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Diving in and around Zanzibar

Zanzibar archipelago comes to us from a history of powerful trading links with Arabia and Persia; Zanzibar Island provided the gateway for slavers, gold, ivory, wood, spices, glass, and textiles. Early in the 16th century the Portuguese arrived, at which time the clove plantations were established.The diving around the Zanzibar Islands is exceptional, offering some of the best diving in the world.

For serious divers the best locations must be the deep dives out on the Pemba Reefs. If you are into this, then Pemba Island is the place to go for all your diving along the East African Coast. These reefs are awesome with a great variety of diving on offer.The diving around Zanzibar, particularly Mnemba Island is great for experienced and novice divers. The port area of Stone Town has one or two good wreck dives. The reefs close by are useful as a refresher if you have not dived for a while.

The dives in the area are relatively cheap and some of the wrecks provide some spectacular sights.The Pegasus wreck is 50m long and was sunk in 1916. Unfortunately it is for experienced divers only.

Some of the fish to see here are tuna, barracuda, jack fish, lionfish and giant stingrays. The great northern wreck is the remains of an old cable layer and has plenty leaf fish, eels and a huge variety of coral. Visibility in the area is excellent.Pange reef this reef is ideal for Open Water Dive courses as it is calm and shallow.

An enormous array of coral and tropical reef fish can be found, such as Clown Fish, Parrot Fish, Moorish Idol and many others. Many people do night dives here on the reef where you can see cuttlefish, squid, crab and many other night dwellers.Travel to the northernmost tip of the island to Nungwi and Leven Reef is found here and is probably the best reef off the main island. Due to the strong currents this is only for experienced divers.

What makes this reef so attractive is the array of reef and pelagic fauna which includes Guitarfish, Tuna, Moray Eels, Barracuda, Dolphins, and White Tip Reef Sharks. There is a huge variety of coral with clusters of Honeycomb and Pillar Coral.Wattabomi reef on the eastern side of the island is excellent for snorkeling and novice divers.

The reef includes small reef fish, Regal Angelfish, Bluestreak, Cleaner Wrasse, eels and Blue Spotted Rays. Look for Flounders and Soles who lie buried on their sides in the sand. Most of the year you will find Bottlenosed, Spinner and Common Dolphins.This is merely a guide to Zanzibar archipelago there is so much on offer for the novice or experienced divers alike.

I would suggest maybe two day dives in and around Stone town and then move to the beaches and islands for the more exciting diving experiences.

.For more detailed information see http://www.betheladventure.co.

uk and for a non-tourist information page see http://www.tanzania-info.co.uk support responsible tourism and change lives.

By: Ian Williamson

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