Under The Sea in Zanzibar: An Enchanting Escape

by Sandy Salle on March 15, 2012

Has scuba diving become one of your life’s passions? Or perhaps you’re interested in diving into the sport? No matter what your level of expertise, ocean and nature lovers find pure bliss off the coast of Zanzibar.

Located on the southeast coast of Zanzibar is the Rising Sun Dive Center, the only PADI Five-Star Gold Palm and National Geographic Dive Center. Here, all levels of divers are welcome and encouraged to explore and conserve the spectacular waters that surround this charming island. Each group tour is accompanied by a guide who takes up to a maximum of 6 divers at time. This ensures that each diver has the attention of the guide and can experience an intimate setting among the aquatic wildlife.

Below I’ve outlined some of the wildlife you’ll witness while scuba diving, as well as some of the courses offered by the Rising Sun Dive Center, and even recommendations on where to stay:

Marine life: So what makes the coast of Zanzibar so unique compared to the thousands of other dive sites around the world? It’s simple, really. A combination of warm waters, sheltered lagoons, conservation efforts, and low levels of motorized boat traffic make this diving locale an aquatic gem.

scuba dive

Some of the wildlife you might witness in this area of the Indian Ocean includes:

  • Small reef fish
  • Moray eels, garden eels (some of the most peculiar creatures, this species has the appearance of a thin snake popping up from the ground like a weed), and ribbon eels
  • Lionfish
  • Snapper
  • Surgeonfish
  • Octopus
  • Sea turtles (a favorite among divers in the area!), leatherback turtles, and hawksbill turtles
  • Reef sharks, whale sharks, and guitar sharks
  • Barracudas, sailfish, black marlin
  • Stingrays, eagle rays, blue spotted stingrays, and pink whiprays
  • Napoleon Wrasse
  • Bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins
  • Humpback whales
  • Seahorses
  • And of course, the list goes on!

scuba diving trip


Courses offered at the Rising Sun Dive Center: Each course is designed for a particular level of expertise and incorporates tips on how to safely explore the ocean and conserve the delicate wildlife that calls the ocean home.

The National Geographic Open Water Course: For beginners looking to completely immerse themselves into the deep blue sea, the Rising Sun Dive Center offers a 5-day open-water course, comprised of 8 unique dives. You will begin in the pool, learning the fundamental PADI Open Water Course scuba diving skills. After you’ve become comfortable with and educated on your scuba diving equipment, you’ll then be ready for your open water dive (in the main reef area), where you’ll explore the main reef—bursting with colorful fish and corals.

On the fourth and fifth day of the course, you’ll venture outside of the main reef area into deeper waters where you will focus on buoyancy, digital photography, wildlife identification, and mapping.

The National Geographic Specialty Course: For those looking to expand their scuba diving expertise, this is the ultimate course. Comprised of four dives, this course takes you through techniques on buoyancy, digital photography, fish identification, and reef mapping.

Where to stay: There are three world-class accommodations nearby the Rising Sun Dive Center. All three are celebrated for their luxurious suites / villas, superior service, and breathtaking surroundings:

Stay tuned to our blog to have a detailed look at each of these three accommodations on Zanzibar—perfect for family safaris, honeymoon safaris, and group getaways!

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