Africa’s eastern coastline is chiselled by the ebb and flow of the warm Indian Ocean, which shapes the coastal terrain into variations of rocky cliff faces and soft sand. It is where whales come to calve, turtles come to lay their eggs, and where coral reefs stretch beneath the surface, populating the sea floor with living colour. From award-winning photography, to age-old children’s animations, “unda da sea” is depicted as a world of bright oceanic flowers, creatures of both adoration and terror, and more vibrantly coloured fish and contouring coral reefs than you can imagine. Here on the east coast of Africa, we’ve got the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful underwaters of the world. Our favourites? Zanzibar and Mozambique. Take a look…
Pemba Island, Zanzibar
We are familiar with Tanzania as a destination of dreams – the place of the Annual Wildebeest Migration across the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Great Lakes, and its magnificent coastline, which is home to some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs and marine life. The Zanzibar Archipelago, off the coast of Dar es Salaam is a host of islands marooned in the azure expanse of the Indian Ocean only a short boat ride from Tanzania mainland. If you’re in search of the best scuba diving and snorkelling experience there is, you’d be destinated for Pemba Island.
Pemba Island, meaning “green island” is part of the Swahili Coast, north of Zanzibar’s largest island, Unguja, and known as a very productive small-scale farming island. In addition to its famous spices, Pemba is a diver’s paradise. It is home to numerous dive sites with steep drop-offs, pristine coral gardens, and a broad and healthy diversity of marine life. The Manta Resort is where you’ll find the most professional and expertly guided scuba diving opportunities on Pemba. With visibility of up to 40m throughout the year, you won’t miss a fish in these deep, blue waters.
A few of the island’s famous dive sites vary from the easy going Scorpion’s Secret, which is only 2-minutes from Manta Resort, to the Fundu Gap, which is an hour’s boat ride from the resort with scenes from 5m to 40m deep. There are 9 different dive sites, and each of them offers something extraordinary to behold. At Scorpion’s Secret – perfect for beginners and snorkellers – there is a gently sloping wall taking you from 5m to 18m deep with soft currents and fantastic sights of lion fish, scorpion fish, leaf fish and giant frog fish. This is where you can experience a majestic night dive under the full moon, too. Out at Fundu Gap, there are 5 different sites varying from 5m to 40m deep, strong currents, and fantastically clear blue abyss. This is where you find large species, such as barracuda and eagle rays, but it is also the best place to see the soft coral gardens and take some unbelievable underwater photos. Plus, there’s an underwater bedroom with 360-degree glass walls surrounding the occupants in pure ocean.
Ponta Mamoli, Mozambique
Down south from Zanzibar, the coast of Mozambique sparkles in the warm African sunlight, bleaching the award-winning beach of Ponta Mamoli, only 25km north of the South African border at Kosi Bay. This tract of unblemished beachfront has been voted as one of Africa’s 10 best beaches in the past, and certainly, nothing has changed. The Ponta Mamoli coastline is met by lush, vegetated dunes, which drift off inland like an emerald carpet, housing an abundance of wildlife. Into the azure waters, you will find astonishing marine biodiversity residing in crystal-like waters and offering up some of the best pinnacle diving in the world.
White Pearl Resorts, on Ponta Mamoli’s Lagoon Coast, is sheltered and private with 2km of exclusive coastline. The diving experiences are world-class, with visions ranging from colourful corals and schools of fish, to turtles and sharks, which reside in deeper waters. The diving excursions at White Pearl take you to a handful of dive sites, each offering something staggeringly beautiful to see. This is the place to see large groups of hammerhead and Zambezi sharks, and the breath-taking and gentle whale shark. Tropical reef fish, and endangered turtles are all a part of this southern African, Indian Ocean scuba diving experience.