Mafia Island, Tanzania
Butiama is a rustic and charming boutique hotel on the relatively unknown Mafia Island, south of Zanzibar. Possibly more beautiful than its neighbor Zanzibar, the island has a sense of peacefulness you won't find elsewhere, as well as superb diving.
At a Glance
Butiama is the only lodge on the west coast, seven bungalows lead straight out onto the white sand
Surrounded by a barrier reef teeming with marine life, the snorkeling, fishing and diving is excellent
Accompany the chef on a wander up the beach to the little fishing village to select lunch
This is true barefoot beach-front living, a relaxed island paradise
Mafia is well known for its seasonal visitors, whale sharks cruise these waters from November to March
The nearby Kilindoni harbor adds a sense of community to the area but without detracting from the sense of tranquillity.Scott Dunn team
This beautiful boutique hotel is perfect for those who want to relax or those looking or adventureScott Dunn team
Meet our specialists
Call us on (858) 523-9000 to start planning your vacation to Butiama Beach or take a look at our itineraries to Zanzibar and the coast
Butiama is set in an idyllic location amongst a tropical palm grove on the beach. This beautiful property is set on the rarely visited Mafia Island, neighbor to the much more busy Zanzibar. Here you will find a sense of peace that the more touristy destinations on the African east coast lack.
Butiama beach lodge offers a sense of what Zanzibar was like 30 years ago. It is a place where time has stood still and you can stroll for miles along deserted sandy beaches without stumbling across another resort or tourist, with crabs, whale sharks and African fish eagles as your only company. However for those that wish to explore a bit further the market town of Kilindoni is only a 20 minute walk away.
Butiama Beach is the only hotel that sits on the west coast of the island. The tall palms provide shade and the gentle sea breeze gives relief from the sun. The long stretch of white beach here allows you to wander for miles along the shore, and the twelve rooms are in small bungalows found at the end of walkways lined with flowers. You can fall asleep with your doors open listening to the sound of the sea and in the mornings wake to breakfast while looking out at the ocean. The rooms are simply furnished with bright jewel colored kikoi pillows, crisp white linens and mosquito nets draped around the beds, each with their own veranda with hammocks facing the ocean. There is a lovely main restaurant and bar area set under a steep thatch roof, and a lounge with kikoi cushions where you can unwind with a good book. There is a lovely swimming pool set amongst the gardens, too, if you tire of swimming in the sea.
During your stay in this exquisite part of the world you must experience sailing in a tradition dhow boat, or snorkeling and diving at some of the liveliest reefs in the world, looking out for turtles, whale sharks and the huge variety of oceanic fish. Exploring on land you will see amazing native trees, animals and birdlife and can visit the local villages to get a real experience of island life. Sailing to the nearby islands and sandbanks you can explore the ruins of the ancient city of Kua on Juani Island, discover the history of Kisimani, or visit Chole Island where you will find the rare Comores fruit bat. Whatever you want to do Butiama can accommodate, with a wide variety of activities and a friendly attitude that says nothing is too much trouble.
There are 12 spacious bungalows (including two family rooms with two bedrooms each). Each bungalow faces the ocean and has a large veranda with a hammock and lounge area. The bungalows are beautifully furnished with unique furniture- hand crafted from the sun and sea-kissed hardwoods of retired sailing dhows, and decorated with kikois. All rooms are fully equipped with hot water, mosquito nets and fans.
Butiama Beach accepts children of all ages but do not provide baby sitting or a kids club.
Spa, Library with board games, pool table, darts board and local games of bao.
The activities are Butiama are endless - take your pick from sea kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, dhow sailing trips, diving and swimming with whale sharks (November to February). Trips to the other islands nearby to explore Swahili ruins can also be arranged, or accompany the chef to the Kilindoni market to buy produce for the evening's dinner.
The reefs of the Mafia Archipelago are full of life and offer some fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities. Whether you are a novice or advanced diver, there is something here to suit all abilities, including challenging drift dives and underwater caves to explore.
Location & Directions
Mafia Island, Tanzania
Butiama beach is situated on the west coast of the island, off the main village of Kilindoni, outside the marine park boundaries.
When to go
Situated only 6° south of the equator, Mafia Island enjoys ideal vacation weather. Temperatures average between 24°C and 27°C throughout the year with 7-9 hours of sunshine per day.
There are 2 rainy seasons: Acute, brief showers, lasting about an hour in the morning occur for a couple of weeks during November. The rains last slightly longer in April and May, but even then it does not rain every day. These rains replenish the Island and are often referred to as the “Green Season”.
If you are traveling between November and February you may be lucky enough to snorkel with whalesharks which congregate in the waters off the Mafia islands during these months.