Last week we stayed at Ras Mbisi Lodge on Mafia Island.

Getting there

Mafia is easy to reach via regular flights by Coastal Aviation from Dar Es Salaam airport. We flew straight into Dar and on to Mafia with only a short wait in the pleasant (old international) internal flight terminal.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Abu, the lodges driver who skillfully navigates the dirt roads to get you to Ras Mbisi in about 30mins.

A banda, the wooden house which is your home at Ras Mbisi complete with bathroom and shower
Inside the bandas at Ras Mbisi

Glorious white beaches and turquoise water

There are 8km of white sands across several tidal bays to explore.
Great sunsets every night

Food, a serious highlight

Food at Ras Mbisi was in general outstanding as long as you like fish. Breakfast is fruit, juice, pancakes and the option of full English. Lunches were somewhat filling at 3 courses usually with bruschetta starter and a buffet style main course. The lunches were sometimes better than suppers due to the lighter style of the food. Highlights were Bluefish-fingers, Pork ribs, crab salad, Cigale (delicious new find for me), crab and cocount soup and the delicious home grown rocket salads. For my taste, the only culinary weak point was some of the deserts, that involved cream (where condensed UHT milk was used due to availability). Better to just provide abundant fruity deserts I would have thought.


One of Mafia Islands biggest attractions is the whale sharks, which you can swim amongst. Sadly they had not yet arrived during our visit, but we did some other good trips.

Boat cruise to Shugu Mbili, supposedly uninhabited but we found some itinerant fisherman in a shanti village. So small you can run around it in 10mins
Snorkelling around Shungu Mbili’s reef
Landing on Shungu Mbili

We also did an overland trip around the island to visit a few villages, the lighthouse and the ruins of a German prison in a beautiful spot. This tiring trip ended with a swim in the crystal clear sea at Kanga beach, one of the finest I’ve ever seen.

German prison ruins
Beach by German ruins
Kanga beach


Ras Mbisi is fantastic, we had a lovely relaxing stay and still managed a few activities. The staff are all friendly and wonderful, not least the owners John and Michelle who really go the extra mile to make you welcome. We had a birthday whilst we were there and were treated to a special seafood platter, wine and a chocolate cake made by Scarlet, their delightful little livewire of a daughter.

Such a good holiday that we are alreeady thinking towards when we can return.