Learn to Scuba Dive and Regenerate Reefs on Your Own Private Island in Tanzania

Thanda Island, adjacent to Mafia Island Marine Park, certifies divers and improves diving skills in privacy and comfort while offering myriad educational activities in and around Indian Ocean waves

A private island is the ultimate isolation spot. With limited control over their everyday lives, having the opportunity to travel in a bubble and stay on their own in a remote destination is a luxury that most travelers can only dream about. Add adventure, education, and the underwater world of Tanzania’s largest protected marine area in the Indian Ocean to the mix, and what do you get? An ultra-exclusive and active journey you’ll never forget at Thanda Island.

At just 20 acres, Thanda Island is proof that even a tiny private island can significantly impact the conservation of sea life and surrounding communities. Located 24 nautical miles off the coast of Tanzania and adjacent to Mafia Island Marine Park, Thanda Island partners with Mafia Island Diving, a PADI 5-star and SSI dive center based on nearby Mafia Island, a New York City-sized atoll and big brother to its much smaller sibling. Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, visit the area so routinely scientists have started giving them names.

Guests of Thanda Island have the opportunity to get dive certified right onsite and in total privacy, sharing the experience – if they desire – with family and friends. The experienced team from Mafia Island Diving takes a personalized approach to instruction, with fluency in six languages (English, German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Swahili) and tutoring from private, authentic Arab dhows or modern fiber boats.

The World’s Biggest Sharks Love Thanda Island

Mafia Island Marine Park adjacent to Thanda Island is widely considered a paradise for divers, with nine islands surrounded by spectacular reefs for diving and snorkeling. Stretching nearly 320 square miles, the park is home to an impressive diversity of coral, five species of turtles, and some 400 species of reef fish.

The crystal-clear water is also a rich breeding ground for pelagic fish such as barracuda, stingray, large grouper, and Napoleon wrasse. Whale shark season lasts from October through March, with ample opportunity for a private audience with the uniquely spotted gentle giants.

Learn Skills to Help Resolve Environmental Challenges

Guests can also snorkel, dive and work with Thanda Island’s resident marine biologist to regenerate reefs around Thanda Island. Recently Thanda has formed a partnership with The Ropes of Hope, a Mafia Island-based organization that is building 25 rope nurseries, each housing 4,000 coral mother fragments, over the next five years.


Dive guests can head out on a dhow or fiber boat from Thanda Island. Many guests also use the island’s private helicopter to access dive sites around Mafia Island, available at additional cost.

All-Inclusive Island for Small Groups

Exclusive use of Thanda Island is offered at US $45,000 per night for a maximum of 12 travelers, all-inclusive for a minimum of five nights. The rate includes the dedicated island host team, all meals, and drinks, including a handpicked selection of wines, as well as diving, unlimited spa treatments, ethical swimming with whale sharks (October-March) snorkeling, sailing, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, SUPs and a wide selection of boathouse toys, a floodlit tennis court, high-speed WIFI, sandbank picnics, sunset cruises on the Yacht, as well as roundtrip helicopter flights from Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport.

Upon landing, whether flying privately or commercially, the Thanda Island team will either meet the guests on the tarmac or at international arrivals and escort them to a luxury SUV that will transport them to the helicopter for their 35-minute connection to Thanda Island. Alternatively, a chartered plane can fly a larger group to Kilindoni on Mafia Island, where they can either be ferried to Thanda Island via helicopter (about 10 minutes either way) or fast boat (30-45 minutes).

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