Auric Air will operate daily flights for the whale shark season, between October 1 and March 31, 2019, to Mafia Island, part of Tanzania’s Mafia Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

Deepesh Gupta, Commercial Manager for Auric Air Services, told Tourism Update that the route, which is currently serviced three times a week, will continue operating a Cessna Grand Caravan to and from the island, with a capacity of 13 passengers.

Flight schedule is as follows:

  • Depart Dar es Salaam at 16h45, arrive in Mafia at 17h15.
  • Depart Mafia at 17h35, arrive in Dar es Salaam at 18h10.

The island is surrounded by its own archipelago of islands, some of which are uninhabited. Mafia Island is 49 kilometres long and 17 kilometres wide, and is known for its marine life. It also features tropical mango and cashew trees, monkeys, lemurs, dwarf hippos and wild pigs.

The island is known to have the longest whale shark season in the world, with both challenging and rewarding dives for the advanced, as well as numerous sheltered bays and coves for intermediate divers.

Mafia Island Marine Park is Tanzania’s first marine park, embracing the Rufiji River Delta and Mafia Channel, covering a total area of about 1500 square kilometres. The park’s marine ecosystem comprises an estuarine, mangrove and coral reef, home to two endangered species, the dugong and the sea turtle. Whale sharks are common in the waters off Kilindoni in the west of the island between October and March. Visitors will find an abundance of fish, such as blue, black and striped marlin, barracuda, red snapper and kingfish.