Scuba diving in Zanzibar – Practical Guide

Scuba diving in Zanzibar is a captivating experience that allows you to explore the stunning underwater world surrounding this tropical island. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and vibrant coral reefs, Zanzibar offers an unforgettable adventure for diving enthusiasts. Here are some highlights of scuba diving in Zanzibar.

Diving in Zanzibar means exploring the depths of the Indian Ocean, beautiful lagoons and bustling coral reefs. When is the best time to go to Zanzibar? Where are the most interesting dive sites? You will find out everything from this text!

Scuba diving in Zanzibar

Scuba diving in Zanzibar is an incredible experience that immerses you in the breathtaking underwater realm of this tropical island. With its pristine turquoise waters and vibrant marine life, Zanzibar offers a mesmerizing adventure for diving enthusiasts. The marine biodiversity is astounding, with vibrant coral formations and a kaleidoscope of fish species that create an enchanting underwater tapestry. Exploring the famous Mnemba Atoll, a protected marine reserve, reveals some of the most pristine coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, where turtles, moray eels and reef sharks can be found. Pemba Island, just north of Zanzibar, is also a must-see for divers, with a rich marine ecosystem, dramatic dips and walls that attract barracuda, groupers and even the elusive hammerhead shark.

Zanzibar offers a range of dive sites suitable for all skill levels, from gentle coral reefs for beginners to exciting drift dives and deep walls for advanced divers. Visibility is often excellent, allowing clear views of underwater wonders. The water temperature remains comfortably warm year-round, making it ideal for diving without the need for a wetsuit. Dive centers and resorts in Zanzibar are well-equipped and staffed with experienced instructors who prioritize safety and provide an unforgettable diving experience. They often partner with local organizations to promote coral conservation and sustainable diving practices. By participating in diving in Zanzibar, you not only witness the beauty of the underwater world, but also contribute to the preservation of this delicate ecosystem for future generations.

Zanzibar – practical information

Zanzibar is an archipelago located off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean. It consists of several islands, with the main ones being Unguja (referred to as Zanzibar Island) and Pemba Island. Remember to check travel advisories and stay updated on any specific requirements or regulations before planning your trip. Here are some practical details about Zanzibar:


Zanzibar is situated approximately 25-50 kilometers (15-30 miles) off the Tanzanian mainland. The capital city of Zanzibar is Zanzibar City, which is located on the western coast of Unguja Island.

Ruins on Tumbatu Island

Visa Requirements

Visitors to Zanzibar must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining. Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter Tanzania, which includes Zanzibar. It’s advisable to check with the nearest Tanzanian embassy or consulate for specific visa requirements based on your country of origin.


The official currency of Zanzibar is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). It’s recommended to carry local currency for most transactions. While some places may accept major foreign currencies (particularly US dollars and Euros), it’s best to have some local currency for smaller establishments and markets.


The official languages of Zanzibar are Swahili and English. Swahili is widely spoken by the local population, but many people involved in tourism and hospitality also speak English.

Zanzibar – street food


Zanzibar has a tropical climate characterized by two main seasons: the dry season (June to October) and the wet season (November to May). The dry season generally experiences lower humidity and cooler temperatures, while the wet season sees higher temperatures and occasional rainfall. The average temperature ranges from 24°C to 32°C (75°F to 90°F) throughout the year.

Health and Safety

It’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or travel clinic before visiting Zanzibar to check for any required vaccinations or health precautions. Malaria is prevalent in the region, so taking appropriate measures to prevent mosquito bites and considering antimalarial medication is advisable. Travel insurance that includes medical coverage is highly recommended.


Zanzibar is served by Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ), located on Unguja Island. Several international and domestic airlines operate flights to Zanzibar. To explore the island, taxis, private transfers, and public minibusses (known as dala-dalas) are available. It’s also common to rent a car or scooter, although traffic can be congested in some areas.

Culture and Etiquette

Zanzibar has a rich cultural heritage influenced by African, Arab, Indian, and European traditions. The local population is predominantly Muslim, so it’s important to respect local customs and dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious sites or rural areas. It’s customary to greet people with a friendly “Jambo” (hello) and engage in polite conversation.

Attractions and Activities

Zanzibar offers a range of attractions and activities beyond scuba diving. Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renowned for its historical architecture and winding alleys. Other popular activities include visiting spice plantations, exploring the Jozani Forest Reserve, indulging in beach relaxation, and experiencing the vibrant local markets.


The electrical voltage in Zanzibar is 220-240 volts, with a standard three-pin plug (Type G) used in the United Kingdom. It’s advisable to bring a universal adapter if your devices use a different type of plug.

Why should you dive in Zanzibar?

Scuba diving in Zanzibar is worth it because of the stunning marine biodiversity, pristine dive sites, exceptional visibility, warm water temperatures, experienced dive centers, and the opportunity to contribute to conservation efforts. Zanzibar boasts a remarkable marine ecosystem characterized by vibrant coral reefs and a diverse array of marine life. From colorful corals to tropical fish, encountering the underwater world of Zanzibar is like diving into a living aquarium. The sight of angelfish, parrotfish, triggerfish, and other exotic species is a treat for any diving enthusiast.

Zanzibar is home to a variety of world-class dive sites suitable for divers of all levels of experience. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced diver, you can find captivating dive sites that cater to your skill level. From shallow reefs to thrilling drift dives and deep walls, Zanzibar offers an impressive range of underwater landscapes to explore. This place is also known for its excellent visibility underwater, typically ranging from 20 to 40 meters (65 to 130 feet). Clear waters provide an optimal diving experience, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the coral reefs and marine creatures that inhabit them.

Diving season in Zanzibar

Zanzibar’s diving season is influenced by its weather patterns and water conditions. Generally, Zanzibar offers good diving opportunities throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of the diving seasons in Zanzibar:

Dry Season (June to October): This period is considered the peak diving season in Zanzibar. The weather is characterized by minimal rainfall, lower humidity, and cooler temperatures. The water visibility is excellent during this time, often reaching up to 40 meters (130 feet). The sea conditions are generally calm, providing ideal diving conditions.

Wet Season (November to May): The wet season in Zanzibar is marked by higher temperatures, occasional rainfall, and increased humidity. Despite being considered the low season for diving by some, Zanzibar’s wet season still presents excellent diving opportunities. Although the water visibility may experience a slight reduction due to runoff from the rain, overall visibility remains good. It’s worth noting that rainfall tends to be sporadic and short-lived, and diving can still be enjoyable during this season.

Dive sites in Zanzibar

Zanzibar has some of the richest coral reefs in the world – about 500 species live in the waters of the Indian Ocean, near the coast of the archipelago’s islands. During diving in Zanzibar you can encounter sharks, whale sharks, turtles and dolphins. Colorful reef fish, colorful nudibranch snails and frogs live here, as well as stingrays, scorpionfish and cuttlefish. Of the more interesting creatures, seahorses and sea snakes are worth mentioning. Other species found here include spotted and blue moray eels, barracuda and tuna.

Mnemba Atoll

Located off the northeastern coast of Zanzibar, Mnemba Atoll is a protected marine reserve known for its pristine coral reefs. Diving here provides opportunities to encounter a rich diversity of marine life, including turtles, moray eels, and reef sharks.

Mnemba Atoll – Zanzibar

Leven Bank

Situated north of Zanzibar Island, Leven Bank is a submerged reef system that attracts divers with its abundant marine ecosystem. It features steep drop-offs, coral gardens, and the chance to spot pelagic species such as barracudas and jacks.


Located on the northern tip of Zanzibar Island, Nungwi offers a range of dive sites suitable for divers of all levels. The coral reefs in this area are teeming with colorful fish, and encounters with turtles, stingrays, and dolphins are common.

Tumbatu Island

Situated off the northwest coast of Zanzibar Island, Tumbatu Island provides excellent drift diving experiences. The currents here bring nutrient-rich waters, attracting large schools of fish, including trevallies, snappers, and fusiliers.

Pemba Island

North of Zanzibar Island, Pemba Island is well known for its exceptional dive sites. The island features dramatic drop-offs, walls, and vibrant coral gardens. Diving around Pemba Island can reward divers with sightings of barracudas, groupers, and even occasional hammerhead sharks.

These are just a few examples of the dive sites that make Zanzibar a sought-after destination for scuba diving. Each site offers its own unique underwater landscapes, diverse marine life, and memorable experiences for divers of all backgrounds and skill levels.

Diving trip to Zanzibar

If you would like to go diving in Zanzibar or any other attractive place in the world, it is worth having a good team and an experienced guide with you. Be sure to check out our expedition project and maybe you will find a trip that interests you –


Scuba diving in Zanzibar – let’s recap

In conclusion, diving in Zanzibar presents the chance to delve into a captivating marine environment teeming with biodiversity. With stunning dive sites, excellent visibility, comfortable water temperatures and a commitment to conservation, Zanzibar offers a unique and unforgettable diving experience for enthusiasts from around the world.

costa rica divers instructor

PADI MSDT #384513


Peter "Pedro" Sawicki

My life has always been linked to sports commonly considered extreme. I once fell in love with big wall climbing, just as I am now in love with scuba diving. I climbed mountains, explored caves and took part in exploration expeditions. Through these experiences, I saw a large chunk of the world and learned a lot. Now I have been a professional diver and a scuba instructor for many years, and Costa Rica has become my second home. Check also my expedition project:

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