True dive enthusiasts are geography experts at heart. That’s because the world’s best scuba diving locations sometimes read like a who’s who of exotic global locations. Tanzania is one of those places; the imagination takes over when destinations like Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salaam are mentioned. As one of the longest continually inhabited places on Earth, Tanzania is a land of extremes, from the Serengeti to the sea. It boasts the highest (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and lowest (Lake Tanganyika) points on the African continent, but, more importantly for scuba divers, it’s bounded on all sides by water: the Indian Ocean to the east, and the great rift valley lakes of Africa– Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi – to the northwest, west and southwest. With shore diving, boat diving, liveaboard opportunities and lake diving, there’s a great deal here to keep adventurous divers happy.

    Great Dives

    • Pemba Island – Pemba is Tanzania’s northernmost Indian Ocean island. It offers quintessential Indian Ocean diving, with coral-choked walls, colorful reefs, big bommies and enormous sea fans orbited by an amazing cast of reef fish. This remote Coral Sea atoll is made up of several individual dive sites. But, North Horn is perhaps the most famous for its sharks. There are white-tips, grey whalers, silvertips and the occasional hammerhead, you’ll also see potato cod, bigeye trevally and bumphead parrotfish.
    • Mnemba Atoll, Zanzibar – The self-proclaimed tropical fish capital of East Africa, this classic Indian Ocean atoll system is teeming with fish and offers drift and wall diving, all with consistent 30-metre/100-foot visibility.
    • Leven Bank – Far off the northern tip of Zanzibar is the domain of experienced divers looking for a unique thrill in wide-open ocean. Strong currents wash the bank, which is populated by big game fish, tuna, barracuda, kingfish, trevally, a variety of wrasse and huge moray eels.
    • Mafia Island – After a Tanzanian inland safari, divers still itching for big animal action should head to Mafia Island. If you’re visiting from October through March, the chances are good you’ll be able to hop aboard a dhow and head for a whale shark encounter.
    • Mesali Island Coral Garden – A vertical drop off here is festooned with coral. Clear water and abundant reef life make this a dive to remember. There are other dives here, including a rapid drift dive in the channel.
    • Lake Tanganyika – Dive in a crystal clear freshwater lake with literally hundreds of species of cichlid, some of which vie for vivid colors with marine species. This is a great place to combine some different diving with an altitude diver course while staying in an African lodge.

    Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth®for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

    Dive Summary

    Visibility – Running from good to excellent throughout Tanzania’s Indian Ocean sites, visibility can reach 30 metres/100 feet.

    Water Temperature – Being close to the equator means water temperatures are consistently about 27ºC/80ºF.

    Weather – Since it’s just below the equator, the only discernible seasons are dry and wet. The tropical climate in the major dive areas means you’ll rarely see air temperatures drop below 20ºC/68ºF and easily soaring to 35-38ºC/95-100ºF in Dar-es-Salaam.

    Featured Creatures – Myriad Indian Ocean reef fish, ribbon eels, fire dartfish, chevron barracuda, yellow fin tuna and giant groupers off Pemba Island. Cichlids thrive in Lake Tanganyika.

    Recommended Training – Definitely take the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer course to be ready to capture amazing images in Tanzania’s waters. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy and PADI Drift Diver course are good choices for diving the offshore islands. The PADI Altitude Diver course will prepare you to dive in Lake Tanganyika.

    Travel Info

    Language – English and Swahili are the official languages. Arabic is spoken on Zanzibar.

    Currency – Tanzanian shilling. Credit cards are accepted in many resort areas.

    Major Airports – Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) is in Dar-es-Salaam. There are also Kilimanjaro International Airport and Zanzibar International Airport.

    Electricity and Internet – 230/240 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in most tourist areas.

    Topside Attractions – Climb Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, via the Rongai Route. Visit Livingstone’s flat roofed home, or tembe. Take a small group tour down the Serengeti Trail.

    Health Requirements – Visitors are advised to consult their doctor regarding anti-malarial drugs and other recommended vaccinations.

    Locate PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in Tanzania.

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