Mafia Island
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The Submerged Ancient City of Kisimani Mafia
The Mafia Archipelago, derived from the Arabic word morfiyeh meaning archipelago, consists of several islands and atolls, the largest being Mafia Island itself. Considered the virtually unknown alternative to Zanzibar, it is similar but without the crowds of tourists. Beaches here are picture-perfect, and the diverse marine life, which is protected by the presence of the Marine Park, means this is a diver’s paradise. The island’s history can be traced back to the 8th century, when boats would stop to refuel and repair while plying the lucrative coastal trade route. This is evident in the crumbling Kua ruins, with its mosque and unexcavated Chinese and Persian pottery. South of the island is the submerged town of Kisimani Mafia which was destroyed and submerged by a cyclone in 1872 and to this day has yet to be fully excavated. Mafia Island Lodge offers makuti (thatched) rooms with a sea view, plus fishing, biking, walking, diving, snorkeling, and historical and cultural tours around the island.
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