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Even though Tanzania has 200 miles more coastline than its northerly neighbour most of it's resorts are centred on the off shore islands. This is were the best diving is to be found. Surprisingly the islands, especially Mafia and Pemba, are practically untouched by tourism with less than half a dozen hotels on each.

The islands are rich in culture and history, with Zanzibar the highlight, which not only adds but is an integral part of a trip to these islands. Each island can be coupled with safaris on the northern circuit of the Serengeti and Ngoronoro Crater or the lesser known and frequented southern of the Selous.

An ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro can also be combined with the islands for what will be a well earned rest!!

Mafia Island



The island lies opposite the mouth of the Rufiji River delta on mainland Tanzania. A mere 30 minutes by air from Dar Es Saalam and 45 from Zanzibar the island offers some of the best diving off the East African coast. Very much off the 'beaten track', for those that take the time and effort to visit will be rewarded with pristine reefs teeming with big game fish.



The islands southern region was declared a marine park in 1995 and hosts more than 380 species of fish and more than 45 different kinds of coral genera. There are excellent examples of giant table coral, delicate seafans, whip coral, and huge stands of blue tipped staghorn coral. Green and hawksbill turtles breed here in significant numbers. The endangered dugong, once frequently seen in these waters, still has occasional sightings. Chole Bay is a vast circular bay and coupled with the archipelago offers very clear visibility and averages 30 mtrs from October to the end of March.


Pemba Island



The 'clove capital of the world' is very much the poor relation to Zanzibar. Practically untouched by tourism, options are very limited. This is its main attraction as you feel a sense of adventure about being here. For those with time, Pemba offers the traveller an insight into the real Africa.



Pemba has quietly been preserving some of the best adventure diving in the Indo-Pacific region. To the island's west is the crystal-clear, 600 mtr Pemba Channel. To the east is nothing but ocean, its currents bringing marine life straight in from the Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. This combination of deep water and nutrient rich currents means the island is surrounded by spectacular drop offs, densely populated with Indo Pacific species.

Wall diving is the speciality here, and the coral supports an abundance of reef and coral fish. Out in the blue might be schooling tuna, barracuda, sailfish, marlin, giant trevally, hammerheads, tiger sharks or reef sharks. There’s no shortage of turtles and dolphins either, but Pemba is particularly well known for its manta rays. Whale sharks and whales – Southern right, minky and humpback – are not uncommon either. The night diving is also exceptional, with the phosphorescent Indian Ocean only adding to the magic.


  • Kervan Saray - Unpretentious African resort offering simple accommodation
  • Fundu Lagoon - Fourteen luxury bungalows, ideal for a honeymoon or those wishing to spoil themselves.

Zanzibar Island


The name is enough to get the imagination racing. This exotic, dark, sinister spice island with powdery white beaches has it all. Zanzibar has a long history of colonisation and therefore has a mixture of Omani, African and European architecture. It is also one of the few places in Africa where one can rave about the cuisine. It has beenblessed with fantastic beaches, forests that are home to the Red Colobus Monkey and every type of spice you can think of. If you ever wondered what root or tree they came from here is the answer.



Although there are dives sites all around the island the best are to be found off the north coast. Here the depth of the sites gives greater visibilty. Two of the best are Leven Banks and Mnemba Island. Both are drift dives, you drop in and 'Superman here we come'!! For those with less experience the sites around Stone Town are better suited.


  • Dhow Palace Hotel - Based in historic Stone Town it could also double up as a museum. Artifacts adorn everywhere confirming you are in a special place.
  • Ras Nungwi Beach Hotel - All 32 rooms are tastefully furnished, with hand-crafted four poster beds and indigenous decor.

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