WHY CHOSE SCUBA DIVING IN ZANZIBAR?
The paradise island of Zanzibar is known for spices, long white beaches, historic architecture and cool evening hang outs. With scores of hotels offering every level of comfort Zanzibar tours are world famous. What is less well known is that the scubadiving in Zanzibar is excellent. Zanzibar has many shallow and easily accessible and quite frankly stunning coral reefs. Beyond the islands of Tumbatu are the deeper dives off Mnemba Atol which offer awesome visibility and marine life. Scuba diving tours in Zanzibar are truly world class. But as everyone knows, you need to go with a professional dive centre. You can dive daily for 7 days in Zanzibar and still do a different site every day. The dive sites in Zanzibar range from easy beginner diving in Zanzibar to exhilarating wall dives and deep wrecks. Zanzibar diving tours are absolutely perfect for all levels of diver. The North of Zanzibar island is a big draw for everyone who loves to be on the seaside and choose from sites spent on what is considered some of the best scuba diving in Zanzibar. With a heady mix of nightlife, fantastic all tidal access to the sea for a cooling swim and a range of (water)sports, activities and eat and drink places, the north of Zanzibar has it all and all for everyone’s taste. Besides diving, you can opt for yoga sessions, massages, cooking classes, kayaking, sailing tours, and sunset cruises- for all ages. So if you are looking for a stay for a mixed group of friends or a family of all ages to have a wonderful week: Zanzibar’s’ north is the friendly choice for all.
DIVE WITH A PROFESSIONAL DIVE CENTRE
When planning your Zanzibar scuba diving tour you need to take into account lost of different factors. There are so many accommodation options available in Zanzibar, and as always- choosing the right location is very important. The easiest way to do this is contact us, tell us what you want to achieve and let us help you make your choice. We proudly deal with East Africa Divers (Nungwi), One Ocean Dive Centre (Stone Town), Scubado (Kendwa Rocks), and other professional dive centres on Zanzibar Island.
MARINE LIFE IN ZANZIBAR
Zanzibar is famous for its abundance of reef fish and macro creatures. You will nearly always see nudibranch, leaf fish, frog fish and crocodile fish on every dive. In addition you stand a very good chance of seeing sea horses, mantis shrimp, octopus, butterflyfish, angelfish and rabbit fish. Zanzibar has 450 confirmed species of fish and marine life. Dr Ewald Lieske, the man who literally wrote the book on East Africa Scuba Diving said that the number is almost definitely 500 or possibly 550. Always keep an eye out for the Spanish dancer nudibranch. On the outer reefs you have a good chance of seeing jacks and tuna passing by. The occasional barracuda and if you are lucky you might see some reef sharks off Mnemba Atoll or Levenbank.
THE BEST DIVE SITES IN ZANZIBAR
The best dive sites in Zanzibar usually boast good visibility with vibrant life. There are so many, but the most famous ones are Levenbank, Hunga, Mwana Ya Mwana, Shamzi (or Shanes’ reef), Sheitani, Big Wall, small wall and Kichuani. Mnemba Atoll is one of the best policed marine conservation areas and is a great place to visit for divers and non-divers alike. Our favourite close dive site is Shamzi reef, with its undulating hills and reefs that are alive with antheas, nudibranchs and wrasse. While she is only 18m deep, we often run low on air after well over an hour on this site as there is simply so much to see. Our favourite far away reef is “Big Wall” on Mnemba Island. There is always a current here, and the visibility is nearly always gin clear. The big fish and swirling currents make this site mesmerising.
DIVING OFF STONE TOWN
People do not think that Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar has diving, but they would be sorely mistaken. Stone town is host to Bawe Island Dive sites, Pange Island Dive sites, the Royal Navy Lighter, the Wreck of the great northern, and the wreck of the penguin. These wrecks are packed with fish streaming through the hulls. The great northern is shallow, but the Penguin and Royal Navy Lighter are deeper. Our favourite is the great northern. A British cable-laying ship, The Great Northern was built in 1870 and sank on New Year’s Eve in 1902. She now rests in the sand between 4 and 12 m and is a magnificent artificial reef. The coral surrounding The Great Northern is some of the best in Zanzibar and will impress anyone. Just watch out for the anemone fish, who fiercely defend their homes.
ZANZIBAR -LIFE AFTER SCUBADIVING
As we said in our first paragraph, Zanzibar is a holiday makers paradise. It has long sandy beaches on the east and west coasts, and first class hotels and guesthouses. It is packe with restaurants, shops, boutiques and adventure activities. In addition to this Stone Town is world heritage site, and a cultural dream. The buildings are made of white limestone by Arab traders, Indian workers and the British Colonial Authorities, Stone Town is enchanting. You can explore the narrow pedestrian alleyway, drink coffee with the welcoming locals on their barazas (doorsteps), peruse the chic boutiques. And if you do not scuba dive at all? Well, you’re not the only one. Zanzibar island has so many distractions to enjoy, that you will not miss out. In fact, we think you may actually have as much fun as a diver. You can snorkel sail, kayaking or take a SUP tour. But don’t miss out on the history of Zanzibar, you should do a Zanzibar spice tour. During your Zanzibar Island tour, you’ll meet the local traders, learn about the slave trade, spices, intricacies of the monsoon trade patterns and have a peek into some of the quiet courtyards of the traditional traders’ houses. After this you can enjoy a massage, learn some Swahili, choose some local art to take home and then relax on the beaches until the divers get back. There is so much to do in Zanzibar that we actually think the scuba divers might end up waiting for the non-divers!
ACCCOMODATION IN ZANZIBAR ISLAND
Accommodation in Zanzibar Island is diverse and caters to all budgets. From large air conditioned 5 star hotels to exquisitely refurbished traditional Arab traders houses. From guest houses to boutique hotels, Zanzibar has it all.
Accommodation in Nungwi
There are two excellent hotels in Nungwi that we recommend for all of our clients. Our favourite for the west coast is Flame Tree Cottages. Also really relaxing and facing north-east is Mnarani Beach Cottages. These are two different hostelries. Flame tree is a series of boutique bungalows on a white sandy beach. Nearby are many restaurants and bars, and the quite simply excellent East Africa Dive Centre, arguably the place to find the best scuba diving in Zanzibar. With a steeply shelving white sandy beach that leads into the Indian Ocean, you can swim and snorkel off Flame Tree Cottages at any time of day and tide. Mnarani Beach Cottages is a slightly bigger hotel perched on a coral escarpment. It has a superb resayrant and bar with a deck that just out over the beach below. There is access to the beach at low tide, which is superb for walking miles. But beach swimming is only really comfortable at high tide. Should you choose to stay here, your package will include the 5-minute road transfer to East Africa Dive Centre and your diving holiday in Zanzibar
Accommodation in Stone Town
Stone Town gives you even more choice for accommodation to compliment your diving holiday in Zanzibar. Our all-time favourite choice has to be Stone Town B&B. Don’t be fooled by the name, this is a restored Zanzibari traders house, that has been converted into a comfortable, clean airconditioned hostelry. If you want an experience on the next level, then you must stay in Emerson Spice Boutique Hotel. Created by the late but legendary Emerson Skeens, this Zanzibari house is decorated with period furniture, and is home to the most sublime rooftop restaurant. If you want to combine the beach with town, then you have to stay in Mbweni Ruins Hotel. A larger hotel and part of the Marriot chain, this hotel still manages to delight.
The East Coast of Zanzibar
The east coast of Zanzibar island can be explored from one of the small beach hotels on that side of the island. Lovely sunrises and endless beach walks and some of the nicest small beach hotels are found on this side of the island. This part of the island is a bit more sheltered in the Kusi season (the southernly winds) and so if you are travelling with non-divers, or kite -surfers, this is the place to be. From here, you can do both sites that are considered beginner diving in Zanzibar island, or you can aim for the diving in south Zanzibar from here. With easy access to Stone Town, a stay in the east coast area means you can mix and match your days between town and beach and end your trip with a short taxi ride to the airport.
Zanzibar Dive Packages
Zanzibar, scuba diving prices are very reasonable. A week in Zanzibar with 10 scuba dives, airport transfers, all breakfasts and a night in Stone Town starts at $1000 from there. For the truly adventurous diver, we can add Pemba Diving Tours to your Zanzibar diving package. In the same veign of more remote islands, we specialise in Mafia and Pemba diving tours.
Tanzania Wildlife Safari
Zanzibar is an awesome destination that is relaxing, fun and has great diving. But it is also only 60 minutes frying time from the national parks of Tanzania. The Serengeti and the Selous National park are arguably the finest safari experience on earth. So give a thought to adding a Tanzania mainland safari . And for something completely wild, why not combine a Zanzibar Diving Tours with scubadiving tour on St Helena Island?
Contact us now for your personal quote and ask us to design your private scuba diving holiday in Zanzibar and your tailor made Tanzania safari tour
Zanzibar dive FAQ’s
Is Zanzibar good for diving?
Yes absolutely. The Scuba diving in Zanzibar is excellent. With vibrant reefs, 450 confirmed species of fish and marine life and clear blue water, Zanzibar is a scuba divers delight. Zanzibar has easy diving for beginners at Tumbatu and some more advanced drift dives on the walls of Mnemba Atoll. The wreck dives off Stone Town vary in depth from 12-40m. Zanzibar is a macro photographer’s dream, and yet in great visibility.
What’s the best month to visit Zanzibar for a diving holiday?
The best months to visit Zanzibar for a diving holiday are January to March and mid June to December. The best visibility occurs when there is an incoming tide a slight tidal exchange. The only really rainy months are the end of April, May and sometimes early June.
Where can I dive in Zanzibar?
The best dive sites in Zanzibar are Tumbatu, Levenbank, Mnemba Atoll and most sites west and north of Nungwi Village. There also superb scuba diving in Stone Town and south of Stone Town. If you are a beginner, the reefs off Nungwi and Kendwa are mesmerising, and yet calm and allow for shallow diving if needed. For advanced divers, the steep walls of Mnemaba Atol and the submerged reef of levenbank will keep anyone’s interest. To top it all Stone Town has the Great Northern wreck at 12 metres which is quite simply packed with life.
Are there sharks near Zanzibar?
There are of course sharks all over the Indian Ocean, but you generally do not come accorss them in the easy dive sites of Zanzibar. You can however see reef sharks off Mnemba Atoll along with the occasional Manta Ray, Tuna and other pelagic fish. The diving in Zanzibar is generally safe and easy.
What is the visibility in Zanzibar?
The visibility in Zanzibar varies from 8-35metres. It is generally around 15-25m. Mnemba Island and Levenbank have the best visibility at a consistent 25-35m.