In snorkeling, you stay on the surface, looking down through a mask and breathing through a snorkel.Some evidence suggests that snorkeling may have originated in Crete some 5,000 years ago as sea sponge farmers used hollowed out reeds to submerge and retrieve natural sponge for use in trade and commerce.
A great range of options for beginners, intermediate and advanced divers
When taken in comparison with some of the world’s best dive spots, such as Sipadan in Malaysia, or the Blue hole, Tanzania may not rank all that highly but this is to do it a disservice in our view. For many that are looking just to have a few scenic dives during their beach stay the island of Zanzibar will definitely tick the spot and, for those looking to “drop in” on something a little larger or spend a bit more time in the water then the islands of Mafia and Pemba, to the north and south of Zanzibar, will certainly suit and…if you are looking for somewhere a little special…then northern Mozambique is a short flight away.
Zanzibar Island Diving
As mentioned in our intro paragraph above, Zanzibar is not really somewhere that we tend to recommend to clients who would like to do anything more than a few dives as, with limited inner reef, there is not a whole load of different options. This being said though, please see our review of a few of the major dive areas below:
Mnemba Island – a great dive destination for those that are starting out as this small atoll has a shallow wall dive down to around 18 meters with a sandy bottom. The coral cover here is very acceptable and, with some of the island’s best garden reefs, it is also possible to combine with an afternoon of snorkelling easily enough.
Kizimkazi Reef – arguably the only really good dive location on the island is right down in the south, right next to Unguja Lodge. This area is part of an inner reef system that runs out to the barrier reef which, as you are south facing, is not as deep or as complete as along the southern edges of the island. While the property doesn’t really have any beach to speak of, this is certainly a good contender for those that would like Zanzibar and some diving.
Off Stone Town – another interesting area to dive is off the western side of the island. While not reef diving as such, this inner channel, between Zanzibar and the mainland, has plenty of sunken wrecks to go and have a look at. As this is channel diving, there is slightly more current to contend with.
Recommended Properties: Mnemba Lodge, Unguja Lodge, Ras Nungwi, Echo Beach Hotel
Mafia Island Diving
This small and sleepy island to the south of Zanzibar has long been held as one of the two locations.That really does offer good diving and would provide a keen and experienced diver plenty to do over the course of a week.
Mafia Island Marine Park
The first of Tanzania’s official marine protection zones, created in 1996, Mafia Island Marine Park is starting to show signs that it is benefiting from the respite from the dynamite fishing that is commonplace amongst local fishermen. As such, it is now the best area for diving on the island and offers a whole range of different dives from cave diving, wall diving, bouldering and drifts.
As the reef for most of the first dives is the outer barrier, Mafia is not the ideal spot for those that are keen on snorkelling.
Recommended Properties: Ras Mbisi, Kinasi Lodge, Pole Pole, Chole Mjini
Pemba Island Diving
As with Mafia Island, Pemba Island, to the north of Zanzibar, is definitely one of the locations to head to if you are a keen diver. Usually known more for the larger fish shoals and pelagics that tend to come in here, it will, again, give a medium to advanced diver plenty to keep occupied for a week or so.