Tanzania's Zanzibar is better known for World Heritage capital Stone Town than it is for scuba diving yet there are reefs right around this sizeable island. Divers in search of peace head to the holiday resort region east of the Jozani Forest and near the village of Paje. As this area is only easily accessible to those staying nearby, it’s unlikely you will meet any other divers apart from your buddies.
The tides recede daily across the fringing reef – as they do right around Zanzibar – so dives are arranged to work around that, often with access across the coastal lagoon made by driving along to a deeper bay before boarding a dhoni. Underwater, the terrain is a flat shelf leading to about 15-18 metres, then there is a sudden drop over a short wall. This leads down to another flat reef at 25 metres, which again descends almost imperceptibly until it suddenly crashes from a sharp ridge to about 50 metres. Beyond that, it's adrenaline rush sites for advanced divers only.
The marine life is curious – at first glance the flat shelving reef appears to be almost barren, then a sudden outcrop or cavern will be mobbed by all sorts of creatures from sweepers and anthias to morays. Deeper caves are rich with fish and it's not unusual to drop into the blue and be engulfed by huge schools of barracuda.