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Mnemba Atoll

Dive Sites

Mnemba Atoll is easily reached from Matemwe, 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


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 this Mnemba dive site suitable for snorkellers too. For the diver with a sharp eye, pipe fish, leaf fish and nudibranchs can be found.

Zanzibar Butterflyfish
Zanzibar giant frogfish


Level: beginner-intermediate
Depth: 5-20 m

This is a great reef for all experience levels; it starts in 5 m of water at Mnemba's 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 of Mnemba Atoll.

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. With a bit of luck, a turtle can be spotted there. The dive usually ends near the southern tip of Mnemba, where large schools of chubs are normally present, and where giant blue fin trevally come out of the blue to hunt on the reef.

Mnemba - 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, giant trevallies, unicorn and trigger fish 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 occasionally 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 of Mnemba.

Mnemba corals
Barracuda school

Big Wall

Level: advanced-expert
Depth: 12-50 m

Warning: this dive site at Mnemba Atoll 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 at Mnemba Atoll 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