Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline is world renowned for offering some of the finest coral reefs. There is truly something for everyone: from the warm tropical waters around northern Mozambique to the cooler seas off South Africa’s Cape coast, it boasts wonderfully diverse diving. The overwhelming majority of coastal lodges that we recommend conveniently have specialized dive centers on site and offer everything from introductory dives to advanced certification.
Aardvark’s team of avid scuba diving experts include Victoria, John, Alice and Jo, and their many combined hours of underwater safari exploring make them a wealth of knowledge for your own successful experience of the African seas. We only lend our recommendations to dive operations that are run to the highest of international standards, and we monitor each operation to ensure that it will offer you both an excellent diving experience and complete security.
The Indian Ocean’s marine parks and reserves that we feature start at the coast of Kenya, continuing down to even finer diving around Zanzibar and Tanzania’s offshore islands. These islands, Mozambique and the Seychelles, offer magnificent world-class dive sites, while Mauritius is a wonderful destination, especially for first time divers. Madagascar’s diving is known for being superb and offers unusual sightings. South Africa offers both tropical waters off the northern KwaZulu-Natal and cold-water diving off the southern coast, boasting the opportunity to dive amongst great whites and whales. In addition, some of the most rewarding diving can be explored in the freshwaters of Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. Lake Malawi in particular, with its colorfully wide range of freshwater species and underwater rock formations, is a spectacular sight for even the most experienced divers.
The African diving experience is largely boat-based, though we can recommend a smaller number of shore-entry dive sites. All these waters can be explored by snorkeling to a limited extent, and all the lodges we feature have the necessary equipment on hand should you want to explore at your own pace.
The southern coastline of Kenya is home to spectacular marine parks that provide great diving in beautiful coral gardens with regular sightings of reef sharks, turtles and occasionally dolphins.
Off the Tanzanian coast are three idyllic islands that offer a rich variety of dive sites with plenty of opportunity to spot some of the bigger fish species. Zanzibar Island’s coral reefs host an abundance of marine life; thrill seekers can enjoy exciting wall diving off Pemba Island, and Mafia Island’s crystal clear waters are perfect for stunning encounters with thousands of tiny tropical fish. Mainland Tanzania boasts freshwater Lake Tanganyika, offering excellent cichlid diving.
The tropical waters and stunning islands off Mozambique’s coastline provide some exceptional underwater viewing with superb drift dives over walls and pristine reefs. Specifically, Vamizi Island in northern Mozambique is regularly voted one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Divers here have a good chance of seeing turtles, whales, bat fish, Napoleon wrasse, and nudibranchs. In addition, all of northern Mozambique provides for excellent snorkeling from the beaches.
Beginners and experienced divers alike enjoy the Indian Ocean Bank’s Seychelles for its bountiful coral reefs, gardens, and abundance of marine life. Divers can expect to see green sea turtles, reef fish, several shark species, and all the pelagic fish including tuna and barracuda. The outer islands offer divers the chance to explore steep walls and underwater canyons, while the inner islands both boast coral and granite reefs that take on an form amazing to investigate underwater.
Mauritius is perfect for the recreational diver, as there is a coral reef that extends almost the entire way around the island. It ensures excellent protected water for beginning/junior scuba divers and experienced divers alike with its many dive sites that include cliffs, caverns, reefs, pinnacles and wrecks. Among its magnificent sights include the array of exotic sea life found among the corals, including sponges, sea anemones, parrot fish, angelfish, trumpet, and anenomefish.
The island of Madagascar is full of unique treasures, and its surrounding underwater scenery is strikingly similar, filled with glorious wonders that are hard to find elsewhere. There is so much to discover here, with previously unknown corals and fish beautifully concealed among the dazzling reefs and watery habitats.
Usually when people hear about diving off South Africa’s Cape Coast, they picture diving with great white sharks. However, there is so much more that both the cooler waters of the Cape and the warmer eastern Indian Ocean region offer, ensuring there is definitely something for everyone. Specifically, experienced divers can enjoy the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, one of the world’s premier dive sites, where you can expect to see loggerhead and leatherback turtles, and between May and June, you can experience the famous “Sardine Run” which has been documented by the BBC. In general, the coral and marine life here tends to be distinctive and less seen in classic dive destinations around the world.
The crystal clear, freshwater Lake Malawi is home to millions of spectacularly colorful cichlid fish. Diving here is ideal for beginners, and many people describe their experience diving in Lake Malawi as being like exploring a giant aquarium.