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Diving in Zanzibar

Aquarium-like conditions combined with an array of macro and giant marine life makes Zanzibar one of the world's premier dive destinations. A Muslim gem off the coast of mainland Africa will surprise you with it's wealth of history and culture.

Diving in Zanzibar

Quick facts

The coral reefs of Zanzibar are some of the most abundant in the world with over 500 species of marine species. In turn warm Indian Ocean water creates water temperatures consistently around 80F (27C) and visibility that often exceeds 100ft (30m).

Zanzibar is a dive location where there is something for everyone, the snorkelers, the macro lovers and the deep divers. With over 30 dive sites that include, reef, wall and wreck diving, Zanzibar is more than just a beach island to relax. Levan Bank off the northern tip of Zanzibar is one of the islands' most famous and impressive dives, where strong currents create a haven for big game fish such as kingfish, trevally and tuna.

Don’t forget the Zanzibar is also one of the world’s premier locations for sighting the ocean's biggest fish, the whale shark. Mnemba Atoll is a 4.5 miles (7km) reef that is a conservation success story, where turtles, dolphins and the whale sharks can be seen in the months from September to December.

When to go

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Water temperature

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USD 971Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers

What to see

Zanzibar’s warm equatorial waters attract a myriad of ocean creatures that habituate both the reef and the deeper pelagic waters. Common favourites among divers are blue spotted rays, crocodile fish, ribbon eels and dolphins.

For advanced divers that wander into the outer reefs and deeper waters there is the opportunity to see barracuda, white tip, black tip reef and whale sharks. In addition Zanzibar is a magnet for macro creatures with various species of nudibranchs, frogfish and ghost pipefish. Night diving on the islands is recommended with sighting of hunting Bluefin trevally and honeycomb morays.


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

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Zanzibar is made up of two islands, Zanzibar and Pemba, located 22 miles (35km) off the coast of Tanzania. The area of the islands is made up of 600 square miles (1500 square km) of remote beaches, palm forests and colonial towns.

Zanzibar was the first settlement of Omani - Arabs on the coast of Africa, and for that reason the islands have a strong Middle Eastern influence with many mosques located around the islands. Evidence of the Arabic influence can be seen in the historical city of Stone Town.

Zanzibar is known for its pristine sand beaches and sweetly scented spice farms, however its history holds a darker secret. Zanzibar used to be the biggest slave trader in East-Africa, however the islands were not used only as a hub to trade slaves, but other materials that were transported across the Indian Ocean.

Zanzibar’s climate is tropical and humid with an average rainfall of 60 inches per year, however the main rainy season is from March to May when the trade winds are not strong.

In terms of spoken language, the residents of Zanzibar speak an Arabic form of Swahili, however English is commonly used and understood.

Other attractions

Only a short flight or ferry ride to the mainland, Zanzibar is located close to a variety of attractions such as Tanzania’s well known Serengeti National Park or the snow-capped Uhuru peak of Kilimanjaro. Despite this there are plenty of spectacular attractions closer to the islands. The colonial Arabic city of Stone Town offers tourists a chance to engross themselves into the history of Zanzibar and both the rich’s and horrors of the trade empire that was once so prominent. A perennial favourite among visitors is Cheetah Rock, a sanctuary for these big cats that is open to visitors year round.

Getting there

Certain airlines (Ethiopian, Kenya, Oman and Qatar airlines) fly direct to Zanzibar, however most large international airlines fly to Dar es Salaam, which is only a short ferry trip to the islands.

Once on the islands it is easy to find transport, with the cheapest options being the dala-dala, the mini-bus taxi share that costs $1.50 to get from Stone City to the north, east of south coasts.

If you prefer to take rent a car make sure you research companies with excellent reviews. Taxis and transfers are also available.


Time zone



+255 24

Calling code

220-240 V

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Main airport
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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