The vast African continent includes some of the world’s most iconic scuba diving adventures. 38 of Africa’s countries have a coastline and the continent offers a huge diversity of diving due to it being bordered by the Indian Ocean in the East and Southeast, the Red Sea in the Northeast, the Mediterranean in the North and the Atlantic Ocean in the West and Southwest.
What better way to spend a holiday than discovering the incredible wildlife of Africa above and below the water? From stunning coral fringed islands to incredible shark encounters, Africa offers some of the finest dive travel adventures worldwide. Read on for a few of our favourites below…
Haliotis – São Vicente, Cape Verde
Cape Verde is an underestimated diving area on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean that will surprise you with such an incredible biodiversity and quantity of life that it seems as if you are in an aquarium!
From colorful fish shoals, huge stingrays, sea turtles, crazy camouflaged frogfishes to the frequently spotted sharks and even mantas rays, combined with warm waters, good visibility and a huge variety of dive spots, it makes the diving here indescribable!
Haliotis dive center is situated in Hotel Oasis Porto Grande – a 4 star Hotel in the center of Mindelo on São Vicente, the most cultural island of Cape Verde where music, art and a party atmosphere is present at every corner.
We offer daily diving and snorkeling trips, snorkeling with sea turtles, try dives and PADI courses all year around.
We offer an unbeatable combination of quality equipment for renting, nice facilities, modern rib boat with two engines to guarantee safety, and a professional and dynamic team of PADI Instructors and Divemasters that will do everything to provide the best experience ever. Always with safety and fun as the main goal, which will make your stay in São Vicente unforgettable!
Wining and Diving – South Africa
South Africa’s coastline is wild and rugged and has some of the best marine encounters and diving in the world! It is also home to some superb vineyards and so this is a top destination for Wining & Diving! If you have enough time, then try to fit in several destinations on a tour; take in the Sardine Run, go Great White Shark cage diving, snorkel with Blue and Mako Sharks, try to find Sevengill Sharks in the kelp forest, meet the raggies and oceanic shark species near Aliwal Shoal and make sure you dive with the Cape Fur Seals just down the road from Cape Town…..
Ocean Tribe – Diani Beach, Kenya
Ocean Tribe offers scuba diving trips and PADI diving courses in Diani Beach, Kenya. Local diving includes fantastic coral reefs and wrecks, all located within a 15 minute boat ride of the dive centre. In addition to standard reef life, Diani is famous for numerous green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles plus guitar rays, and between December and April, chances to see whale sharks and manta rays. Consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the world, Diani is a must see for divers combined with an African safari trip.
For divers searching for the land and underwater adventure of a lifetime, Ocean Tribe offer bespoke dive and African land safari trips for the chance to see some of the World-famous wildlife. Including hotels and lodge accommodation, dives and a few days in the savannah viewing the spectacle of Kenya’s game followed by the underwater world we know and love, this is not to be missed!
St Helena – The Secret is Out!
St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world, often referred to as the Secret of the South Atlantic, where it lies 1,200 miles off Namibia and 2,500 miles off Brazil. How we got to visit this incredible island is a story in itself…..
Ocean Spirit Diving – Pereybere, Mauritius
In the centre of the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is on the largely unexplored Mascarene plateau, and only 9% of this paradise has been charted by divers. An independent state which was previously a British colony, Mauritius is an English, French and Creole-speaking Island renowned for its British efficiency, elegant French flair and Creole exuberance, tempered with gentle Hindu harmony.
Sharks circle year-round in the caverns under the Northern Islands and we dive in crystal clear clean water with 80m viz. In winter, seasonal up-wellings bring plankton and the viz can drop to 20m, and the ocean is full of shoaling fish, whales and dolphins. Endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles are here year-round.
Ocean Spirit is a PADI 5 Star Diving Centre and the only Project Aware Conservation Green Star centre in Pereybere, Mauritius, offering Shark diving, Wreck diving, dramatic drop offs and drifts, exquisite corals, rare macro and abundant marine life in a pollution free pristine environment.
Diving is all about socializing and making new friends, and at Ocean Spirit we make sure you will do exactly that. Our dive masters and instructors love diving, they know their fish and they share their passion. Beach barbecues, lunches and de-briefs mean that you will make new friends from all over the world.
Diving the Wrecks of Mauritius
Over 480 ships have been wrecked off the coast of Mauritius over the last 400 years. Most of these wrecks are within easy reach of the dive centres in the North, and a Safari trip to Coin de Mire makes a great day’s diving…..
Octopus Divers – Praslin Island, Seychelles
Diving center located in Praslin, Seychelles, we offer daily diving trips, intro dives and Padi courses (from Scuba Diver up to Instructor).
Mention ‘Scubaverse’ when booking to receive the following special offer: Single Dive EUR 50 per person and Twin Tank Dive EUR 100 per person.
Mantas and Whale Sharks gain protection in Mozambique
After 20 years of research and lobbying efforts, the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF) is thrilled to announce a major legislative victory for ocean life in Mozambique. A new commercial fishing law enacts sweeping protections for several threatened species, including whale sharks, manta rays, and all mobula species…..
Fun Divers Zanzibar – Nungwi, Zanzibar
Fun Divers Zanzibar is the local expert for scuba diving and the only locally owned dive operation in Zanzibar. Our team of friendly Zanzibari grew up in the fishing village of Nungwi and previously experienced the reefs around northern Zanzibar as local fishermen for many years. As a PADI Dive Resort and a Divers Alert Network Industry Partner, we value our customers dive safety and are committed to professional dive training.
The marine reserves of Zanzibar Island (Unguja) offer a huge choice of sites to explore, and the variety of wall and reef dives suit every level of diver qualification. Common marine life sightings are dolphins, sea turtles, tropical reef fish, a large variety of macro marine life and extraordinary sea creatures. Learn why March to the end of May is the ultimate diving season around Zanzibar Island’s north coast.
Fun Divers Zanzibar arrange daily excursions to the best dive sites of Zanzibar Island, which can be reached in 5 to 45 minutes from the base at Nungwi Beach. Diving is guided only in small groups to allow an exclusive and personalised underwater experience. Quality branded dive gear from Scubapro and Mares is provided for hire for free.
Zanzibar Scuba Special
Local PADI Dive Resort Fun Divers Zanzibar is offering a 20% discount on pre-booking dive packages, try diving, scuba diving courses and snorkeling for February until the end of July 2022. Send your booking enquiry by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
All about Sharklife
There is nothing quite like seeing an apex predator in the wild and divers are very fortunate to have the privilege to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most striking predators. South Africa is home to a great number of shark species that attract thousands of tourists every year. Great Whites, Tigers and Bull sharks are just some examples of over 100 different shark species living in the oceans around the South African coastline…..
St Helena National Trust launch Whale Shark ID App
Whale sharks are found in tropical oceans all over the world. In St Helena’s Island’s Marine Protected Area, (nearly the size of France), the Whale sharks – locally known as Bone sharks, are the only known population where an almost equal number of both mature male and female sharks come to feed and recuperate.
As part of the St Helena National Trust’s annual bone shark research, the Marine Team documents and observes behavioural encounters of individual bone sharks throughout the season. The data collected over time, together with historical island data, creates a clearer picture of how many sharks migrate to the island every year, when and where they visit, and just maybe… to discover if they come here to breed.
Over the years, it has increasingly became evident that one of the island’s premium tourism attractions is the Bone Shark, and Trust Marine Team has been progressing a number of initiatives which are focused on promoting the Island as the No.1 destination for both research and visitor experience in relation to these “gentle giants”.
“With St Helena’s Fibre Optic Cable Project advancing, new technology being introduced and the majority of the population owning a mobile phone, our island has started a new digital age and because of this, we are so proud to be able to launch our brand new, ‘St Helena Whale shark ID App’” says Marine Research Coordinator, Kenickie Andrews.
In collaboration with app designers, CRITTER, (funded by Blue Marine Foundation and Enterprise St Helena) the Trust Marine Team has been working this mobile app for over a year. Found both on Apple App store and Google Play store, the new, free app allows anyone to submit their bone shark sightings and encounters to the Trust, contributing to an important effort to further understand these secretive and endangered marine species.
“Our app enables not just the Marine Team, but, also our local citizen scientists, enthusiasts, visiting tourist and members of the public to contribute to local bone shark encounter data, track individual sightings, and learn more about our Islands unique marine megafauna in the palm of their hand”, continues Kenickie.
“For environmental projects such as this, high quality on going field research is an incredibly important tool and the data collected, helps local researchers such as our team to maintain an understanding of the current demographics of our bone sharks, who and where have the sharks been and how long are they here for. When we can understand why these sharks come to the Island, their behaviours and what they do here, we can do more to better protect them and help identify management objectives to ensure that the world biggest fish remains safe”.
The app allows the user to also keep up with all recent shark encounters found, learn more about the individuals that the user has submitted via their own user portal and or others that have been found, displays of an island map to discover the teams research and sighting hotspots of the season, document behaviour observers and injuries and using their uploaded ID photo of the sharks, help to identify any sharks, possibly new to science or those that have returned back to the Island.
Through this input, the Marine team can review and monitor all encounter data submitted via the main app portal to help inform the research conducted and directly support the well-being of our visiting shark population.
For more information about the work of St Helena National Trust visit their website.
Diving Mauritius in 2022
Mauritius, a dive destination in the heart of the Indian Ocean
Britain is, hopefully, winning the battle against COVID, and Mauritius is waiting with open arms to welcome divers from the UK to enjoy our magnificent Indian Ocean reefs. After the dramatic crash landing of the 300 metre bulk carrier ship Wakashio the island is fully restored to its pristine glory.
From the moment you arrive, you are among friends. English, French and Creole speaking, Mauritius has the best of many cultures. British, since from 1815 until 1965 Mauritius was administered by Britain, who took over from the French so the French flair and culture has remained, and the gentle influence of the dominant Hindu religion creates a harmony that makes it a wonderful, serene place to live. I wake up every morning to the scent of frangipanni outside my window, and walk down to the beach with my dogs, where we swim in the palm fringed lagoon. The air is clean and fragrant, with a whiff of cinnamon, a breath of curry and a hint of expensive sunblock.
You check in, and its time to explore. There is a wonderful site called https://bryandiscoversworld.com/blogs/ that will show you around Mauritius, so you can plan after diving activities.
Then its time to go to the dive centre, which is 800 metres from my house. We meet at 8.30, so I have plenty of time for breakfast. The dive centre is clean, well equipped and hospitable, with a coffee shop on the premises that serves food as well. Most diving centres in Mauritius are similar.
We are greeted at the front desk by a knowledgeable young woman who asks us to complete a qualification and health questionnaire. Mauritius diving centres like to be sure they provide the most appropriate service. If you travel alone and need a buddy, they will provide one. If you are nervous after a long break, they will gently assist you through a lagoon refresher session. If you want strong currents and drifts they will make sure these are part of the planning for your visit. Best of all, Mauritians love to dive, and it shows in their passion to show you their fabulous undersea world.
Diving in the North is year-round, with excellent visibility, plentiful variety and easy boat access. Many of the macro reefs are within five minutes from shore. But the best diving and most pristine reefs are to be found on the Norther off-shore islands. We dive with sharks in circling washing machine waters in cathedral- like hollowed out caves.
We dive on Djabeda, a coral encrusted wreck that was deliberately sunk and lies at 30 metres. Or the Silverstar, and advanced dive at 40 metres, where batfish shoals hang out.
We dive the spectacular drop offs on Coin de Mire Island, where sea fans and butterfly fishes abound. Rays and turtles, huge shoals of fusiliers, blue banded snappers and glow fish blend with white and yellow goatfish on many of the reefs.
We dive a reef 3 minutes from the dive centre where morays are plentiful, and there are at least 11 species on one of the reefs, some un-described. Look out for the beautiful lionfish and scorpionfish, there are some species here that are very rare indeed.
The West coast has an abundance of rays dolphins and whales, but care has to be take if you want to book diving there. The bulk of the Mauritius rivers drain into the ocean on the West coast and visibility can be poor to very poor.
The East and South coasts also offer excellent diving, but again, care has to be taken with booking dive packages as tide, wind and weather can be a prohibiting factor.
Most dive boats are comfortable, and all are registered and licensed with the Mauritian Tourism Authority, so there are few cowboys, and every dive centre must show its credentials on its walls.
This is the best time to book diving in Mauritius, where a wealthy First World environment meets Third World pricing for dives. The Mauritian diving industry is way behind the curve and has not yet registered that paying £150 for a 10-dive standard package is way lower than the norm for first class boat diving. Accommodation prices vary from £20 a night for a registered basic studio apartment, to £ 100 plus a night for 4- and 5-star resorts, all within easy distance of the dive centres. Its worth noting that apartments are booked by the room and can in some cases sleep up to 3 people.
You need a vaccination card, and a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before boarding. Flights are around 11 hours, and subsidized by the Mauritian government so shop around.
Words: Jill Holloway
Copyright Ocean Spirit Ltd
Images by Chris Sleap and Gunter Haag