Zanzibar Island is bathed by the warm currents of the equator. The coral reefs offer exhilarating scuba diving and snorkeling within a short boat ride from most beaches. Scuba is most spectacular off Pemba Island, however for scuba beginners the safe calm waters of Zanzibar are recommended as the current off shore from Pemba can be strong. Snorkeling is best however off Zanzibar Island, whose eastern barrier reef encloses a series of shallow and sheltered tidal lagoons home to an abundance of colorful marine life.
Planets Tours Tours can arrange Scuba and Snorkeling trips, from any hotel you choose, to satisfy all ability levels. All of our trips use fully insured, vetted local companies and guides to ensure the long term future of the island.
There are many very beautiful and so great places for snorkeling and diving – but here we aim to highlight the best.
The best place for snorkeling in Zanzibar is Chumbe Island one of the most spectacular garden to be found any where in the word,Chumbe is the best for snorkeling only,diving is not allowed here due to the fact that the corals are not so deep and can be easily damaged if diving is to be allowed.
The Mnemba Atoll
Mnemba Island is an atoll set just off the northeast coast near Matemwe. Diving at Mnemba is stunning, on the inside it’s like being in a giant aquarium and the outside offers excellent wall and drift dives. The island itself is a breeding ground for turtles and they are often seen gliding by along with dolphins, huge schools of fish, whale sharks and humpbacks when in season.
What makes Mnemba Atoll different to diving from town is the amount of schooling fish, from Striped Snapper, Surgeon Fish and up to ten green Turtles can be seen on one dive. If you look hard enough you will find the masters of disguise the Frog Fish who camouflage themselves so that they are not seen by predators. This dive is one not to be missed if you are planning a dive trip to Zanzibar.
Mnemba Atoll is a popular scuba diving site, with a wide variety of corals and associated species, as well as good sightings of larger species such as turtles and dolphins. Calm conditions are most frequent in September and October, though visibility is at its optimum in January.
Mnemba Island is a 60 minute drive from Stone Town across the main Zanzibar Island,the Island can be easily reached if you will be staying at the nearest hotel, the Matemwe Beach Village, it is twenty minute boat crossing from this hotel.
Mnemba Island and its surrounding reefs have been declared as a Marine Conservation area.
Mnemba is an idyllic island situated within a marine reserve comprising four distinct habitats which are home to a diverse array of Indian Ocean wildlife.
- Nesting place of threatened green turtles (monitoring and protection project has been underway since 1996)
- Seasonal viewing of humpback whales (July to September)
- Encounters with three species of dolphin
- Excellent opportunities to view whale sharks (the world’s largest fish)
- Migratory and resident shore birds feed and roost on the Island
- Approximately 600 species of coral reef fish
Green Sea Turtles can be seen laying their eggs on the beaches between December and May.