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Top 5 diving spots
Zanzibar and Tanzania are fantastic for divers. We asked our Tanzania specialist and diving enthusiast Pierre to whittle down his top five spots for going in search of the colourful sea life.
01. MNEMBA ISLAND
Mnemba Island off the north-east tip of Zanzibar is surrounded by a huge coral reef which is much larger than the island itself, and undoubtedly offers some of Zanzibar’s best dive spots. Declared a marine conservation area, the waters surrounding the island are home to a plethora of beautifully coloured fish, and divers here are frequently treated to exciting encounters with green sea turtles, reef sharks and even dolphins. Famed for its excellent visibility, Mnemba Island is the ultimate dive spot for those interested in underwater photography.
02. MAFIA ISLAND
Mafia Island is a fantastically varied spot for diving. The lagoon suits learners and newly-qualified divers looking to gain confidence while observing the spectacular marine life. Those wanting more of a challenge can tackle one of the harder wall dives outside of the lagoon. It is of course the migratory whale sharks (present from October to March) which attract most divers to Mafia, but at all times of year the pristine protected coral and myriad of fish species make this a truly spectacular place to dive.
03. LEVEN BANK
Far off the northern tip of Zanzibar, Leven Bank is the ultimate spot for the more adventurous and experienced diver, with a steep wall dropping down into a blue abyss well below the surface. Strong currents and deep water make this a challenging dive, but it is perfect for those looking for a unique thrill in open water. The area has a variety of spectacular marine life, from hammerheads and barracudas to anemone fish and huge moray eels.
04. PEMBA ISLAND
Pemba Island is really great for diving, as its coral and marine life have suffered much less impact over the years than the reefs surrounding Zanzibar. There are lots of different dive sites on Pemba Island, all offering kaleidoscopic coral and swarms of brightly coloured fish. One of our absolute favourites is North Horn, famed for its excellent shark sightings. Whitetips, silvertips, grey whalers and the occasional hammerhead can all be spotted here, as well as many other big fish species.
05. LAKE TANGANYIKA
Offering a very different diving experience to all of the above spots, the fresh water of Lake Tanganyika on mainland Tanzania makes for a very calm and pleasant place to dive. Not affected by currents in the way the sea is, the lake’s crystal clear waters mean visibility is excellent and the conditions are perfect for beginners and intermediate divers. Frequently likened to an aquarium, Lake Tanganyika is home to over 250 species of cichlid fish as well as lots of non-cichlid species.