Neill has just come back from an amazing research trip to find the best diving in Africa. Here he discusses his top spots.
This was my first trip to this part of Africa (I went on a dodgy Gambian package holiday in the early 90s and to North Africa a few times) so I was incredibly excited. What I found didn't disappoint. Quite the opposite; I was blown away.
I cannot claim this to be a definitive list of the best diving in Africa as I only visited Tanzania and Mozambique; best diving in East Africa might be a more accurate claim. I visited many places with the exception of Southern Mozambique (next on my list!) and here are my top picks:
The Quirimbas Archipelago, Northern Mozambique
This is where I found my best diving in Africa. In particular at a dive site called Neptune's Arm which you can only get to from the incomparably beautiful Vamizi Island lodge. The other sites are great too; largely due to the remoteness of the region, the fish life is better than in many other East African dive spots which have often suffered from overfishing.
Vamizi was an unbelievably beautiful place to stay. I also went to Azura at Quilalea which offers a different experience, but a good one nonetheless.
Mafia Island, Tanzania
Mafia Island is a remote, laid back gem of a place. It was the first stop on my trip and it was how I had hoped Africa would be. The diving here is very good. The quality and diversity of the coral is excellent and from October through to February you get virtually guaranteed whale sharks which is reason to come in and of itself.
Pemba Island, Tanzania
Pemba Island has been in my mind to visit ever since I started diving some 15 years ago. I heard stories of whale sharks and other big fish so I was very excited. Sadly, you don't get the quantities of big fish you once did but the island is still beautiful, the coral still healthy and the fish life still good. I really enjoyed the diving. I also found a wonderful place to stay in Fundu Lagoon - this is rustic luxury to a tee.
Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
I'll start by saying that purely from a diving perspective, Zanzibar isn't quite up to the standard of the other places I visited (though I was very unlucky with the conditions which didn't help). However, it is still worth diving and if you place a great importance on the quality of the beaches, the clarity of the sea and a bit of culture then this island has it all. I stayed at Mnemba which was one of the experiences of my life (and worthy of a separate blog). Just perfect, with sand so white it hurts.
All in all, quite a trip. I must return and explore further.
Have you dived in Tanzania and Mozambique? Tell us your stories. Or if you want to find out more about the best diving in Africa contact us today!