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Of the 50 verdant islands found off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is undoubtedly the most famous. This is with good reason – its tropical climate, rich cultural history and friendly inhabitants make it a popular destination for those seeking an island getaway.

However, if you’re willing to step off the beaten track there is an island gem that remains virtually unknown. Found 160 km to the south of Zanzibar is Mafia island, a part of the Mafia archipelago. Although its name might suggest otherwise, there is nothing threatening about this remote and picturesque island!

A large coral reef surrounds the island, making it one of the finest places on the planet to observe marine wildlife. The island’s inland also offers a variety of wildlife, including 5 endemic species of butterflies. The presence of the coral reef has meant that near half of Mafia’s beaches have been awarded protected status by the Tanzanian government. This ensures an increased level of wildlife protection and restrictions on development plans, conserving these wonderful shorelines for years to come.

You may also be interested in our 5 secret beaches in California you’ve never thought of visiting and you may be interested in my top breathtaking getaways from San Francisco and 5 most remote beaches on earth.

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