Mainland Tanzania is home to Mt Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and the Selous Game Reserve. The coastal and outlying tropical islands have developed a rich mix of African and Arabian influences that are much in evidence today. Here you will find marine diversity, with healthy reefs, good visibility, and many exciting dive sites.
Mafia Island real sleepy backwater and remnant of the old Swahili coast, retaining a traditional, unspoilt friendly culture reminiscent of the Zanzibar of thirty years ago
It is the southernmost of the offshore islands and a 35 minute flight from Dar es Salaam.Within East Africa’s largest protected area, Chole Bay’s clear waters offer wonderful snorkelling, sailing and swimming. Outside the bay are some of the richest reefs in the world, with an unparalleled variety of corals and tropical fish.
With over 400 marine species identified, this is the meeting place for large oceanic fish, as well as those common to coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. Almost all of the best diving is at less than 30 metres. Divers can explore fabulous shallow reefs, channels, walls and caves. Among the grasses of the Majira Channel, you may find the amazing mermaid-like dugong. Giant sea turtles lay eggs on the beaches of small islands to the east of Mafia, while the fascinating giant Madagascan fruit bat remains an alluring and unusual visitor’s attraction.
The diving around Pemba Island, Zanzibar is nothing else but breathtaking. The untouched coral reefs surrounding the entire island make Pemba one of the top dive sites in the world. Pemba, Tanzania is the perfect place to start your dive adventure with one of the healthiest coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, a water temperature averaging at 26ºC and the best visibility of East Africa of 30-40 meters almost every day!
Historic Zanzibar’s rich cultural heritage is much in evidence. It’s cultural heart is the old city, Stone Town, characterised by a labyrinth of narrow streets, bazaars and grand Arab houses.
Elsewhere are ruined palaces, the famous Persian baths and caves where slaves were once imprisoned. The island is a 20 minute flight from Dar es Salaam and several international carriers fly directly to the island.
Zanzibar is a flat, palm-clad coral atoll surrounded by a coral reef structure that ensures abundant marine life. Shallow coral reefs, sloping banks and vertical drop-offs with hard and soft corals and over 350 species of Indo-Pacific marine fauna await you and offer an ideal opportunity to learn to dive or to upgrade your diving qualification.
Leven Banks, off the north coast, is popular with advanced divers. Here, in strong currents you will find big schools of tuna, trevally, king fish, barracuda, wrasses, big Moray Eels and large schools of reef fish. The east coast is where untouched reefs face open ocean, offering a huge variety of marine life and the possibility of encounters with big oceanic fish.
whale sharks migrate through Zanzibar’s waters from Aug-Sep and Feb-Mar, whilst August also sees the migration of Humpback, and Sperm Whales.
5 of our Favorite Diving Retreats
Chole Mjini Lodge|92% (15 reviews)Scuba diving in Mafia Island Marine Park is superb, and if you come here in January or February, you might get the chance to swim with whale sharks. More about Chole Mjini Lodge
Fundu Lagoon|80% (3 reviews)The diving around Pemba is arguably some of the best diving off the coast of Tanzania. The Pemba Channel has some extremely challenging drift dives and is a great place to see some of the larger pelagic fish. The reefs around Mesali Island, just off Pemba, are also fantastic ... More about Fundu Lagoon
Kinasi Lodge|80% (10 reviews)Within the Mafia Island Marine Park – Kinasi offers great diving and snorkelling. Snorkelling trips inside Chole Bay usually cost $25, and take you out to a quiet and sheltered reef with an abundance of coral and fish. Diving can either be inside or outside of the bay, ... More about Kinasi Lodge
Manta ResortTanzania’s Manta Resort on Pemba Island offers excellent diving and snorkelling in pristine coral reefs. In its new Underwater Room you’re amidst the underwater world even while sleeping! However, due to the currents here we recommend this destination to experienced divers. More about Manta Resort
Pole Pole|93% (69 reviews)As with all of the lodges on Mafia, Pole Pole offers fantastic diving in the Mafia Island Marine Park. This is some of the best diving on the East African coast. When we were last there, diving cost $40 for a single dive and $300 for a 10-dive package (plus $20 a day equipment-hire fee)... More about Pole Pole