If you are looking for one of the best scuba diving locations in the world, Zanzibar is always at the top of the list. Zanzibar is an archipelago located in the Indian Ocean. This semi-autonomous territory is officially a part of Tanzania. The waters surrounding this African archipelago are some of the warmest, clearest, and in terms of marine life, the most bountiful in the world. Let’s discuss what you can expect when scuba diving in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Scuba Diving Overview and Basic Facts
In Zanzibar, there are well over 30 different dive sites to choose from. You can find all sorts of diving adventures and types, including wall and reef diving, shark cage diving, and shipwrecks.
The Levan Bank sees very strong ocean currents and is a haven for large game fish such as tuna, trevally, and kingfish. In terms of beauty, Zanzibar is known for having some of the most beautiful, extensive, and most accessible coral reefs worldwide, not to mention that it is a prime location to see the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.
Perhaps the most popular dive site in Zanzibar is the Mnemba Atoll, a massive 7-kilometer-long reef where you can find whales, sharks, turtles, and more.
The Best Time of Year to Dive Around Zanzibar
The best part about diving around Zanzibar is that the Indian Ocean in this area sees very consistent temperatures year-round, often being around 80° Fahrenheit (nearly 27° Celsius). You can expect the water to be up to 29° Celsius or over 84° Fahrenheit between November and May.
You can expect the water to be a balmy 25° Celsius or about 77° Fahrenheit in the rainy season between June and October.
As you can see, no matter the time of year, the waters around Zanzibar are always warm. However, most scuba divers would agree that the best time to dive Zanzibar waters is mid-March to mid-April.
On that same note, while the oceans around Zanzibar can be a bit choppy at times, between March and May, strong winds subside and allow for very calm water. Moreover, you can expect the water visibility to be up to 60 meters or close to 200 feet during calmer times, which is fantastic.
Finally, depending on the dive site, you can expect the currents to be moderate to strong.
Keep in mind that although March, April, and May tend to be the best months in terms of scuba diving conditions around Zanzibar, if you want to see dolphins, whale sharks, and turtles, the best time is from September to December.
Commonly Found Marine Life in Zanzibar
You probably want to know what sort of marine life you will run into. Refer to the list below for an overview of what you will probably see while diving here.
- Hammerhead shark
- Blacktip reef shark
- Whitetip reef shark
- Whale shark
- Manta ray
- Eagle ray
- Minke whale
- Humpback whale
- Blue whale
- Hawksbill turtle
Most Popular Dive Sites in Zanzibar
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular scuba diving sites in Zanzibar.
If you want to see dolphins, this massive 7 km long reef is the place to go. The visibility here tends to be excellent, and most sites around this area are ideal for beginners, although some locations, such as the Big Wall, are better for experienced divers.
This is one of the most popular diving sites in Zanzibar, located on the Mnemba Atoll. This is a great place to find large animals in the open waters. However, the most popular sections are shallower areas that feature vibrant coral reefs and marine life.
Tumbatu Island is hands down one of the best places around Zanzibar when it comes to reef diving. If you want to see turtles and fish that live on the reefs, this is the place to be.
Average Cost of Diving in Zanzibar
How much you will spend on diving in Zanzibar depends on a variety of factors. On average, you can expect to pay between $45.00 and $60.00 per dive. Of course, it varies with the dive center you go with, what package you choose, equipment rental, and more. Keep in mind that some of the more popular dive sites and night diving will cost more.
If you want to dive in one of the most beautiful marine-rich areas in the world, Zanzibar Island should be on your bucket list.