Did you know that Africa is home to some of the most diverse and abundant marine life in the world? From flourishing coral reefs to great white sharks, many scuba divers regard its waters as a paradise just waiting to be explored.
Trust us, if you love scuba diving, you don’t want to miss out on what Africa has to offer. But before you rush off and book a flight, it may help to know exactly where the best scuba diving destinations on the continent are located.
Surprised that Tanzania is on this list? Many people don’t realize it, but Tanzania is actually a great scuba diving destination that has lots of amazing dive spots. More importantly these spots are truly diverse – encompassing a wide range of scuba diving interests, and suitable for divers with different levels of experience.
Inexperienced divers may want to start in Zanzibar where they can take advantage of the crystal clear, warm water. However more skilled divers will undoubtedly want to explore the stunning coral reef formations near Pemba Island or check out the seasonal whale shark migration near Mafia Island.
If you want to take a break from the sea you can head over to Kilimanjaro and visit Lake Tanganyika which is the second-deepest lake in the world. It has excellent visibility and is home to hundreds of species of cichlid – which is why it is regarded as one of the world’s best freshwater dive spots.
4. Sal Island, Cabo Verde
Located in the Atlantic ocean of the coast of Senegal, Cabo Verde is known for its incredible underwater landscapes that are littered with caves, drop offs, canyons, swimthroughs and grottos. It is a haven for the adventurous, but even beginners can explore its submerged beauty due to the free diving school in Cabo Verde.
With the help of the courses, you’ll be able to master free diving in no time. It caters to the needs of beginners and offers 1-day or 3-day introductory packages as well as other options for mastering the fundamentals, learning competition-level sports techniques for diving, training yourself to hold your breath for longer, or studying safety and rescue procedures.
On top of all that, Apnea Boom also offers training courses for spearfishing. If you’ve never tried it before their basic course is the perfect place to start, but if you do have some experience then check out their professional course that will help you to spear trophy fish with its advanced techniques.
If you want to find out more about Apnea Boom, just click here. By enrolling for their courses, you could quickly improve your diving skills and before you know it you’ll be swimming with the loggerhead turtles, dolphins, manta rays and sharks that can be found near Sal Island.
Despite often being overlooked, Mozambique definitely has great diving opportunities. It is most known for the humpback whales that gently cruise through its waters, but there are also several protection areas with species you aren’t likely to see in many other places.
The most notable of these areas are the Maputo Protection Area with its rare species of sea turtles, and the Bazaruto Archipelago that is one of the best destinations to find dugong.
Arguably the premier dive spot in Mozambique is Medjumbe Island. It features a sudden steep drop off known as the ‘Edge of Reason’, and when exploring it you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an alien world with gorgonian fans, reef sharks, and lots of strange creatures.
If you’d rather not explore those intimidating depths however, a nice alternative is Tofo Beach that not only has healthy corals but also attracts whale sharks and manta rays throughout the year.
Scuba divers have long regarded Egypt as one of the world’s best diving destinations. Visiting it will let you explore the Red Sea and the wealth of underwater wildlife that calls it home.
A good place to start would be the impressive reefs of Ras Mohammed National Park – the oldest national park in the country. Aside from that you may also want to check out the WWII wreck of the S.S. Thistlegorm as well as some of the other historic wrecks that litter the northern part of the Red Sea.
More skilled divers may want to try the Dahab Blue Hole. It is a 120-meter sinkhole that has walls lined with exceptional coral formations and is regarded as one of the most rewarding dives in the world. Just remember this is a very dangerous diving spot, and does require some advanced certifications.
1. South Africa
If you’re looking for sharks, South Africa is definitely the place to go. It is practically the shark diving capital of the world, with numerous spots where you can get up close with various species of sharks.
For cage-diving with great white sharks you can head to Simonstown, Mossel, or Gansbaai, whereas if you want to see hammerheads you’ll find schools of them at the Protea Banks during the summer months.
However arguably the best spot to encounter species such as tiger sharks, oceanic blacktips and bull sharks without being in a cage is the Aliwal Shoal.
Make no mistake if you don’t fancy swimming with sharks there are other diving attractions in South Africa that you can enjoy. The town of Sodwana Bay in particular is an excellent spot to explore colorful, thriving reefs and is very beginner-friendly.
If one thing is clear by this point it should be the fact that Africa is truly a mecca for scuba divers. It caters to divers of different skills levels and interests, and the only question you need to ask yourself is: Which of these destinations do you want to visit first?
No matter which one you choose, you’re likely to have an excellent scuba diving trip. And the best part is that you’ll still know there is much more out there that you can explore.