Best time to visit Zanzibar

Diving and Snorkeling in Zanzibar 2024-2025

One of the best diving destinations of the world

Best time: June–March

Diving and Snorkeling
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Enjoy the underwater freedom and marine paradise of Zanzibar's waters. It may even be the world’s best scuba diving location, according to many pro divers.

Mnemba Atoll is the self-proclaimed tropical "fish capital" of East Africa; it is full of marine life and a lot of drift diving along the walls and edge of the reef. Don't forget your camera for underwater pictures of butterfly fish, leaf fish, pipe fish, and lots of shrimp, lobsters, graceful manta rays, dolphins, turtles, and even sharks.

Leven Bank is home to a population of big game fish—tuna, barracuda, and huge moray eels. If you’re visiting Mafia Island from October to March, you may even encounter a whale shark. September-October is the perfect time for migrating Humpback and Sperm whales. You can also check out manta rays and whale sharks from December to April. You can also dive around Stone Town, near Nyange reef, or by the shallow reefs off Tumbatu Island for unbelievable Macro photos. The east coast at Haji, Kichafi, and Hunga or Kizimkazi in the south is also great for diving.

Diving in Zanzibar depends a lot on the winds, water visibility, and the tides. The southern wind called "Kusi" blows during July and August and the northern wind called "Kaskazi" blows from mid-November till early March. Between the monsoon periods there are two calm seasons. Concerning visibility, April and May are not the best season because of the rains. The best period for diving is from June to August and from mid-November to early January. The water temperature during that period is quite comfortable too (24°C -30°C). So, general diving season stretches from June through March, avoiding the rainy season.

Practical info

What are some of the best spots for diving in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar has several great diving spots, including Mnemba Atoll which is famous for being the capital of tropical fish in East Africa. Colorful marine life such as butterfly fish, dolphins, lobsters, sharks, turtles, and shrimp call this place home. Leven Bank situated in the Zanzibar Mafia Island is perfect for big game fishing activities for barracuda, huge moray eels, and tuna, as well as the migration of whale sharks. You can also enjoy diving in Stone Town, Kizimkazi, and the shallow reefs off Tumbatu Island to capture amazing macro pictures. Show more

What are the ideal times to consider visiting Zanzibar for diving?

The most comfortable time to dive in Zanzibar is from June to August, and from mid-November to early January, which are the calmest months between the monsoon seasons and have water temperatures ranging between 24°C to 30°C. It is not advisable to visit during the rainy seasons between April and May since there's poor visibility. Keep an eye on the prevailing wind – the Southern wind 'Kusi' blows between July to August, and the North wind 'Kaskazi' blows from mid-November to early March. Show more

What are the spots where big game fish can be spotted when diving in Zanzibar?

Leven Bank in the Zanzibar Mafia Island is one of the perfect spots to encounter big game fish like barracuda, tuna, and huge moray eels. In the same area, between October and March, you might come across whale sharks while diving. Whales like Humpback and Sperm can also be seen migrating during September to October. In addition, manta rays and whale sharks can be found during December to April, which is a great time to see them. Show more

When is the diving season in Zanzibar?

From June to March, it's an ideal time to go diving in Zanzibar unless it's April-May when visibility is poor due to the rainy season. Keep an eye on the prevailing wind – the Southern wind 'Kusi' blows between July to August, and the North wind 'Kaskazi' blows from mid-November to early March. Between the monsoon periods, divers can take advantage of two calm seasons from June to August and from mid-November to early January. Show more

What is the marine life that welcomes divers in Zanzibar?

Divers will encounter diverse and beautiful marine life while diving in Zanzibar. Mnemba Atoll is home to many different species of marine life such as butterfly fish, leaf fish, pipe fish, shrimp, lobsters, manta rays, dolphins, turtles, and sharks. Leven Bank, on the other hand, is known for big game fish like barracuda, tuna, and huge moray eels. Migrating Humpback and Sperm whales can be seen from September - October, while manta rays, as well as whale sharks, can be sighted from December - April. Show more

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