Scuba Diving Tanzania
Mafia Island, Pemba and Zanzibar
Mafia Island ("Chole Shamba") is part of the Tanzanian Spice Islands, together with Unguja and Pemba. As one of the six districts of the Pwani Region, Mafia Island is governed from the mainland, not from the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, of which it has never been considered to be a part. According to the 2002 Tanzania census, the population of the Mafia District was 40,801. The economy is based on fishing, subsistence agriculture and the market in Kilindoni. The island attracts some tourists, mainly adventure scuba divers, game fishermen, and people wanting relaxation.
In 1995 Mafia Island had financial help from the WWF to make a natural marine wildlife centre. There are two tourist resorts on the island as well.
Tanzania's first multi-user marine park at Mafia Island was established following management recommendations and data from surveys conducted by the Society for Environmental Exploration.
Pemba is famous for its rich fishing grounds. Between the island and the mainland there is the deep 50 kilometre wide Pemba channel, which is one of the most profitable fishing grounds for game fishing on the East African coast.
A large proportion of the Zanzibar export earnings comes from cloves. The greatest concentration of clove trees is found on Pemba (3.5 million trees) as growing conditions here are superior to those on Unguja island. Clove trees grow to the height of around 10 to 15 metres and can produce crops for over 50 years.
More recently with the booming tourism industry in neighbouring Zanzibar, more adventurous travellers are seeking out the less-crowded Pemba, led by dive tourists seeking the uncrowded and un-spoiled reefs the island offers the experienced diver.
Zanzibar is located in the Indian Ocean, 6° south of the equator and 36 km from the Tanzanian mainland coast. It is 108 km long and 32 km wide, with an area of 2,461 km2 (950 sq mi). Zanzibar is mainly low lying, with its highest point being 120 metres. It is in the UTC +3 time zone and does not use Daylight Saving Time. Zanzibar is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral reefs and the historic Stone Town - said to be the only functioning ancient town in East Africa. The coral reefs that surround the East Coast are rich in marine diversity.
The heat of summer is often cooled by strong sea breezes, particularly on the north and east coasts. Being near to the equator, the islands are warm all year.
Rains occur in November but are characterised by short showers that do not last long. Longer rains normally occur in April and May although this is often referred to as the "Green Season", and it typically does not rain every day during that time.
The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City, and its historic centre, known as Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site.
Zanzibar's main industries are spices, raffia, and tourism. In particular, the islands produce cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper. For this reason, the islands, together with Tanzania's Mafia Island, are sometimes called the Spice Islands (a term also associated with the Maluku Islands in Indonesia). Zanzibar is the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkey, the Zanzibar Servaline Genet, and the (possibly extinct) Zanzibar Leopard.
Information from Wikipedia