Scuba Diving and Snorkelling
Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline contains some of the world’s finest coral reefs and offers wonderfully varied diving from the warm tropical waters around northern Mozambique to the cooler seas off South Africa’s Cape coast. The vast majority of coastal lodges we use have dive centres on site and offer anything from introductory dives to advanced certification.
Among the team at Aardvark Victoria, John, Alice and Jo are keen scuba divers and have between them spent many hours on underwater safaris exploring the the African seas. We recommend only dive operations run to the highest international standards and monitor each operation to be sure that it will offer you a good diving experience and complete security.
Several marine parks and reserves line the coast of Kenya, continuing down to even better diving around Zanzibar and Tanzania’s offshore islands. Mozambique and the Seychelles offer truly world-class dive sites, while Mauritius is a wonderful destination for first time divers. Madagascar’s diving is superb with all sorts of unusual sightings possible. South Africa offers tropical waters off northern KwaZulu-Natal and cold-water diving, including the chance to dive with great whites and whales, off its southern coast. Finally, some of the most rewarding diving is in freshwater, in Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika. Lake Malawi in particular, with its range of colourful freshwater species and underwater rock formations, is a revelation to even the most experienced divers.
The majority of the diving in Africa is boat based although we can recommend a smaller number of shore-entry dive sites. All these waters can be explored to a limited extent with a simple mask and snorkel, and all the lodges we feature have the equipment on hand to let you explore at your own pace.
The idyllic islands off Tanzania’s coast offer a rich variety of dive sites with plenty of opportunity to spot some of the bigger fish species. Zanzibar’s coral reefs host abundant marine life; there is exciting wall diving off Pemba, and the clear waters around Mafia provide stunning encounters with thousands of tiny tropical fish. Away from the coast Lake Tanganyika offers excellent freshwater cichlid diving.
The marine parks scattered along Kenya’s southern coastline provide some spectacular diving with regular sightings of reef sharks, turtles and occasionally dolphins amongst the stunning coral gardens.
Madagascar underwater is similar to Madagascar above ground – full of glorious treasures peculiar to this unique island. There is much left to discover here with previously unknown corals and fish concealed amid the dazzling reefs and watery habitats.
Most will have heard about diving with the great white sharks off South Africa’s Cape coast, but diving here offers so much more than this. With the cooler waters of the Cape to the warmer Indian Ocean stretching up the east coast, there is something for everyone. For more experienced divers the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park provides one of the world’s premier dive sites and once through the exciting surf close to shore you can expect to see loggerhead and leatherback turtles, and between May and June, the famous sardine run which has been documented by the BBC. In general, the coral and marine life here tends not to be seen in some of the more classic dive destinations around the world.
The tropical waters and stunning islands off Mozambique’s coastline provide some exceptional underwater viewing with superb drift dives over walls and pristine reefs. There is a good chance of seeing turtles, whales, bat fish, Napoleon wrasse and nudibranchs. Vamizi Island in northern Mozambique is regularly voted one of the top ten dive sites in the world and the whole of northern Mozambique provides excellent snorkelling from the beach.
Bountiful coral reefs and gardens, and plenty of marine life make the Seychelles a great destination for beginners and experienced dives alike. Visitors can expect to see green sea turtles, reef fish, and several shark species. Situated on the Indian Ocean Bank you also get all the pelagic fish including tuna and barracuda. Diving around the outer islands offers the chance to investigate steep walls and underwater canyons, while the inner islands have both coral and granite reefs – which take on amazing form under the water - to explore.
The coral reef that extends almost the entire way around the island ensures excellent protected water for scuba divers which makes Mauritius perfect for the recreational diver. The many dive sites around Mauritius include cliffs, caverns, reefs, pinnacles and wrecks. Among the exotic fish found among the corals, sponges and sea anemones are parrot fish, angelfish, trumpet and anenomefish. Mauritius is a great place for experienced divers but also for beginners or new/junior divers wanting to try the sport for the first time.
Crystal clear and fresh water Lake Malawi is home to millions of spectacularly colourful cichlid fish. Diving here has been likened to exploring a giant aquarium and is ideal for beginners.