Selous safari & Mafia Islands diving holiday

“This holiday rediscovers Tanzania, swapping the busier game parks of the north and popular Zanzibar for the remote and wonderful Selous and Mafia Island. Secluded bliss!”


Selous Game Reserve | Game drives | Walking safaris | Boat excursions on Rufiji River | Mafia Island | Optional: diving, snorkelling, Swahili village visits, bird watching, coastal forest walks

Description of Selous safari & Mafia Islands diving holiday

Discover Tanzania’s wildest, most off the beaten track areas, with this Selous safari and Mafia Islands diving holiday. It’s a perfectly paced mix of wildlife spotting and island relaxation, with four nights in Selous Game Reserve in the south of the country, followed by six nights on the Mafia Archipelago, where remote sandy beaches are perfect for relaxation and the clear seas are a diver’s paradise.

Selous is Africa’s largest game park, just a 40 minute flight from Dar es Salaam. It’s home to huge populations of buffalo and lion, and is one of the few places in Africa where you have a good chance of spotting rare wild dogs. In addition, you’ll come across masses of wildebeest, zebra and impala, and it’s possible to see herds of 50 or more giraffe drinking from lakes during the hottest part of the day.
As well as game drives in the morning and evening, there’s the option to take a walking safari and boat trip on the Rufiji River and lakes. You’ll be accompanied by an expert wildlife guide and you have the freedom to choose what you’d like to do each day – they are all included in the price.

After your safari, take a short 40 minute flight to the remote and almost unknown Mafia Islands in the Indian Ocean. The islands are covered in rainforest and grasslands, with tiny villages dotted here and there, and barrier reefs out to sea. A large part of Mafia Island itself is a protected Marine Park and you can explore its biodiversity by snorkelling and scuba diving, through coastal forest walks and bird watching. Learn about Swahili village life and traditional culture, too, by visiting its villages.

The best time do this itinerary is mid June to late October. This is the dry season, game viewing is good and the climate is comfortable.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

Available all year, apart from March to early June. This suggested itinerary can be modified entirely to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used and how long you spend in each destination.
Our top tip:
Mafia isn
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
A selection of safari and island lodges are available.
Accommodation, all activities in Selous, local and intl. flights, transport, local guides,

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Selous safari & Mafia Islands diving holiday


The Selous Game Reserve is at the forefront of conservation in Tanzania. The reserve comprises the largest protected area in Africa and is uninhabited by man. It protects around one third of the world’s endangered wild dog population. Their need to roam vast areas and their formidable hunting skills have caused many to be shot by farmers, but here in Selous they have boundless woodlands and savannahs in which to roam. If you are lucky enough to see wild dogs during your stay in Tanzania, you can help prevent further decline. The Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute aims to conserve the population of wild dog in Tanzania, and by sending your photographs in to them you can help them monitor the dog population.

In the dry season an ancient migration of elephants takes place between the Selous and Mozambique's Niassa Game Reserves. This is one of the largest natural trans-boundary eco-systems in Africa and at the last consensus it was estimated that 64,400 elephants roam the two parks, with 84% on the Tanzanian side. The Selous plays an integral part in protecting this migration pattern. The Selous Rhino Project is currently operating in the reserve and aims to protect breeding herds of black rhino.

Mafia Island is the site of Tanzania's first Marine Park which was gazetted in 1995. The area included within the boundaries of MIMP is one of the most important marine habitats in the world. It has mangroves, sea-grass beds, coral reefs, inter-tidal reef flats, lagoons and coastal forest.


We have suggested Butiama Lodge on Mafia Island for this itinerary where the lodge has been built with natural materials using local craftsmanship. The lodge also employs people from the local village and visits can be made with one of the friendly staff if you wish to meet some of the Mafia islanders and learn more about their traditions.

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