whale shark diving
  • 2 days available for reef freediving / SCUBA diving.
  • Professional Dive Guide
  • Weights (if needed)
  • Lunch, snacks & cool drinks on boat
  • Dive briefings and shark presentation

Not included:

  • Flights to Dar es Salaam
  • Transfer costs from international to local airport terminals ($7)
  • Mafia Island marine park fee’s ($20 p/p/d)
  • Alcohol
  • Any SCUBA diving (Pay direct as needed)

What to expect :

Guests

We will be taking a maximum of 10 guests on each trip. We will be Freediving or Snorkeling with Whale Sharks and Freediving or SCUBA diving on the coral reefs. A fair level of fitness needed to enjoy this trip. SCUBA diving is not included in the price as the full range of diving is available from beginner shore entries to triple tank reef wall diving. You can decide what you would like to do on the day as you feel.

Travel

Tanzania is in a Malaria area, so please consult a doctor before arrival. A visa may be required to enter Tanzania. South African’s do not need a visa to enter Tanzania and there is no fee to be paid on arrival. Tanzania requires a you to have a Yellow Fever inoculation to enter. The domestic terminal is not next to the international terminal and a short taxi ride is required, cost is about $5-7.

Environment

Mafia Island has an air temperature of 28 -32C and 70% humidity. The mornings are windless and balmy and the heat of the day will wake you up. in the afternoon a breeze picks up and thunderclouds develop the horizon. Short rain showers are common. On the western shores of Mafia Island, where the Whale shark feed, the water ranges in depth form 10m – 20m over sand banks. There is no ground swell so it is a calm coast line, however a  onshore breeze is common from 11:00 everyday. The water temperature is a stable 28 C, but we experienced 36C in the shallow mangroves in front of the beach camp.The visibility varies from 5m plankton soup, perfect shark food to 20m blue water.

Equipment:

We will be freediving (snorkeling) with the Whale sharks. It is best to bring a thin (2mm) suit or long sleeve rash vest and board shorts. Long powerful fins are good to have but not essential.

Links Relevant to the expedition

General Itinerary

Arrival – Depart Dar es Salaam on afternoon flight (details to be confirmed on booking). Meet in the evening at the small airport on Mafia Island. Bags go by car, guests walk 200m to beach camp nearby. Welcome and dinner.

Day 1 – 4 – Wake up at 6am, breakfast till 6:30. Spend the day on the Dhow snorkeling with Whale Sharks till about 12:00. Return to camp, relax, swim explore, photograph Mangrove jellyfish. Dinner at 7:30.

Day 5 – 6 – Transfer 20 min by taxi to the Eastern side of the island and enter the Marine Park. Your choice of SCUBA or Freediving. Beginner and experienced divers can be catered for. Dive sites range from shallow reef and weed diving to deep coral wall drift dives.

Departure – Breakfast and depart.