Diving in Zanzibar
Concierge.com's insider take:
Zanzibar's dive scene is striking and diverse, from sunken ships off the coast of Stone Town to dramatic, plunging walls ringing Pemba and colorful coral gardens surrounding idyllic Mnemba. Even if you can't swim, dive operators will be happy to outfit you with a life jacket and snorkel to explore the islands' aquatic wonders.
Diving is possible throughout the year in Zanzibar, though it's not always ideal. The strong monsoon winds that dictate weather patterns around the islands mean conditions can vary dramatically. Generally speaking, September through November offers the calmest seas, though conditions are typically good from July into March. Fierce storms and notoriously erratic weather make the monsoon season from late March until June the worst time for diving.
With five dive centers around the island, One Ocean is Zanzibar's leading dive specialist, offering a wide range of trips across the archipelago (255-24-223-8374; www.zanzibaroneocean.com). If you're staying at any of the exclusive lodges on neighboring islands such as Mnemba, Chumbe, or Fundu Lagoon, you'll not only have a first-rate dive center on the premises but you'll be just minutes away from some of Zanzibar's best dive sites. Long transfer times make visits to the more remote sites prohibitive from Stone Town; your best bet is to explore the nearby wrecks and coral reefs while based in town, then move on to the beach resorts to do some serious diving.