Tanzania is in East Africa and bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean. And where exactly is that?
It has massive game parks, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater; and the diving doesn't disappoint either; remote and little visited. It is busier in the north but relatively undiscovered in the south and offers a range of diving experiences.
Diving on Pemba can be divided into two halves: the west side and east side The reefs on the west side are more sheltered and pretty, and home to large numbers of reef fish. The east of the island has some phenomenal drift diving due to its exposed coastline and consequently you get the opportunity of seeing big game fish such as tuna and giant trevally in large shoals and hammerhead sharks.
Zanzibar, although techically part of Tanzania, is featured separately although dive centres in Zanzibar are also listed here, in Tanzania.
[Thanks to Oliver Payne for the photograph]
- In 2006, the Pemba Channel Conservation Association (PECCA) was set up to protect the entire western coast of Pemba island. Offshore sites are drift dives as the oceanic current never stops flowing.
- Mafia Island - pristine coral and marine life protected inside the Mafia Island Marine Park. See whale sharks from November to January. Home to at least two greatly endangered species; the docile dugong (manatee or sea cow) is still thought to find refuge cruising the seagrass between Mafia and the Rufiji River Delta, and the small islands around the archipelago remain a popular breeding ground for leatherback and green turtles.
- The Songo Songo Archipelago for fabulous reefs and little tourism.
- Liveaboards are a must for any diver seriously wanting to explore the sites around Pemba Island.
- The seas can be unpredictable in the Pemba Channel affecting visibility.
- If you are unfit, not a strong swimmer or not confident about diving in 4 knot currents, think twice before getting in Pemba's eastern waters.
- Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country below 1800m. Prevention recommended.
- BE AWARE: Lariam (mefloquine) is an anti-malarial drug used in regions of the world where chloroquine resistant falciparum malaria is prevalent. e.g. East Africa, South East Asia. Possible side effects of lariam such as dizziness, blurred vision and a disturbed sense of balance are common and could cause problems for divers. These effects can often imitate or even worsen the symptoms of DCI. There could also be confusion between the side effects of lariam and the symptoms of DCI or nitrogen narcosis resulting in a misleading diagnosis.
- Inoculations: Typhoid, hepatitis A, diphtheria, yellow fever. Take advice before travelling.
|Language:||Swahili but English widely spoken|
|Climate:||Tropical along the coast, temperate in the highlands|
|Natural hazards:||Flooding on the central plateau in the rainy season; drought|
|Diving season:||Year round, best October to March|
|Water temperature:||28C/82FC (Jan-March)|