Diving & Activities in Utende Marine Park

Big Blu Mafia Island Dive Centre


Our sister property, Big Blu Mafia Island Dive Centre, is situated in the Marine Park in Utende, which is in the South-East of Mafia Island. It enjoys a beachfront location with uninterrupted views over Chole Bay. The area of Chole Bay is a designated Marine Park and, as such, all visitors are required to pay a daily entrance fee when they pass through the Marine Park gates (approximately 0.5km before reaching Big Blu).

Big Blu is a large, fully equipped dive centre with on-site restaurant and bar. Diving and other activities can be arranged through the Activity Department at Bustani B&B the previous day and guests can even enjoy lunch at Big Blu after their activities before returning back to Bustani.

The dive centre is located around a 20 minute drive from Bustani B&B and transfers are arranged daily for guests wishing to partake in diving or other activities there.


For divers that already have a qualification for diving and would like to explore the dive sites around Mafia Island, Big Blu offer daily trips. For more information please visit:

As a PADI 5* Diving Resort, they are able to offer the full range of PADI courses from beginner to professional levels. For more information please visit:

Other Activities

Big Blu Mafia Island Dive Centre has a range of other activities inside the Marine Park. Below are just a few. For more information please visit:

Chole Island Tour

Chole Island is one of the oldest inhabited islands in the Mafia archipelago. It has a long, varied history dating back to the 12th Century and was once the capital of Mafia.

On this tour you can explore the ruins that have been overtaken by nature and see the Arabic and German influences, including a prison and customs house. Your guide will take you for a walk across the island through the small villages and varied vegetation (including baobab trees) and show you where traditional Swahili dhows are built by skilled craftsmen using hand tools. Chole also acts as a sanctuary for the Flying Foxes (Fruit Bats) which your guide will help you to see sleeping in the trees during the day.

Kua Lagoon & Ruins

Explore the ruins of the old city of Kua, located on the west side of Juani. The 10th Century ruins were once an important trading centre, linking Africa to Asia. The reason for the decline of this city is still undetermined.

Afterwards, head up a shallow channel to the Kua Lagoon – a fierce blue lagoon with a unique feature. As the tide changes, the lagoon is a natural pool filled with upside-down jellyfish! When the lagoon is at low tide you can enjoy the view of crashing waves breaking on the exposed reef.

Chole Bay Snorkelling

Explore the underwater world of Chole Bay! A great trip for all experience levels.

Enjoy discovering all of the sea life that Chole Bay has to offer. With an experienced guide, you will travel by Dhow to one of the many locations available for snorkelling in the area.

Your guide will give you a short introduction to using the equipment (if you are new to snorkelling), then take you into the water to show you the many different species that Chole Bay has to offer.

You will be amazed by the vast array of colours, shapes and sizes!

Turtle Hatching

Witness the amazing sight of baby turtles making their way out of their nest and heading into the ocean for the first time!

After a short boat ride, you will arrive at the Island of Juani where the Green Sea Turtle chooses to find areas on the beach to make nests and lay their eggs. After a 45 minute walk through the village and some breath-taking scenery (with some amazing bird species and a monkey or two if you’re lucky!), you will find yourself on the beach watching the babies make their way to the water for the first time.

This experience is made possible by a charity called Sea Sense, who has been working on the island for many years working to preserve numerous species.

Available seasonally (usually June to August)