Woman Wearing Snorkeling Masks Running into a Sea for some Zanzibar Snorkeling fun.

Zanzibar Snorkeling Guide: Best Spots and Tours (2024)

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Last Updated on: 12th April 2024, 03:28 pm

Are you ready to dive into an underwater paradise?

Zanzibar, with its crystal clear blue waters and vibrant marine life, offers an incredible snorkeling experience like no other.

But with so many Zanzibar snorkeling spots and tours to choose from, where should you start?

We visit Zanzibar all the time and love snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters. Whether we book a Zanzibar snorkeling tour or just snorkel right from the beach, we always make time for this water activity while on the island.

Let us be your guide to the best snorkeling spots and tours in Zanzibar in 2024, ensuring that you make the most of your underwater adventure.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the best snorkeling spots in Zanzibar, from Mnemba Island’s pristine coral reefs to Nakupenda Sandbank’s unique shallow waters.
  • Explore Zanzibar’s beautiful snorkeling beaches, such as Nungwi Beach and Pingwe Beach, offering incredible underwater landscapes just steps away from the shore.
  • Embark on snorkeling tours in Zanzibar, guided by experienced professionals who will take you to the most scenic and vibrant underwater locations.
  • Plan your snorkeling adventure in Zanzibar during the right season to ensure optimal visibility and weather conditions.
  • Enjoy affordable snorkeling packages in Zanzibar, making this unforgettable experience accessible to everyone.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of them I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, which allows me to keep this blog up and running!

Best Zanzibar Snorkeling Spots

Zanzibar is home to some incredible snorkeling spots that offer stunning underwater landscapes and abundant marine life.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, there are snorkeling destinations in Zanzibar to suit every level of expertise.

Here are some of the best Zanzibar snorkeling spots that you should not miss:

Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island is a paradise for snorkelers. Located off the northeast coast of Zanzibar, this private island is known for its pristine coral reefs and vibrant marine ecosystem.

As you explore the clear waters, you will be greeted by an array of colorful fish species, including parrotfish, lionfish, and angelfish.

Nakupenda Sandbank

Nakupenda Sandbank is a unique snorkeling spot in Zanzibar. This sandbank is surrounded by shallow turquoise waters, making it the perfect place for snorkeling enthusiasts.

Snorkel along the shallow coral patches and discover a diverse range of marine life, including sea turtles, rays, and tropical fish.

Prison Island (Changuu Island)

Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, is a popular destination for snorkeling. Here, you can snorkel alongside giant tortoises and explore the vibrant coral reefs.

Keep an eye out for colorful coral formations, clownfish, and moray eels as you dive into the crystal-clear waters.

Traditional Zanzibari dhows arriving at Prison Island one of the best Zanzibar snorkeling spots.

Pemba Island

Pemba Island is a hidden gem for snorkelers seeking untouched coral reefs and diverse marine life. Located to the north of Zanzibar, this island offers an extraordinary snorkeling experience.

Immerse yourself in the underwater wonderland and encounter hawksbill turtles, reef sharks, and schools of tropical fish.

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a marine protected area in Zanzibar that offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. Explore the thriving coral reefs and witness the vibrant colors of the coral gardens.

With over 400 species of fish and other marine creatures, including seahorses and octopuses, this park is a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts.

Tumbatu Island

Tumbatu Island is a hidden gem that offers fantastic snorkeling experiences. Dive into the small coral gardens and be amazed by the variety of marine life you will encounter.

Discover colorful reef fish, sea cucumbers, and even the occasional turtle as you explore the underwater world surrounding Tumbatu Island.

The Blue Lagoon

The protected natural Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular Zanzibar snorkeling destinations. It’s home to a wide variety of fish and the finest coral, making it a great choice for snorkeling.

Snorkeling here is a year-round event. Plus, your boat will pass by the famous Zanzibar Rock Restaurant on your way to the lagoon.

The Rock Restaurant in Zanzibar at low tide with boats in the distance.
Snorkeling SpotLocationHighlights
Mnemba IslandNortheast coast of ZanzibarPristine coral reefs, colorful fish species
Nakupenda SandbankSurrounded by shallow turquoise watersUnique snorkeling experience, sea turtles, rays, tropical fish
Prison IslandOff the coast of Stone TownSnorkel with giant tortoises, vibrant coral reefs
Pemba IslandLocated to the north of ZanzibarUntouched coral reefs, diverse marine life
Chumbe Island Coral ParkOff the coast of ZanzibarMarine protected area, thriving coral reefs, seahorses, octopuses
Tumbatu IslandNorthwest coast of ZanzibarHidden gem, small coral gardens, diverse marine life
The Blue LagoonDepart from Paje Beach (past the Rock Restaurant)Not a lagoon but crystal clear ocean water, incredible seascape

Best Zanzibar Snorkeling Beaches

Zanzibar is renowned for its stunning beaches, and many of them offer great snorkeling opportunities right from the shore.

Yup, you can snorkel straight from the beach in Zanzibar and it’s an option we love to choose if we don’t want to go on a half or full-day tour.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, these beaches provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable underwater adventure.

Nungwi Beach

Nungwi Beach is one of the best beaches in Zanzibar for snorkeling. It’s sandy drop-off and small coral patches create an ideal environment to discover vibrant marine life.

Snorkelers can explore the crystal clear blue waters and encounter a variety of colorful fish species.

One of the best Zanzibar snorkeling spots is Nungwi Beach.
We loved snorkeling at Nungwi Beach – just make sure to wear water shoes!

Pingwe Beach

Pingwe Beach is another popular spot that offers excellent snorkeling straight from the shore. With its shallow waters and abundant reef fish, this beach provides an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with the underwater world.

Snorkelers can swim among the vibrant coral formations and observe the diverse marine ecosystem.

Paje Beach

Known for its beautiful coral gardens, Paje Beach is a favorite among snorkeling enthusiasts. The clear waters and rich marine biodiversity make it an ideal spot for snorkelers of all levels.

Explore the stunning underwater landscape, discover hidden treasures, and witness the colorful marine life that calls this beach home.

Jambiani Beach

Jambiani Beach is another must-visit snorkeling destination in Zanzibar. Its picturesque coastline is complemented by thriving coral reefs and an abundance of marine species.

Snorkelers can delve into the turquoise waters and witness the beauty of diverse marine life, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling enthusiasts.

A woman swimming in the ocean at Jambiani Beach which is one of the best Zanzibar snorkeling spots.
I loved swimming and snorkeling on the east coast of Zanzibar.

Best Zanzibar Snorkeling Tours

If you want to explore the best snorkeling spots in Zanzibar with the guidance of experienced professionals, there are plenty of snorkeling tours available.

These tours take you to the most scenic and vibrant underwater locations, allowing you to witness the beauty of Zanzibar’s coral reefs and diverse marine ecosystems.

Whether you prefer full-day tours or customized snorkeling trips, there are options to suit every preference and budget.

Here are our favorite Zanzibar snorkeling tours:

1. Snorkeling to Tumbatu with a Private Boat

Embark on a private boat tour to the pristine Tumbatu Island, one of Zanzibar’s hidden gems where the coral reefs flourish and marine life thrives.

This exclusive snorkeling adventure offers a personal encounter with the island’s vibrant underwater ecosystem.

Highlights of the Tour:

  • Private Snorkeling Experience: Enjoy a 2.5-hour journey with personalized attention.
  • Vibrant Marine Life: Spot colorful fishes, turtles, and other sea creatures amidst the coral gardens.
  • Comfort and Convenience: Includes pick-up service from Nungwi, snorkeling gear, fruits, water, and life jackets.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Tours are available from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, allowing you to choose the best time for your adventure.

Book Your Adventure: The tour is priced at US$ 60 per person, with the option to cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund. 

2. Snorkeling Zanzibar’s Mnemba Island

Discover the underwater marvels of Zanzibar with a snorkeling adventure around the stunning Mnemba Island.

Renowned for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, this tour promises an unforgettable experience.

Tour Highlights:

  • Snorkeling Paradise: Explore the rich coral reefs teeming with tropical fish and possibly encounter dolphins.
  • Exclusive Experience: Enjoy the serenity of Mnemba Island, a private and conserved area perfect for marine life observation.
  • All-Inclusive Comfort: The tour includes snorkeling equipment, tropical fruits, seafood BBQ lunch, and all government fees.
  • Convenient Access: Hotel pick-up and drop-off are available for an additional charge, ensuring a hassle-free experience.
  • Flexible Pricing: Rates start at $49 per person, with discounts for larger groups.

Reserve Your Spot: Book your snorkeling tour to Mnemba Island today and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Zanzibar’s aquatic world.

An aerial view of a beach in Zanzibar with a resort in the background and boats taking passengers to Zanzibar snorkeling spots.

3. Blue Lagoon Snorkeling Half Day Tour

Join a breathtaking snorkeling adventure in Zanzibar’s Blue Lagoon, a snorkeler’s paradise with a rich tapestry of marine life.

This half-day tour offers an intimate glimpse into the underwater world, where colorful corals and a variety of fish await.

Tour Highlights:

  • Vibrant Marine Life: Encounter leaf fish, mantis shrimps, octopus, and the highest starfish population in Zanzibar.
  • Local Experience: Travel in a traditional wooden boat for an authentic snorkeling adventure.
  • All-Inclusive: The tour includes an English-speaking guide, snorkeling equipment, tropical fruits, drinking water, and all government fees.
  • Flexible Pricing: Rates start at $29 per person, with discounts available for larger groups.

Book Your Adventure: Secure your spot on this exclusive snorkeling tour and experience the wonders of the Blue Lagoon.

4. Unforgettable Safari Blue Sea Adventure

Set sail from Fumba Village and dive into the crystal-clear waters of Zanzibar’s Minai Bay. The Safari Blue Sea Adventure offers a full day of snorkeling, swimming, and island exploration.

Discover vibrant coral reefs, playful dolphins, and the untouched beauty of the islets.

Experience Highlights:

  • Snorkel in Exquisite Waters: Snorkel along the rich coral reefs and witness the diverse marine life of Zanzibar.
  • Luxurious Seafood Buffet: Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch on Kwale Island, featuring calamari, grilled fish, and tropical fruits.
  • Traditional Dhow Sailing: Embrace the local culture with a sail on a traditional dhow boat.
  • Comprehensive Inclusions: The tour covers hotel pick-up and drop-off, a professional local guide, and all necessary snorkeling gear.

Booking Information: The tour is available for $200 per person, with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance.

Zanzibar Snorkeling Map

Zanzibar Snorkeling FAQs

Does Zanzibar have good snorkeling?

Yes, Zanzibar is renowned for its spectacular snorkeling opportunities, with crystal-clear waters teeming with vibrant marine life and colorful coral reefs waiting to be explored.

How much is snorkeling in Zanzibar?

The cost of snorkeling in Zanzibar can vary depending on factors such as the tour operator, the duration of the excursion, and the specific location. On average, expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 for a snorkeling trip in Zanzibar.

Are there coral reefs in Zanzibar?

Yes, Zanzibar boasts beautiful coral reefs along its coastline, offering snorkelers the chance to marvel at the stunning underwater ecosystems and encounter a diverse array of marine species.

Which side of Zanzibar is best for snorkeling?

The northeastern coast of Zanzibar, particularly around Mnemba Atoll and the surrounding area, is renowned for its exceptional snorkeling spots. Here, you’ll find pristine coral reefs, clear waters, and an abundance of marine life.


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Zanzibar Snorkeling: Final Thoughts

Snorkeling in Zanzibar is an unforgettable experience that allows you to connect with the natural wonders of the underwater world.

Whether you choose to explore the best snorkeling spots independently or opt for a guided tour, Zanzibar promises to leave you in awe of its underwater beauty.

So pack your snorkeling gear, dive into the crystal-clear waters of Zanzibar, and embark on an adventure that will create memories to last a lifetime.

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