Snorkeling The Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania

by Gary Koop
(Sudbury, Ontario, Canada)

My wife and I booked a safari in the Serengeti and decided to end with a few days of snorkeling the Zanzibar Archipelago. Both are easily accessible from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

First, we booked a day trip to Mnemba Island and were quite pleasantly surprised. The boat out costs $45 per person including lunch.

We also spent 2 days on Chumbe Island which is expensive, but a very special place with a very ecological program to go with their lovely reef.

Overall I would rate our experience above most places in Hawaii (except Two Steps on the Big Island), Mexico and the Virgin Islands, but not as good as a liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef or an eco-resort in the Raja Ampat area of Indonesia.

They have had some bleaching, but are recovering well and the fish life is very good. Highly recommended.

Comments for Snorkeling The Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania

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Nov 30, 2016
Thank You!
by: Nicole & Galen

Hi Gary, thank you for sharing your story. It is great for folks to have another option for great places to snorkel.

What were the reefs and fish life like at your two snorkels? What kinds of things did you see?

Can you please be more specific about which liveaboard you used in the Great Barrier Reef? Was it only snorkelers?

Dec 04, 2016
Snorkeling in Tanzania
by: Connie

Gary, thank you for sharing your experience. I never would have thought of snorkeling on a safari trip. How interesting. You mentioned the boat to the island. Were you able to snorkel from the island or did you have to snorkel from the boat?

Would also be interested in types of fish you saw.


Mar 12, 2017
Disappointing Snorkel at Mnemba Atoll
by: Jackie

Glad you had a great time snorkeling in Zanzibar.

We also visited Zanzibar after our 2016 safari in Tanzania. We booked on a 1/2 day trip operated by an operator out of Matemwe. It was a combined dive/snorkel trip with 90% divers.

We had a group of about 6 snorkelers and as 1 participant could not swim she wore a life ring (not a safe environment for a non-swimmer out in the open ocean) and understandably the snorkel guide spent the whole time with her and we were not "allowed" to explore by ourselves so could only swim at snail's pace and saw very little.

We are both experienced certified divers but have not dived in years and just snorkel these days. As soon as we got closer to some interesting coral it was time to go back to the boat - disappointing experience.

Chumbe is said to be excellent (and expensive) so do your research and plan well.

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