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Where to go Snorkeling in Zanzibar


Thinking about going snorkeling in Zanzibar? Well, you’ve come to the right place. These pristine waters offer incredible snorkeling opportunities.

But, before diving into where to go snorkeling in Zanzibar, let’s do a quick introduction to the different areas of Zanzibar.

Zanzibar Beach is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania in East Africa. It consists of Zanzibar, Unguja, and Pemba. There is also Stone Town, the historic center, which is a World Heritage Site. Zanzibar is also known as Spice Island, the beautiful island on Africa’s east coast.

Unguja, also known as Zanzibar Island, is the main island in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar. Stone Town, part of Zanzibar City, is an old trade center with mosques and winding lanes. However, the 1883 House of Wonders is a former sultan’s palace with a clock tower. Additionally, the Old Fort now houses a cultural center and a stone amphitheater. Underground aqueducts fed hot water to the late-19th-century Hamamni Persian Baths.

Day-long spice tours to working plantations offer visitors the chance to observe the cultivation of cloves, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Now, let’s get into snorkeling in Zanzibar. Here’s an overview:

Best Places for Snorkeling in Zanzibar

Check out these spots for snorkeling in Zanzibar.

Related read: Most Popular Day Trips from Zanzibar

1. Safari Blue

This full-day snorkeling tour offered at Menai Bay Conservation Area in Fumba Beach Village, located southwest of Unguja Island in Zanzibar, is renowned as one of the premier experiences for snorkelers visiting the region.

Menai Bay Conservation Area is celebrated for its expansive coral reefs, thriving mangrove forests, and diverse marine life, making it an ideal destination for snorkeling enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters teem with colorful fish species, providing an immersive and unforgettable snorkeling experience.

The tour offers exceptional snorkeling opportunities and includes visits to Kwale Island and leisure time spent on the picturesque sandbank. Guests can also indulge in delicious seafood and fresh fruits, adding to the overall enjoyment of the excursion.

Safari Blue, the tour operator, ensures guests have a comprehensive and enriching experience, combining adventure, relaxation, and culinary delights. This full-day tour is highly recommended for travelers seeking the ultimate snorkeling adventure and a fun-filled exploration in Zanzibar.

Book this snorkeling tour directly with the tour operator

Safari Blue snorkeling tour in Zanzibar, Tanzania

2. Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island is located on the northeast coast of Zanzibar (Unguja) near Matemwe Beach Village. It is renowned as Mnemba Atoll and offers enthusiasts an unparalleled snorkeling experience.

This secluded island is a haven for snorkelers, as it is protected, and fishing is strictly prohibited in the surrounding waters. As a result, Mnemba Atoll boasts an extraordinary abundance of marine life, making it a prime destination for underwater exploration.

Snorkelers can expect to encounter a diverse array of sea creatures, including—but not limited to—starfish, Moorish idols, lionfish, snappers, and green turtles. Additionally, lucky visitors may even have the opportunity to spot dolphins, particularly during the early morning hours when they are known to frequent the area.

For travelers seeking an immersive snorkeling adventure in Zanzibar, Mnemba Island offers an unrivaled opportunity to marvel at the wonders of the underwater world amidst pristine and protected surroundings.

Mnemba Island: The Ultimate Beach for snorkeling in Zanzibar

3. Nakupenda Sandbank

This island is just 1.2 kilometers from Stone Town Beach in Zanzibar and offers another excellent snorkeling opportunity for travelers, particularly those on a budget.

Snorkeling at Nakupenda Sandbank presents a convenient and cost-effective alternative to more elaborate excursions like Safari Blue and Mnemba Island for visitors staying in or planning to stay in Stone Town.

This sandbank is easily accessible from Stone Town. It allows visitors to explore the region’s underwater wonders without the additional expenses associated with boat tours or island visits.

While the marine life and coral reefs may not be as abundant as those found at Mnemba Island or on Safari Blue tours, Nakupenda Sandbank still offers an enjoyable snorkeling experience amidst the clear waters of the Indian Ocean.

For budget-conscious travelers looking to immerse themselves in Zanzibar’s marine beauty without breaking the bank, snorkeling at Nakupenda Sandbank presents a practical and rewarding option.

Nakupenda beach experience - Shadows Of Africa

4. Prison Island

Prison Island is one of the most renowned islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago. It is famous for its population of giant tortoises, some of which can live up to 300 years. However, beyond its fascinating inhabitants, Prison Island also offers an exceptional snorkeling experience.

The island boasts a stunning natural fish garden, teeming with diverse marine species. Snorkelers visiting Prison Island can explore the vibrant underwater world, encountering colorful fish, intricate coral formations, and other fascinating sea creatures.

While the giant tortoises are undoubtedly a highlight of Prison Island, snorkeling in its crystal-clear waters adds another dimension to the island’s allure. Whether visitors are drawn to the marine life or the island’s rich history, a snorkeling excursion at Prison Island promises an unforgettable experience amidst the beauty of the Indian Ocean.

Related read: How to Visit Prison Island in Zanzibar

Join a Zanzibar Prison island tour

Join this captivating tour starting with a hotel pickup, followed by a scenic half-hour boat journey to Prison Island, also known as Changuu or Quarantine Island, in the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Highlights of the visit include a giant tortoise reserve, home to ancient Aldabra giant tortoises gifted by the Seychelles in 1919, which have thrived on the island.

You’ll interact closely with these gentle giants, including feeding and petting them and visiting a nursery for the baby tortoises. The tour concludes with an opportunity to snorkel among vibrant coral reefs, lounging on pristine sandy beaches, and soaking in the spectacular views of Stone Town, the bay, and the archipelago upon your return.

This tour includes:

· Guided half-day trip (morning or afternoon 3 to 4 hours), private for your group

· Local experienced English-speaking guide, other languages on request, if available

· Transportation: from any hotel in Zanzibar

· Admission to Changuu –  Prison island

· Snorkeling equipment

Book directly with the tour operator

Prison Island Zanzibar Tour - Hotel Zanzibar

5. Kizimkazi Snorkeling & Dolphins Tour

Nestled on the serene south coast of Zanzibar’s Unguja Island, offers a tranquil escape for visitors seeking a quieter alternative to bustling tourist hubs like Nungwi and Paje.

This secluded fishing village is renowned for its resident dolphins, making it a popular destination for dolphin tours and snorkeling adventures. While there’s no guarantee of dolphin sightings, visitors are likely to encounter these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, with an estimated success rate of around 90%.

Tour operators provide dolphin tours that often include snorkeling excursions at Kizimkazi, allowing travelers to combine the thrill of dolphin watching with the opportunity to explore the underwater wonders of the Indian Ocean. However, it’s worth noting that options like Safari Blue or Mnemba Island may offer a more diverse marine experience for travelers primarily interested in snorkeling.

Ultimately, whether visitors choose to embark on a Kizimkazi snorkeling and dolphin tour or opt for alternative snorkeling adventures, exploring the marine beauty of Zanzibar promises an enriching and unforgettable experience.

Dolphin Tour to Kizimkazi Village

Explore the enchanting waters of Zanzibar with this celebrated Dolphin Tour, a must-do for anyone visiting the island. This unique experience offers the unforgettable opportunity to swim alongside the graceful and friendly dolphins, an activity cherished by adults and children alike. Dolphins, known for their playful nature, provide a truly special encounter that goes beyond mere observation.

Set in the picturesque Kizimkazi fishing village in the southern part of the island, this tour allows you to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, offering the best dolphin watching experience in Zanzibar. Both bottle-nosed and humpback dolphins are frequently sighted here, making for a remarkable spectacle.

The tour, which can be a half-day adventure either in the early morning or afternoon, depending on weather conditions, also includes the chance to explore the charming Kizimkazi village. Discover its natural and cultural attractions, including the historic 12th-century mosque, showcasing Islam’s early presence in South Africa.

Ideal for combining with other popular activities like the Spice Tour or Jozani Forest Trip, this dolphin encounter provides not just excitement and joy but also a glimpse into the rich history and natural beauty of Zanzibar.

Book this tour directly with the operator

Best spots to go snorkeling in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Is Snorkeling Safe in Zanzibar?

Yes, snorkeling in Zanzibar is generally considered safe for both beginners and experienced snorkelers. The waters around Zanzibar are known for their clarity and warmth, making them ideal for snorkeling activities. Additionally, there have been no reported shark attacks in the area, further reassuring those considering snorkeling in Zanzibar.

However, taking necessary precautions is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. While the risk of encountering sharks is minimal, it’s always advisable to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings when in the water.

For individuals who may not be strong swimmers, wearing a life jacket while snorkeling is recommended to enhance safety. This additional flotation device can provide peace of mind and assistance if needed, especially for those who feel less confident in the water.

Overall, with proper preparation and adherence to safety guidelines, snorkeling in Zanzibar offers a delightful opportunity to explore the stunning marine life and underwater landscapes of this tropical paradise.

Is it Possible to Snorkel with a Camera in Zanzibar?

Yes, it is indeed possible and permissible to snorkel with a camera in Zanzibar. Bringing your camera along while snorkeling allows you to capture stunning underwater scenes and create lasting memories of your vacation in this beautiful destination.

Whether you’re using a waterproof camera, an action camera like a GoPro, or a smartphone in a waterproof case, snorkeling with a camera enables you to document the vibrant marine life, colorful coral reefs, and breathtaking underwater landscapes that you encounter during your snorkeling adventures in Zanzibar.

Just be sure to secure your camera properly to prevent it from getting damaged or lost while snorkeling. Additionally, familiarize yourself with any specific instructions or precautions for using your camera underwater to ensure the best results.

With your camera in hand, you’ll have the opportunity to capture unforgettable moments and preserve them as cherished mementos of your snorkeling experiences in Zanzibar.

Snorkeling Tours In Zanzibar Beach

  • Gowitos

    At Gowitos Safaris, We Believe That Tourism Is Not Only A Way To Experience The Beauty Of Tanzania, But Also An Important Way To Support The Local Economy And Preserve The Country’s Natural And Cultural Heritage. By Visiting Tanzania And Experiencing Its Beauty Firsthand, You Are Contributing To The Growth And Development Of Local Communities, And Helping To Protect The Country’s Unique Wildlife And Landscapes.


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