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Anouk Zijlma

Diving in Africa

By July 30, 2007

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imilchil marriage feast There are many incredible diving spots in Africa and the top 3 would have to include the Red Sea in Egypt, the Seychelles and Mozambique's Archipelagos.

Egypt's diving resorts have become busier in the past 10 years and that has put some people off diving there, but the underwater spectacle is still stunning and the area around Ras Mohammed remains one of the best diving areas in the world. Highlights include the wreck of the British vessel Thistlegorm, just north of Ras Mohammed, which is well preserved including its cargo of army vehicles. The Shark and Yolanda reefs in the Ras Mohammed National Park also offers world class diving with schools of colorful fish in the summer including moray eels and spotted stingrays. Find out more about Egypt's many diving sites from Tour Egypt's Diving Guide and for a list of diving operators in Egypt see Scubatravel.co.uk

The Seychelles are a popular spot for honeymooners and serious divers. With miles of coral reefs in the warm Indian Ocean you can snorkel or dive around the four marine national parks, and enjoy seeing more than 150 species of tropical reef fish as well as giant tortoises, manta rays and whale sharks. L'ilot, a small island off the northern tip of the main island of Mahe, is known especially for its whale sharks, parrot fish and spectacular soft corals. Coral Gardens just west of Mahe are filled with clownfish, angelfish and red snapper. The Ennerdale Wreck is great for those interested in wreck dives, the tanker is surrounded by white-tip reef sharks and stingrays as well as batfish. See BSAC's Travel Club's web page on the Seychelles for more details on the best diving spots.

Mozambique offers some of the best unspoiled diving in the world. The main sites include Barra Reef which also offers excellent fish viewing opportunities for snorkelers. The Bazaruto Archipelago is home to hundreds of species of colorful fish as well as humpback whales, marine turtles, spinner, humpback and bottlenose dolphins, large game fish like marlins and barracudas and the endangered dugong. The Archipelago was hit by a cyclone in February this year -- but is looking to re-open its resorts by October. Baixo do Pinda just north of Nacala has the potential to be one of the most beautiful and popular dive sites in the world, but few people have yet discovered it.

Other countries with interesting diving opportunities include South Africa, where you can dive with great white sharks, and enjoy coral reefs in Sodwana Bay. Zanzibar and Mnemba Islands offer excellent dives and the coast of Sudan is also drawing more and more divers particularly those interested in large schools of sharks.

Image of a Lionfish by © Bill Dubnowski

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