Coral Bleaching in Zanzibar


May 17th, 2005, 02:18 PM
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Coral Bleaching in Zanzibar


I'm continuing to work on my husband's trip - his 73-year-old father is likely joining him, which changes our parameters somewhat - and am debating whether to include Zanzibar (or other islands off that coast) to the stay. My husband is an experienced snorkeler/diver (Hawaii, Fiji, and Indonesia most recently) and was really keen on trying Zanzibar, but I have heard that the snorkeling in particular has really deteriorated there because of El Nino (and subsequent coral bleaching). The quality of the snorkeling will pretty much decide whether they go or not - my father-in-law does not dive.

How bad is the damage to the reefs there? Anyone can compare it to the spots we've already been to? There was some bleaching in Indonesia but it wasn't *everywhere*.

shwang is offline  
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May 18th, 2005, 03:43 AM
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I have snorkeled on the East and Northwest coasts of Zanzibar, and it is not very good. Most of the coral is sadly, dead.
The snorkeling is much better off neighboring island Pemba (TZ, not MZ).

We just returned from the Seychelles, and the snoreling/diving was pretty good there.

I still think the barrier reef off Belize can't be beat for corals and fish life.
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May 18th, 2005, 03:50 AM
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shwang -

I'm not a diver myself (I only "dip"), so I can't comment from my own experience. That said, a very good friend and an avid diver, having done so worldwide, has found the diving off Mafia Island to be the most amazing and outstanding of any. This was about 2-years ago, years after El Nino (which I believe was in the late 90s) and no mention at all of "bleached coral." Mafia Island is off the coast from Dar-es-Salaam; a short flight. The island is pristene with only two (sorry, now three) properties. The Kinasi Lodge, Pole Pole and Mafia Island Lodge.

Another alternative in this area is off Pemba Island, Zanzibar's sister island. Check out Pemba Afloat, where you live aboard real nice 30-meter boats with large cabins, all meals included at rather reasonal (all inclusive, I believe) daily rates. Boats are docked in a lovely cove on the Northwest coast - very private. For those non-divers/snorklers you can picnic on the beach. You can contact them and specifically ask about any damage to the coral.

If you don't want these, there are a number of properties on the North, Northeast and Southeast coasts of Zanzibar that offer diving off the Mnemba atoll.

Hope these options work for you.
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May 18th, 2005, 08:49 AM
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I will look into both. There were reports of bleaching in Mafia but it also appears to be (or have been) a superior diving destination. Thanks very much.
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