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Useful Information on Diving in Zanzibar

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Diving Zanzibar


The diving in Zanzibar is spectacular, boasting some exceptional reefs in and around the various locations.
For the more serious diving you will have to visit Pemba or Mafia Islands. Unfortunately, these two islands can be quite expensive. The best snorkeling is out at Chumbe Island which is a marine reserve. No diving is allowed on Chumbe as a result of this.

The best advice for any South African wanting to dive in Zanzibar is to make sure that you do all your courses in South Africa. Open Water courses start from about $320 and you could do it a lot cheaper in South Africa.

Please contact us for our recommended dive school in your area.



Stone Town Dive Guide



Pegasus wreck     
Max Depth: 40m
This is a 50m long wreck though to be the remains of the Pegasus which was sunk in 1916 by the German gunship Koenigsberg. It is for experienced divers only and you will be able to see tuna, trevally, barracuda, jack fish, lionfish and giant stingrays.    

Boribu Reef    
Max Depth: 30m
This is a great reef with impressive coral formations including spectacular columna corals, honeycombs, Georgian Fans and massive barrel sponges. Some larger pelagics including barracuda, jacks, tuna, moray eels and large lobsters. It is about 45 minutes out of Stone Town so is quite a trek, but is well worth it.

Bawe Island    
Max Depth: 18m
The reef is located about 20 minutes outside Stone Town and you will find beautiful corals like Acropora, Staghorn, brain coral and a large variety of reef fish. On occasion you may see moray, octopus and pufferfish.

Bahari Wreck    
Max Depth: 30m
This is a 50 - 50 year old wreck which would have been used for transport of spares and heavy equipment from the quayside to Royal Navy ships anchored in the harbour. It is the home of sweepers and fusiliers, resident Silver Sweetlips. Other fish that you might see include Guinea Fowl Blaasops, Large Stingray, Scorpion Fish and Cobia. It is located about 20 minutes out of Stone Town.

Great Northern Wreck    
Max Depth: 16m
This is the remains of an old cable layer which sunk in 1900. The wreck has plenty leaf fish, eels and a huge variety of coral. Visibility in the area is excellent.

Murogo Reef    
Max Depth: 24m
This is home to many turtles and has a sloping reef wall with a large variety of coral and fish.

Pange Reef    
Max Depth: 14m
This reef is ideal for Open Water Dive courses as it is calm and shallow. An enormous array of coral and tropical reef fish can be found, such as Clown Fish, Parrot Fish, Moorish Idol and many others. Many people do night dives on the reef where you can see cuttlefish, squid, crab and many other night dwellers.    

Unidentified Barge    
Max Depth: 40m
This is definitely only for experienced deep divers. The wreck attracts huge amounts of Big Bluefin, Trevally, Barracuda, Sting Rays, Cobia, Jew Fish, Morays and lots more. Only 4 people are allowed to go out at a time to the reef and costs a little extra.

Nyange Reef    
Max Depth: 26m
This is the largest reef on the west coast and has several unique dive sites. A new series of coral has been identified on this reef which marine biologists believe is endemic to Nyange.

Mnemba Dive Guide



Kichwani 
Max Depth: 20-40m
This reef includes large coral species such as Mushroom, Honeycombe, Brain and Staghorn coral. Below 30m a vertical wall of reef fish, Trumpetfish, Large Napolean Wrasse, Reef Sharks and Manta Rays can be seen. Now and again you might come across a dolphin. Kichwani is excellent for drift diving along a wall.
   
Wattabomi
Max Depth: 10-15m
This is excellent for snorkeling and novice divers. The reef includes small reef fish, Regal Angelfish, Bluestreak, Cleaner Wrasse, eels and Blue Spotted Rays. Look for Flounders and Soles who lie buried on their sides in the sand. Most of the year you will find Bottlenosed, Spinner and Common Dolphins.

Aquarium    
Max Depth: 18m
The name speaks for it's self, it is like swimming in an aquarium. There is a very slight current and you should see Surgeonfish, Moorish Idols, Large Hawkesbill, Green Turtles and White Tip Reef Sharks.
   
The Big Wall    
Max Depth: 30-50m
Descending down to 30m you drift along a vertical wall. There are many pelagic schools of Rainbow Runner, Bluefin Trevally and sometimes Common Dolphinfish. There are also many small caves to explore. During September and October there is a possibility that you can catch a ride on the back of a Whale Shark.

Coral Garden    
Max Depth: 25m
This reef has a very large variety of beautiful coral, particularly Big Fan coral. There are plenty of fish including Goatfish, Moorish Idols, Kingfish and Barracudas which drift along the backdrop.

Nungwi Dive Guide


Leven Bank 
Max Depth: 40m
Due to the strong currents this is only for experienced divers. In our opinion this is the best reef off the island of Zanzibar. What makes it so attractive is the array of reef and pelagic fauna which includes Guitarfish, Tuna, Moray Eels, Barracuda, Dolphins, and White Tip Reef Sharks. There is a huge variety of coral with clusters of Honeycomb and Pillar Coral.    

Hunga Reef    
Max Depth: 20m
The reef is ideal for beginner divers and has a large variety of reef fish amongst some very well preserved coral. Large schools of Unicorn and Surgeonfish can be seen and the occasional Barracuda and Reef Shark.

Nankiville    
Max Depth: 20m
This reef is also ideal for the less experienced diver. The large coral rock formation has some very impressive Brain and Plate Coral. You will see a good variety of reef fish, Lobster, Wrasse and Barracuda.

Pemba Dive Guide


Emerald Reef 
Max Depth: 30m
The average visibility on this reef is 30m and derives its name from the green coral covering the reef. It is located on the Southern most point of Pemba and subject to strong currents. There is a gentle slope from 7 - 30m where many large brown marbled grouper are found. Most varieties of fishlife are found between 20 - 25m with damselfish, goldies and fusiliers. A large school of giant barracuda frequent the area. On occasion hammerhead sharks have been seen.    

Panza Wreck
Max Depth: 14m
A shallow dive on an old 100m long Greek freighter called the Paraportiani which sunk in 1969 lying on an inside passage between the outer and inner reefs. Can only dive on a slack low or a slack high. Frequent strong currents present. Best visibility on a slack high when there is always a mild current present. The stern, which is intact lies at a depth of 7 - 9 m while the bow lies in 12 - 14 m. A large helm is still in place. A great variety of fish, with hundreds of glassfish, a resident juvenile napoleon wrasse, abundant unicorn fish of different types, lionfish and trevally. Also full of diverse marine life such as crabs, nudibranchs, sponges and corals.
 
Samaki Reef    
Max Depth: 20m
A large flat reef on the edge of the Pemba Channel, 20 m+ depth. Best for experienced divers as strong currents are common. Scattered unspoilt corals richly inhabited by diverse marine life. Look out for lobster, octopus and moray eels hiding amongst the bommies surrounded by large schools of trevally, surgeon fish and fusiliers.
 
Misali Big Blue    
Max Depth: 40m
Experienced divers only!! Drop into the blue and get swept along Mesali's Southern Channel. You need eyes in the back of your head for this dive as the possibility of reef sharks, barracuda and giant rays is high.
 
Makarere Reef    
Max Depth: 30m+
An interesting undulating reef set on a sandy slope on Mesali's Southwestern edge. A series of coral hillocks extend from the top of the reef at 8 - 10 m depth to the bottom at more than 30 m. The corals are home to torpedo rays, moray eels and lobsters along with many reef fish while the sandy valleys are home to schools of surgeon and unicorn fish, roaming napoleon wrasse and large spotted eagle rays. This area is in dolphin territory and you can often hear a pod of friendly spinners nearby.
 
Misali Coral Garden - Razorback Reef    
Max Depth: 45m
The coral garden runs North - South mainly conducted as a drift dive. Consists of a multitude of different corals all in extremely good condition. At its Southernmost point the corals might not be at their best but turtles can be sighted here. The whole site has at lest three resident Napoleon Fish varying in size. The Razorback Reef and a further deep reef for experienced divers can be included on this dive. The inside face of the razorback reaches 30 m while the outside face reaches 40 m. Excellent fish life all around this reef. The deep reef can be looked at from the top at 45 m from where very large Napoleon Fish have been seen and a 2.5 m bull shark.
 
Misali Coral Mountain    
Max Depth: 45m+
Rose coral dominates this beautiful mountainous site to which are attracted some unusual fish such as the leaf fish. Octopus and lobsters can be seen here and manta rays have been spotted passing through the area. Depths reach 80 m. Many other game fish such as dog tooth tuna, rainbow runner and trevally hunt on the mountain and blue striped fusiliers abound.    

Mapinduzi    
Max Depth: 45m+
A wall dive dropping to 45 m with large gorgonians and fan corals adorning its sides. This site has also had sightings of manta rays, big shoals of barracuda and sharks. Giant triggerfish live here in large numbers. They are Pemban triggers and are not aggressive.
 
Uvinje Gap    
Max Depth: 40m
Spectacular sheer wall dropping to over 40 m with breathtaking overhangs and numerous fish such as moorish idols, butterfly and angelfish hiding amongst the black corals commonplace in this area. Large groupers and napoleon wrasse can be spotted at depth. Plenty of life in the shallows with thousands of goldies playing amongst the large coral bommies.

Uvinje Outer Walls    
Max Depth: 40m+
The coral on the North wall is in excellent condition with large gorgonians and fan corals surrounded by the thousands of ever-present goldies. Manta and spotted eagle rays are known to frequent the area as well as giant reef rays and hawksbill and green turtles. Schools of tuna and barracuda and large napoleon wrasse have been seen here. The top of the site starts at 7 m and in places terraces down to below 40 m.The South Wall starts at 6 m and drops again to 40 m+. Here again you may see Napoleon Fish, large grouper and some pelagics. Here let the current swing you into the gap along the spectacular sheer wall.

The Balcony    
Max Depth: 30m+
A deep wall from 7 m to 100m + covered in seawhips and gorgonian fans with a giant overhang hence the name. Look out for large napoleon wrasse, big mackerel, jackfish and large numbers of fusiliers.

The Cave    
Max Depth: 30m+
The top of the reef is a shallow 4 m sandy bottom with a sheer cliff face dropping down to more than 100 m. A cave is found on this wall at depth - but we do not penetrate. Large pelagics are ever present and the currents can be strong. Look out for turtles on the wall.

Fundu South Wall    
Max Depth: 40m+
Strong currents can be present and as on many dives in Pemba only recommended for experienced divers. The reef lies from 5 m to 40 m +. Shallow caverns and sheer wall faces make up the topography of this wall with superb coral formations and plentiful fish life. Kingfish, jacks, barracuda and napoleons are present with humphead parrotfish and sweetlips swimming around the yellow fans.

Manta Point    
Max Depth: 40m
A coral pinnacle reaching up from 40 m to within 8 m of the surface situated just outside the mouth of Fundu Gap. Due to its name you would expect typical luck to not provide manta ray sightings - however they do still come into this area occasionally to visit a cleaning station or cruising out of the blue at any depth. The pinnacle is covered in beautiful dense corals and drops dramatically on its Western side. The abundance of fish on this reef makes it a superb dive, one of the best - with or without the coveted manta ray. Circling the pinnacle you can watch the behaviour of large jack fish, schools of surgeonfish and fusiliers, the occasional reef shark and turtle.

The Gauntlet    
Max Depth: 25m
This exilherating dive at Fundu Gap is best on an incoming tide dropping into the water at the top end of the reef at around 10 m where we can find a series of pretty coral bommies to swim over and down to 25 m where you will find yourself on top of the wall and being swept into the Gap and across the Gauntlet. This can be extremely quick so sit back and enjoy the ride. Interesting overhangs and rock formations caused by deep fissures into the cliff face are a spectacle.

Mandela Wall    
Max Depth: 15m
The top of Mandela Wall is between 8 to 15 m deep and drops dramatically to 200 m + in some parts. The vertical drop is adorned with gorgonian sea fans and whip corals. Keep eyes peeled for large pelagics and also for the beautiful manta ray passing by.    

Njao Gap    
Max Depth: 18m
Njao Gap North is a beautiful coral garden starting at 5 m and sloping down to 18 m before dropping away into the deep blue of the wall. Resident green and hawksbill turtles are a common sighting and the currents can be strong and exhilerating. Njao Gap South is best dived using the Northerly current to sweep you inside. Drift dive this reef with large Nepoleon Wrasse and look out for more turtles in the cabbage corals which abound. As you enter the gap look out for Manta Rays as the bottom again drops away to form a breathtaking immense vertical wall reaching undiveable depths.




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