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Diving Pemba | Mozambique

Not to be confused with Pemba island in Tanzania, the small coastal city of Pemba sits at the northern tip of Mozambique and is the gateway to scuba diving in the Quirimbas Archipelago. Pemba is also located on the edge of the world’s third largest bay – residents claim that only Sydney harbour and Rio are bigger.

The reefs are fairly unexplored and the diving is unexpected. Around the outer edges of the massive bay are small cliff walls, lush mangroves and beautiful white sand beaches that lead to prolific reefs consisting of hard corals and masses of small fish.

Most dives are shallow but there are a variety of sites and even some incredible muck diving inside the bay and past the shipping port. The visibility tends to be low, especially in the rainy season as several rivers dump freshwater and sediment into the bay, but the critter life is superb. Seahorses and octopus jostle with juvenile lionfish and flying gurnards.

Pemba, Mozambique dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life

Pristine hard corals
Anemones and clownfish

Top dive site Playground
Seasons Best from Nov-Apr
Visibility 10 – 30m
Water temperature 25 – 29º C
Deco chambers Durban
Flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam with Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique
Information Only a handful in his developing area but a choice of options according to budget.

Only national carrier, LAM Mozambique Airlines flies to Pemba in northern Mozambique, which is an international airport. There are direct flights from Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and connections from South Africa and Europe via Maputo and other regional cities once or twice a week. Pemba is a fairly neat town despite being the major port for the region. Tourism is still in its infancy so the local infrastructure is minimal. There are just a couple of top calibre hotels and a few small ones.


This part of Mozambique has yet to hit the diver radar while further south (nearer to the South African border) has become quite popular especially with South Africans. Being quieter than further south seems like a big positive to us – no crowds, no boats, almost no divers! There isn't a huge variety of dive sites as this is still a developing diving destination but that seems like the best reason to go.


There is nothing quite like finding a destination that is so under-dived, even the divemasters are surprised by what they see. Our only real disappointment was not having enough time to do all the available dive sites. We dived from the Pemba Beach Hotel, owned by Rani Resorts. It's a top-notch, international resort style complex with a very good on-site water sports operation. Rani also owns the blissful Medjumbe Private Island and the newer Matemo.


Pemba Beach Hotel

Combine an East African diving holiday with a wildlife safari

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Complete reports on this area are in
Diving the World.

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