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PEMBA ISLAND SPECIALS

Amazing rates for June, July, November, and early December on the best walls in Africa

Seven nights' budget fullboard accommodation and five days' diving  - packages from 1270 USD

Pay for 4 nights and stay for 7 at Fundu Lagoon one of Africa's top beach lodges - click here

Or combine 7 nights at Fundu Lagoon with 4 nights' safari at Amara Selous and get 3 nights and host of other goodies free here

See the Tanzania page to find out why you should go there

 

Tanzania, Pemba, Zanzibar, and Mafia

Southern Pemba

Tanzania is home to some of the best game-viewing parks in Africa, from the legendary Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, to the lesser lnown marvels of Ruaha, Selous, Tarangire, and Manyara. Mikumi National Park is just four hours from Dar and is excellent for a three-day safari at the beginning or end of a dive trip. Click here to go to the Tanzania safaris page.

Pemba Island has arguably some of the best wall-diving in the world, certainly the best in Africa for variety, in a remote and captivating setting, often with less than 100 foreign visitors on the  island at a given time. Unguja island (also known as Zanzibar island) is the more touristy and better-known destination, with good shallow reefs off Kendwa to the north-west and  Mnemba Atoll to the north-east. Mafia, the most southerly of the three islands, has action-packed dives in the passes when the tide is moving and interesting topography, groupers and plenty of turtles on the east coast. From late October to March, Whale Sharks frequent the west coast and provide an excellent opportunity for snorkelling encounters. 

PEMBA

Big-eye jacks

Flying from Dar-es-Salaam to Stone Town on Unguja (or Zanzibar Island) takes 20 minutes. After a 15-minute break, the 35-minute flight to Pemba yields picture-postcard aerial shots of uninhabited islands and the reefs, before touching down in Chake Chake, Pemba’s biggest town, half-way up the west coast at the end of a long mangrove-lined creek. The airport is a small ramshackle affair, and despite a plethora of attractions including atmospheric ruins, primeval forest, unique bird species, deserted beaches, and some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean, Pemba hosts less than 100 tourists at any given time, sometimes less than 20 in total in the three resorts!

Leaving the aiport, you pass through Chake Chake and its crumbling buildings and stall-filled alleyways. Stop off and take in the fruit and vegetable market, try out the sticky paste made from tamarind, ginger, sugar, nutmeg, and cloves, and watch the grazing hump-necked cows interrupt an impromptu football match in front of the mosque.

Kervan Saray and Swahili Divers aerial Pemba

Kervan Saray Beach and Swahili Divers

In a 4WD minibus it takes around an hour to wend northwards towards the north-west corner of the island.  Leaving the tarmac the last 15 kilometres are on sand tracks through the Ngezi Nature Reserve, a beautiful forest home to flying foxes,  several endemic bird species, and some very friendly people. Having pioneered diving on Pemba in the 90's based in Chake Chake, the owners moved up here in 2008. The well-designed accommodation was built from local materials, and the quarry where the bricks were cut is, well, a stone’s throw away. Food is wholesome and filling, and is locally-sourced and cooked with love (chocolate biscuit cake a speciality). Off the electricity grid, water is warmed by the sun and dispensed by gravity, and a generator runs at night to provide lighting and power to charge batteries. Seven-night, 10-dive "flashpacker" packages start at $980. 7 nights' full board in an en-suite room in season is $1850, including transfers.

Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon Pemba pool and barTo the south, is the luxurious Fundu Lagoon. After a 40-minute transfer to the port of Mkoani, hop aboard a boat for a 10-minute ride to the lodge. The long wooden jetty is impressive, as is the discreet but warm welcome. The rooms are large safari tents under a large thatched roof, with a great en-suite shower room, and a secluded bit of beach for most of the 16 rooms, the more expensive, larger, suites having their own pool too. The sunset views over the infinity pool and across the bay are breath-taking, and the sun setting directly behind the jetty bar and into the ocean surreal.

Fundu Lagoon beach room PembaOn Saturdays, dinner is often served on the beach, an eat-till-you-burst gourmet braai of slipper lobster, tiger prawns, and calamari washed down with excellent French wines. Prices are all-inclusive (excluding champagne) and cost 375 USD per person in low season and 440 USD per person high season for a Hill Side room and 415 USD per person low season, 490 USD  per person in high season for a Beach Front room. Fundu has a number of special offers though: Pay 3 nights, stay 4, pay 5 stay 7 valid all year, and a summer super special of pay 4 stay 7. There is also a combination trip with the beautiful Amara Selous with 3 nights free out of an 11 night trip, plus many extras.

Packages available@ 2740 USD for 7 nights All-Inclusive with 12 dives over six days including full kit hire,  (1st November to 23rd December 2014) and 2900 USD in July, August, September, October  2014

Click here to open the specials as PDFs:

Pay 4 nights stay 7 in July, August, September, October, Novermber and up to 23rd December

Amara Selous and Fundu Lagoon Combination

Fundu Lagoon beach PembaRates include in-house selection of wine, spirits, cocktails, beers, bottled water, soft drinks, juices, tea & coffee Rates include full English breakfast, daily choice of dishes for lunch, afternoon tea and three course dinner including Swahili Night and Beach Barbeque Night on set evenings, unguided mangrove canoe safaris and dhow sunset cruise, shore based snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, traditional hair and henna on Swahili Night and village treks (subject to availability. Excellent scuba diving available, contact us for details.

The marine protected area of Misali island is a 10-minute boat ride away, and is the area predominantly dived by  Fundu Lagoon. DIves start at 110 USD per dive, dropping to 95 USD on a six-dive package. Trips to other dive sites at Uvinje Gap, Kishani Island, and Fundo Gap are subject to a fuel surchage of 15 USD per dive, with a minimum of four divers on the boat. 

Pemba Diving

Njao gap bommy, Pemba, Zanzibar

Walls are everywhere on Pemba. The fringing reefs are close to shore, and the best are in the gaps created by the small outlying islands that run along the west coast.  The coral is fed by the nutrient-rich Pemba channel and is alive with all sorts of wierd and wonderful soft and hard corals and reef fish. It’s not a place for 'big' encounters every dive, but the variety and volume of small to medium-sized species is outstanding, with coral crabs, magnificent partner shrimps, nudibranchs, anthias, morays galore, schools of snapper and trevally,  frequent meetings with Napoleon wrasse and barracudas, and the occasional ray or shark. Many dives are on vertical walls, dropping from the azure surface through cobalts, and beyond into the depths - up to 600 metres straight down in parts. Njao and Fundo Gaps (nowhere near Fundu Lagoon) are stunning with over a dozen dive sites, the long walls at Kishani often have viz in excess of 70 metres, and Uvinje Gap has the teeming (and sometimes challenging) Slobodan's Bunker. All-in-all, Pemba is my favourite place to dive in Africa.

Click on the links below for more information.

Photos from December 2012 part I

Photos from December 2012 part II

Seaweed harvesting gallery

An article about diving the  Zanzibar Archipelago in X-Ray Magazine

An article about diving the  Zanzibar Archipelago in African Diver

An interview with the expert - Marine Biologist and author Dr Ewald Lieske

Pemba videos

 

Fundu Lagoon

MAFIA

Potato Grouper / Bass, Mafia

Mafia island lies 30 minutes south-west of Dar-es-Salaam and has two main attractions:  snorkelling with the seasonal whale sharks off the east coast of Kilidoni from December to March,  and diving on the outer reefs of the west coast and a couple of passes on the edge of Chole Bay. Kinasi Pass has a surprising quantity of fish for a relatively barren area - snappers are plentiful, morays and schools of barracuda are common, and it is rare to not see at least one large grouper per dive here. Of the reefs outside the passes Dindini caves north and south are a long series of overhangs in the rock wall that drops from the reef top at six metres down to the bottom at around 30 metres. Visibility is nearly always over 20 metres here and often more, and the overhangs are favourite haunts of large potato groupers. These cuties can grow up to two metres long and 200 kilos, and often treat divers with curiosity, happily hanging around to have their picture taken and show that they are not disturbed by our presence. There is also good macrolife on the walls, with plenty of whip corals and resident gobies.  The sites down by Juani are covered in soft purple and pink corals, and are excellent places to  encounter turtles.
 

Dhow

Diving is carried out from a traditional wooden dhow powered by outboard engines. Departing after breakfast lunch is often taken on the boat between dives, unless tides dictate an early start in which case a hearty mid-morning snack is the order of the surface interval and late lunch is taken on returning to the lodge.

The lodge has a beautiful pool and beach, thoughtfully appointed rooms, and the food is both plentiful and some of the tastiest around. With only 13 suites spread around the large grounds, it is easy to relax and feel pampered. For those who would like further pampering, there is a spa and massage centre on site with a resident Thai masseuse and masseur.

As well as diving and safaris, Tanzania also has some world-class treks:  two routes up the well-known  and popular (possibly too popular) Mount Kilimanjaro to the roof of Africa at Uhuru peak, some 5895 metres above sea level, and the lower (4566 metres) but steeper Mount Meru. In addtion to all this, we can also organise trips or donkey treks to across the Ngorongoro highlands to Empakai Crater and through the Rift Valley to Lake Natron. Click here for to go to the Tanzanian Safari page.

 

ZANZIBAR AND HISTORICAL STONE TOWN

Zanzibar island also had some good diving spots around Kendwa and Mnemba Atoll, with low cost and mid-range accommodation options making this an excellent choice for the diver on a tighter budget. We have a selection of rooms ranging from 50 to 100 dollars a night. The west coast reefs around Tumbatu island, Hunga, Kichafi, and Hadji have excellent fishlife, Mwana is a bit of a turtle hotspot with multiple sightings on many dives, and Shamzi is home to a number of rarer finds including weedy and Mauritius (aka paddle-flap) scorpionfish and seahorses. There are good photographic opportunites for  wide angle and a plethora of macro subjects. Mmemba Atoll round to the east coast has some drop offs and walls, and Leven Bank out to the north can provide an exhilharating fast drift dive. Click here to go to our Zanzibar page.

December 2012 images here

If you are interested in a bit of history or just want to visit a quite unique city, it is worth stopping off in Stone Town for the architecture and the laid back hustle and bustle. Once the capital of the east African slave and spice trades and ruled by the Sultans of Oman, today Stone Town is a vibrant mix of new and old. Despite the tumble-down apperance of much of the town, there are some exquisite hotels and wonderful aromas and flavours. Rooftop sundown drinks and nibbles at the night food market are a must. Again, there is a range of accommodation available. We also have a seven-night special with 1 night in Stone Town, three in a lodge at the Menai Bay conservation area, a day dhow sailing down to Kizimikazi with lunch, lazing and snorkelling on a deserted island, and three nights in a lodge near Kizimikazi in the south. Contact us for more information or click here.

Click here to open the gallery full screen.

anemone crab on watch
arc eyed hawkfish
baby brittle star
beach
beaches kendwa beach is the longest in the north and is good for a long walk
beach deck
beach deck dining
beach deck 2
beach deck 3
bearded scorpionfish hogwarts 2
bifurcated flatworm
blue spotted stingray
bluefin trevally2
bommie end of the world
central stone town with part of the omani fort on the left from the house of wonders
chelsea gin
chelsea gin 2
children fishing
chromodoris africana
chromodoris geminus
chromodoris lochi on lattice coral
coral crab
coral whip goby and diver
coral whip goby manta reef
crab in barrel sponge
dakota dc3 first flown in 1943 and active on d day 1
dar fish market panorama
devil ray
dhow
dhow 2
diver at deep freeze
dolphin silhouette
durban dancing shrimp and eel
fishing dhow in a channel
fishing net caught on the reef becomes the reef
fishing pirogues
flatworm
forodhani gardens deserted in daylight become a hive of activity in the evenings with the food market
free swimming linda s flatworm
fundo gap
green turtle
gyerce nigricans
hawksbill
hawksbill 2
healthy reefs are everywhere
healthy reefs 1
healthy reefs 2
kids at mkia wa ngombe
kinasi lodge 4
kinasi lodge 5
ksb
ksb from the air
leaffish 1
leaffish 2
magnificent anemone pemba
magnificent anemone with dominoes copy
magnificent partnershrimp 1
marbled cleaner shrimp
matemwe beach village mnemba atoll in bkgrd 4
mauritius scorpionfish
mnemba atoll aerial 3
mnemba atoll from the dakota unguja in background
moray and durban dancing shrimps
new bar and reataurant
ngalaua
njao gap
nudibranch
nudibranch 2
octopus colour change after
omani fort stone town 1
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
pemba aerials 1
pemba aerials 2
pemba island tanzania
pool
pool area
porcelain crab 1
porcelain crab 2
potato bass
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
potato grouper mafia 5 2
rock lobster close up
room interior
room interior
room ksb
rose marie with manta genat
school of trevally
seasonal whale sharks off mafia 1
seasonal whale sharks off mafia 2
skunk anemonefish
soft corals
southern pemba low tide
southern pemba from the air looking west
spinner dolphins warming up for a show
spotfin lionfish
sunset acacias 2
sunset kervan saray beach
surface intervals are tough
surface interval 2
swimming flatworm
tiny juvenile anemonefish
trigger wall
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vuma wimbi beach 26
walls are everywhere on pemba
west coast zanzibar view 2
zanair cessna
zanzibar archipelago
   

 

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