The beauty in the waters of Zanzibar is not just the gorgeousness of the marine life but the ease of diving in various sites. Take into account that most diving schools and centres offer you two dives per day. Most operators offer 2 dives a day. While you’re above the water, you can enjoy the fruit of the season and local fare and feast on nature’s splendour. Most times, you’ll set off at 8 and 11 in the morning and return at 1.30 and 3.30 in the afternoon. Of course, a lot depends on the state of the sea and the ebb and flow of the tide.
How can you better your chances of seeing and doing more? Simple. You travel to a site (should take you about 2 hours or less), dive as per schedule and then stop over for a visit in any of the wonderful places Zanzibar has to offer. This way, you do your two dives per day and also take in more of the sights and sounds of this country.
Let’s consider the historic Stone Town. Fabulous reefs can be found around this UNESCO certified world heritage site. Large coral gardens abound and wreck dives are popular here. From here you can travel to Nungwi, which is just an hour away. Here you’ll find a blend of ancient and modern, both existing in peaceful coexistence. Fishing boats, the azure sea and the dhow building centre are all major draws. Nungwi can be found on lists of best beaches in the world and it’s not hard to see why. There’s something unhurried and calm about the entire island. It’s a perfect place to relax after an exciting day of diving.
An hour and a half away from Stone Town is another world famous dive site, the Mnemba Atoll. Apart from the marine life that abounds here, you can also make your acquaintance with a pod of dolphins that call Mnemba, home. It’s a perfect dive spot for beginners and experts alike. Another popular site is Chole Island Marine Park, just off Stone Town. If you want to catch other places while on your day trip, make your way to Snake Islands and Prison Island for a dose of Zanzibari history.
The south of Zanzibar is relatively unexplored. Jambiani, Paje and Bwejuu are all situated in the southeast of Zanzibar. The big attraction in this part of the country is how free of crowds and populace it is. This allows you to dive unhurriedly and explore the truly pure and untouched reefs here. You can also enjoy your fair share of spotting marine life including the enigmatic seahorse in an 18 metre protected lagoon. While diving here, travel to Menai to learn more about the sea turtle protection that takes place at the Menai Bay Conservation Area.
Zanzibar has weather that allows for diving pretty much around the year. Make sure your dive operator is a trusted, reputed and certified body and that your trainers are up to date on their credentials. Look out for safety instructions and leave the sea as you found it- unspoilt.