Stone Town

Dive Sites

Scuba diving and snorkelling with One Ocean Stone Town reflects the vibrant, busy hustle and bustle you find in the small streets of Stone Town.

Here, coral grows in huge amounts: coral-gardens, long plunging walls, underwater mountains and wrecks interchange with each other, forming a haven for the many different kind of fish who live here.

The big variety of both soft and hard corals makes any scuba dive in the Stone Town area a feast. Stag-horn, table, whip and brain coral as well as barrel sponges and giant sea fans, which wave lazily in the current, can all be found in great quantities.

Many sea-urchins and starfish litter the sandy bottom, giving the impression of a colourful minefield. Clear blue waters and a white sandy bottom complete the picture.

The coral reefs around Stone Town are full of critter life. Macro-lovers with keen eyes (which our guides are) may find seahorses, cuttle-fish, leaf fish, frog fish, ghost-pipefish and many different kind of shrimp

Stone Town dive sites

Bawe Reef

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-18 m

The island Bawe just off the coast of Stone Town, is our go-to reef. We have 3 dive sites around the island. One is on the North side and is a continuous coral wall teeming with life. Cuttle-fish, moray eels and seahorses hide between the many blue sponges, while rainbow runners and longfin batfish cruise by in the blue. Blue spotted stingrays and torpedo rays litter the sandy bottom. On the South side, a long shallow reef stretches the whole side of the island, ideal for snorkellers and beginner divers. Deeper big coral bommies, which are home to some massive Titan trigger fish, interchange with sandy patches on which huge barrel sponges grow. Stingrays, king fish and thornback box fish can all be found here but the stars of the show are definitely the turtles who live here. Both Green and Hawksbill turtles can regularly be seen here.

Bawe island coral wall
School of fish Stone Town

Pange Reef

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-22 m

This is one of our absolute favourite dive sites. On a gently sloping bottom, between beautiful coral formations and big fans, moray eels, lion fish and rays can be spotted. Angel fish, crocodile fish, octopuses, nudibranchs etc. liven the place up.

This is also our favourite night dive spot. At night the corals transform and the most amazing critter life wakes up. Hundreds of shrimps, crabs and eels come out to hunt, while squids flash their brilliant colours in the dark waters.

Aquarium

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-24 m

Aquarium is a gentle sloping coral wall, ranging in depth from 10 to 24 m. On the reef you can see gobies, trumpet fish, lion fish and also lobsters lazily waving their antennas. In the blue, silver sweetlips, large schools of fusiliers and bigmouth mackerels can be found.

Lionfish at Mnemba
Indian walkman Mnemba

Two Stones

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-24 m

This dive site, close to the Pange sand bank, is a great place to find every member of the scorpionfish family. We have seen bearded and devil scorpionfish, stone fish as well as many different kinds of lionfish. These two undersea mountains channel the water so there is always some current running which makes it a perfect spot for drift dives. Look for titan trigger fish, blue spotted stingrays and the elusive whip coral shrimp. Some days Two Stones gets visited by huge schools of jacks and anchovies. Great fun!

Pinnacles

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 10-16 m

Pinnacles boasts the incredible coral topography that has made Stone Town’s diving famous. Ranging from 10 to 16 m, its pillars, overhangs and arches were built to impress! It’s home to a fantastic variety of coral reef fish like dusky sweepers, fusiliers and network pipefish. Turtles, guitar fish and many different kinds of nudibranchs can be found on a lucky day.

Coral pinnacle

Wrecks

Dive Sites

wreck diving stone town

The Great Northern

Level: beginner
Depth: 4-12 m

A British cable-laying ship, The Great Northern was built in 1870 and sank on New Year’s Eve in 1902. She now rests in the sand between 4 and 12 m and is a magnificent artificial reef. The shallow depth means even snorkellers and beginner divers can experience the beauty of this wreck. Macro-lovers will enjoy the many species of shrimps and pipefish. The coral surrounding The Great Northern is some of the best in Zanzibar and will impress anyone. Just watch out for the anemone fish, who fiercely defend their homes.

The Royal Navy Lighter

Level: advanced
Depth: 30 m

It is a purposely sunk ship that lays just off Bawe Island and is covered in whip corals and surrounded by big schools of snappers. Due to its depth, it is a great spot for experienced divers and Advanced Open Water students.

deep wreck diving stone town

Mnemba Atoll

Dive Sites

Mnemba Atoll is easily reached from Matemwe and Kiwengwa, the reef of this small atoll is probably the most popular diving area in the whole of Tanzania.

Many take advantage of the beauty of Mnemba and of its shallow but rich coral reef. Mnemba also has a relatively undiscovered side, with excellent dives at considerable depths and incredible water clarity for good photography.

There are numerous dive sites all around the island, with visibility often in excess of 20 metres.

Mnemba dive sites

Kichwani

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 2-30 m

A gentle sloping wall covered in soft corals. The reef starts at 2 m and goes down to 30 m, creating a beautiful coral wall. Kichwani is home to many schools of reef fish in a myriad of colours, which makes the site suitable for snorkellers too. For the diver with a sharp eye, ghost pipe fish, leaf fish and nudibranchs can be found.

Zanzibar Butterflyfish
Zanzibar giant frogfish

Wattabomi

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-20 m

This is a great reef for all experience levels; it starts in 5 m of water at Moray Eel City, which is covered in lion fish, scorpion fish, moray eels and darting inquisitive anthias. This site has a gentle slope which helps the diver decide which depth suits their experience. Wattabomi is a puzzle of coral blocks which are home to frog fish, the Indian walkman, stone fish and many other reef fish. Snow capped anemone shrimps, porcelain crabs and many different nudibranchs can be spotted there.

The Small Wall

Level: intermediate-advanced
Depth: 5-40 m

This is a great drift dive for the more experienced diver. The reef starts shallow and slopes down to 30 m, where it drops down vertically to 45-50 m. Several Napoleon wrasses live in this area, and sometimes white tip reef sharks can be found on the bottom. Sting rays, eels and scorpion fish can be spotted on the shallower part of the reef. The endemic and elusive Zanzibar butterfly fish can sometimes be seen in this area.

Small fish at Mnemba
Green Turtle at Mnemba

Turtle Reef

Level: intermediate-advanced
Depth: 5-30 m

Another great drift dive with a sloping reef leading onto coral blocks surrounded by large schools of fish feeding in the current. A resident turtle can often be spotted there. The dive usually ends near the southern tip of the atoll, where large schools of chubs are normally present, and where giant blue fin trevally come out of the blue to hunt on the reef.

Aquarium

Level: intermediate-advanced
Depth: 12-25 m

There is usually a slight current at this site and it is best dived in drift. Long strips of hard coral outcrops are surrounded by sand. Surgeon fish, moorish idols, parrot fish, groupers, green turtles and occasionally juvenile white tip reef sharks frequent this reef. Large numbers of crescent tail big eyes drift above the hundreds of garden eels just off the reef.

Batfish school
Spanish dancer

Grouper’s Rock

Level: intermediate-advanced
Depth: 12-25 m

Starting at 12 m a large coral formation houses plenty of tropical fish and several moray eels, while further deep there are several grouper’s caves where reef sharks can be found too. In season, spanish dancers can be spotted sleeping on the white sands along with sometimes very active nudibranchs on the beautiful coral gardens.

Sand Banks

Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-15 m

This relaxing dive is perfect for a second shallow dive after a deep first dive. Beautiful coral gardens spread out from 8 to 16 m. Hard and soft corals blend gracefully in the mild current, offering shelter to a wide variety of butterfly fish, puffer fish and sweet lips. Large schools of yellow banded snappers, big eyed trevally jacks and bat fish are often found in this area.

Mnemba corals
Barracuda school

Big Wall

Level: advanced-expert
Depth: 12-50 m

Warning: this dive site can only be dived with very calm seas with groups of advanced repeater divers.

We usually drop in blue water, and after a short swim arrive to the wall itself. The top of the wall starts at 40-50 m, and drops to 80-90 m. When the currents are favourable, large schools of fish can be found here (barracudas, bigeye trevally jacks), as well as some white tip reef sharks, black tip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasses. The bottom, covered in large barrel sponges and long whip corals, then slopes up to a shallow reef around 14 m, perfect to finish the dive.

Jack Fish

Level: advanced-expert
Depth: 10-50 m

Warning: this dive site can only be dived with very calm seas with groups of advanced repeater divers.

This site starts on a beautiful shallower reef full of vibrant hard corals and colourful reef fish like butterfly fish and triggerfish. The wall starts abruptly around 18 m and drops to around 50 m. Well placed on the wall are beautiful pristine whip corals rarely found in such good health as well as many small pockets in the wall hiding communities of reef fish, lobsters and moray eels. Large fish can also be seen in the blue and below you, like black tip sharks, white tip sharks, large groupers and turtles if you are fortunate.

Spiral whip coral