The inviting waters of the Indian Ocean that surround Zanzibar cater for all divers. Beginners especially have a great time here due to the immediate beauty of the shallow reef that is easily accessible via a sloping bottom. The marine life in Zanzibar make it a must visit location for avid divers.
The fish go about their day-to-day business in their complicated community networks and the reef is a hustle and bustle of beauty and colour. Dolphins pass by stopping to play once in a while and turtles munch down on foliage here and there. Blue spotted sting rays glide over sandy patches and come to rest close enough for a photo. The unusual-looking crocodile fish sits in wait of its prey. Similar odd looking bottom dwellers, such as the scorpion fish and the frog fish, set up their ambush and await the unlucky fish that will cross its path for the last time.
This is all very nice of course. But what if you want a bit more of a challenge? What if the deep blue depths are calling?
Some of the best aquatic life is found in the marine park of Mnemba Atoll which comprises of 4 x 7km of reef and a restricted small Island. Visibility is usually superb which adds to the vibrancy of the colour. You could be forgiven for thinking Finding Nemo was thought up right here.
Two dive sites that cater to the advanced diver are Big Wall and Kichuani.
Big Wall 18 – 55m (60 – 165ft)
Found on the East side of Mnemba this is a very good drift dive. The Topography is a vertical wall with overhangs. You will spot all kinds of varied fish life and even a turtle or 2.
Kichuani 2m – 40m (10 – 120ft)
A beautifully gentle sloping reef. This is the place of ‘shark house’: an area of the dive site that, when current permits, divers can go looking for white tips out in the sand.
Levenbank 13 – 50m (45ft – 165ft)
This dive site is in the north of Zanzibar and has been hailed ‘The Best Dive Site’. It is a sea mountain out in the open ocean whose currents attract a range of animals. Residents include morays, barracuda, rays and much more. If you’re lucky you may see a humpback whale breaching during the August to October season.
Deep diving can be highly rewarding and isn’t accessible to everyone. It should be treated seriously. The following considerations apply:
- Are you certified to this depth? Even if you think ‘you’ll be fine’ travel insurance often only covers you to your certified depth so be sure to stick to your limits.
- Who are your buddies? Are they qualified?
- Is Oxygen on-board and where is the local emergency facility?
- You must look at your air consumption twice as much as you would on a shallow dive.
- What has your nitrogen loading been that day?
If you’re open water level and would like to take the next step then think about an upgrade to advanced level and elect a drift dive. Escape the snorkelers and head out to some impressive and more secluded dive spots.