Guide to Diving in Zanzibar: Where To Go
Whenever you consider going on a beach holiday trip
, many places can come to mind. Still, not many can compare to the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere that Zanzibar offers. The famous archipelago is characterized by pristine white sandy beaches with palm trees swaying back and forth from the ocean breeze, turquoise blue ocean, amazing spices and the narrow streets of Stone Town, all of which make Zanzibar all the more appealing for tourists.
The natural beauty of Zanzibar
attracts tourist and the crystal clear turquoise blue ocean easily makes it one of the most ideal locations for diving and snorkeling. So where are the best beaches in Zanzibar
if you are looking to break the water from a height of over a few meters?
Boribu reef is one of the best spots in Zanzibar for diving, snorkeling, and other water activities. Here you can sink to depths of up to 30 meters and be entertained all the way. The reef is characterized by pristine waters and adorned with strange column corals and impressive mountains of kaleidoscope corals. You’ll also see gorgonian sea fans and massive barrel sponges in and around the reef. Some of the marine creatures to see on this dive include lobsters, moray eels, barracudas, and bluefin tuna.
The Mnemba Atoll is located about 4.5 kilometers off the northeast coast of Unguja Island in Zanzibar. It is hailed as one of the best diving destinations on the planet today. The island is surrounded by magnificent coral reefs and marine reserves that make your underwater experience one for the books. Even if you’re not a seasoned diver, Mnemba Island offers an extraordinary adventure that you will definitely relish for years to come. Plus the island has this intimate and exclusive vibe so if you’re not exploring the depths, you can always lounge on the sandy beach and just bask in the ultimate escape that Mnemba offers.
Wattabomi is one of the most famous diving sites in Zanzibar, boasting an amazing underwater landscape that slopes from between 6-30 meters. Wattabomi is an ideal diving location for both beginners and the more experienced divers and the spot is fantastic for drift and reef dives. This location features some really unique underwater species such as bottlenose dolphins, angelfish, blue-spotted stingrays, black snappers, groupers, red-toothed triggerfish, flounders, octopuses, scorpionfish, stonefish, frogfish, and trevallies.
Kichwani is another great place in Zanzibar for both experienced divers and newbies to have an amazing time. Kichwani features an almost vertical wall that is a great drift diving as you go down at a 45-degree angle and be greeted by soft coral and quite an impressive amount of marine life, including dolphins, moray eels, leaf fish, clownfish, trumpet fish, frogfish, mackerel, snappers, and nudibranchs.
The famous Prison Island in Zanzibar
is not a typical diving spot, but it does offer some pretty amazing snorkeling activities. Also known as Changuu Island, this area is about a 30-min boat ride away from Stone Town. The island is also home to giant Aldabra tortoises some as old as almost 200 years. If you’re a beginner diver and looking to start slow and steady, this is definitely a good place to be.
Nungwi beach is located on the northwest coast of Zanzibar and famous for being one of the best beach locations in Zanzibar with lots of activities, especially if you are the party type. Characterized by fantastic coral reefs, crystal blue Indian Ocean, and numerous sea creatures, Nungwi is also an ideal spot for diving.
When to go diving in Zanzibar
The best time for a dive trip in Zanzibar
is usually the dry season which typically runs from November to March. This is also the best time to spot gray sharks and hammerhead sharks and to enjoy the best of Zanzibar
. The rainy season is usually around March to May and diving may not be so ideal due to the higher tides.
The visibility tends to vary depending on the dive site and the season. In some areas, expect visibility between 15 and 30m, though It could go as high as 40 meters around Mnemba Atoll. Keep in mind that the underwater current can be quite powerful in some areas so be sure to ask the dive centers in the area or in Stone Town for recommendations based on your diving ability.
There’s several dive centers across Zanzibar, most of which are fully PADI certified. You can find them around Stone Town as well as the more popular beaches like Nungwi, Kiwengwa, and Matemwe. Here, you can learn all about scuba diving as a beginner or take a refresher course to get you up to speed on what it takes to dive and snorkel in Zanzibar. Prices tend to vary at each dive center and can range from around USD $50 to over $500 for the advanced PADI courses.
Ready to enjoy the best of Zanzibar?
Zanzibar is renowned
even amongst experienced divers as one of the best diving locations. Characterized by coral reefs and an amazing abundance of water creatures, you can have an amazing holiday experience here whether you are an experienced diver or a newbie. The island’s natural beauty and other amazing island activities are wonderful bonuses that you can experience during your dive trip.
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