Underwater sea life
in Zanzibar

East Africa Diving

Zanzibar is known for its tropical beaches, interesting spices and history as an important trading point between Arabic, Persian and Indian travellers. It is also known as a divers paradise with unspoiled beauty offering healthy coral reefs, a large selection of dive sites and great weather to explore it all.

You might be familiar with the photos of palm trees lining white beaches, surrounded by blue tropical waters, but it is what lies underneath the water that make divers come back to Zanzibar time and time again.

If you want to know why divers return for more, here is a list of some of the sea creatures you can expect to see when diving in Zanzibar’ tropical waters.

Bottlenose Dolphin:

No need to introduce these friendly and playful divers friends. They love playing in the waves and will often come closer to the boats to catch a dive in the wake of the vessel. It is not uncommon to snorkel with dolphins.


Thanks to the 2020 release of My Octopus Teacher, the octopus and their behaviour has become more well-known. They are masters of camouflage and very intelligent. They are fairly common at all the dive sites. Book a night dive and if you are lucky enough, you might see an octopus out on a hunt.


Moray Eel

Morays also hunt at night and their party trick is that they can swim backwards! The downside for morays are their poor eye sight. They do however have a really good sense of smell. There are many different moray eels in the area, so you will potentially see more than one kind on a dive if you are lucky.

Moray Eel


These are very flamboyant slugs of the sea. They are colourful and brightly coloured. They vary in types as they do in colour. Be sure to look out for them, swimming and moving with flair, especially at night. 


 Harlequin Shrimp

Another colourful creature is the Harlequin Shrimp. They feed on starfish and use their sense of smell for hunting. Romantics at heart, they mate for life and partners spend their lives together hunting and feeding on the ocean floor. They are fairly rare, with a better chance of sightings at night.


Harlequin Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp

Mantis shrimps, or stomatopods, are carnivorous marine crustaceans of the order Stomatopoda, branching from other members of the class Malacostraca around 340 million years ago (wikipedia)

The eyes of the mantis shrimp are mounted on mobile stalks and can move independently of each other. They are thought to have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom and have the most complex visual system ever discovered. They are pretty common in the waters of Zanzibar.

Mantis Shrimp


A few other fish and creatures worth a mention:

Sea stars

Sea cucumber

Red Snapper

Bengal Snapper

Spotted Unicorn Fish

Striped Renora

Bicolour puller

Redtooth Triggerfish

Trumpet Fish


Emperor Angelfish

Brommarbled Grouper

Giant Triggerfish


Blue spotted Ray


Green Turtle

East Africa Diving can assist with any of the tour or outing bookings and are happy to assist with recommendations.

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