Coral Diving in Tanzania

The Zanzibar Archipelago sits off the coast of East Africa, just above the Mozambique Channel, and its four islands are not only regularly visited by whales, dolphins and whale sharks but are also home to the best coral diving in Tanzania. Its main four islands - Unguja Island, Pemba Island, Mafia Island and Latham Island - are easily reached from the country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, and each offers its own unique charm and underwater attractions. Exploring the underwater reefs that surround the islands offers the chance of seeing whale sharks, green and hawksbill turtles, and even the occasional hammerhead, all against the back-drop of the best coral diving in Tanzania...

Zanzibar Island

Unguja Island is the official name of the archipelago's largest island, but it's best known to visitors simply as Zanzibar. The island is home to the region's capital, Zanzibar City, whose older quarter - Stone Town - is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is surrounded by vibrant dive sites bathed in colourful coral cover.

To enjoy some of the best coral diving in Tanzania while on Zanzibar, head out to Mnemba Atoll and Leven Bank. Leven Bank sits at the island's northernmost point and is awash with nutrient-rich waters that feed the corals and attract the pelagics. Mnemba Atoll's pristine coral walls offer gentle drifts through fish-filled waters and the possibility of encountering a friendly pod of common dolphins.

Pemba Island

The island of Pemba sits to the north of Zanzibar Island, halfway between Dar es Salaam and Mombassa, the former capital of neighbouring Kenya. Between the island and the mainland is the super-fishy Pemba Channel, which drops as deep as 800 metres and is known for supporting an abundance of predatory fish species. Silvertip sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse can be spotted enjoying the channel's lively currents, which can make stopping to admire the 320 different coral species best suited to the more experienced diver.

For a more sheltered view and some of the best coral diving in Tanzania, a trip to the Misali Island Conservation Area should not be missed. The stunning corals can be enjoyed by snorkelling or diving, but diving down puts you closer to marine life and better placed to hunt for macro critters hiding in nooks and crannies. While the protected area lays claim to some of the best coral diving in Tanzania, it also offers chances of swimming alongside dolphins, and there's usually a turtle or two munching on the coral too.

Mafia Island

With whale shark sightings pretty much guaranteed off the coast of Mafia Island between October and February each year, its excellent coral cover can occasionally get overlooked. Mafia lies a little further south than Zanzibar and Pemba, and the less-visited island is the home of Tanzania's first marine protected area, the Mafia Island Marine Park.

The marine park is home to resident whale sharks, and sightings are all but guaranteed between the months of October and March, while it also boasts some of the best coral diving in Tanzania. Chole Bay, on the southeast corner of the island, faces the open ocean and is a macro photographer's playground. Frogfish, harlequin shrimp and oodles of nudis frequent the coral crevices, and the bay's shallow depth gives you the time to explore. Diving the deeper walls outside Chole Bay brings even more impressive corals and bigger fish, with Napoleon wrasses and gargantuan groupers the order of the day...

Our dedicated team of dive travel specialists have explored the Zanzibar Archipelago to its fullest and are on hand to help you piece together your dream itinerary to discover the excellent coral diving in Tanzania and its Spice Islands...

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Coral Diving in Tanzania' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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