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A February Zanzibar Diving Holiday

For some of us a holiday over the Christmas – New Year period is simply not possible. For one finding a place that ticks all the boxes and that fits the budget is almost impossible. With family Christmas commitments and budget constraints in mind we decided that a short diving holiday, after the festive season was over was just what we needed.

We settled on Zanzibar - we had Voyager Miles in hand which we could use for the Mango flights and we knew from recent trips it would dot the i’s and cross the t’s when it came to fulfilling the criteria for ‘easy diving’. This meant that the accommodation had to be with easy range of Mnemba Atoll, the best diving area of Zanzibar. The tidal range plays a big part in the getting to or from a dive as the sea goes out far from the shoreline and makes it impossible to launch and return from the same place bar a couple of days of the month when it’s what is known as tide perfect, those perfect few days a month when all the forces come together to make it possible to get to the dive site and back by boat. For the rest of the time it’s one way by road and the other by boat in whichever order as dictated by Mother Nature.

Azanzi Beach Lodge seemed to be the perfect fit for us. Mid-range in price, close enough to Mnemba Atoll and with its own on-site diving operation. It also included all meals plus selected drinks in the rate - a huge bonus!

We had a 6 dive package planned for the three full days we were there, but a ill-timed tummy bug put my husband/dive buddy out of action on day 2 and we ended up with two full days diving. The dive sites around the Atoll were as we remembered it. Easy diving in 28° turquoise waters, 20m+ viz, almost no current and lots of varied tropical fish species. I am not going to kid you, the coral has taken a hammer from the increasing local population to whom the ocean is a resource, but putting this aside it made a wonderful change to just relax and enjoy a dive. I am so used to battling the elements at Aliwal Shoal where most of our most recent diving has been done, my Zanzi diving really felt like a holiday rather than an experience.

Diving Zanzibar

As it turned out it was all better than expected. Our accommodation was comfortable with a great mattress on the bed (Zanzibari beds are often kitted with the skinny mattress variety) a bath and a shower, a mini bar (which you can stock as needed from the main lodge bar) and the all-important air-con. Scubafish the onsite dive operator were a pleasure to deal with. They have a full selection of decent dive gear, great DM’s and a couple of boats in hand including the large 14m wooden dhow, The Caroline that has plenty of place to kit up and walk around.

Relaxing at Ananzi Resort

Now that Mango flies direct to Zanzibar the convenience factor is massive. Early flight departures ensure that you are enjoying that first beer or glass wine with your lunch. The four night package we took felt like a full week and we are back in the land of load shed feeling relaxed and full of the joys of diving (again!).

Zanzibar diving

Zanzibar has become a very easy destination to visit, no visa’s required for us Saffers, reasonably cheap from the drinks and activities point of view and food is good, not Cape Town haut cuisine but solid fare offered at most establishments. Accommodation is good quality and affordable in the mid-range price bracket and the most important part of all the locals are incredibly friendly. Due to its almost Muslim majority, crime is almost non-existent which is a major plus factor for South Africans wishing to really “get away from it all”. You feel no pressure and everything becomes 'hakuna matata', no worries in Zanzibar.

Enjoy Zanzibar

 If this is the kind of Zanzibar holiday you think you would enjoy email us or phone us and we will put it together for you. We have loads of Zanzi trips under our belts and would be happy to direct you to the place best suited to your tastes and budget.

 Author: Natalie Wood

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