"Kapstadt / Cape Town" by Michael Jansen via Flickr Creative Commons

Apart from the Red Sea, most of Africa’s top dive and snorkel sites are relatively unknown. There is actually a nice assortment of reefs scattered around the massive continent. You can dive with Great White Sharks off Cape Town, swim through the wrecks of ancient trading vessels in Zanzibar, or explore the rarely seen coral reefs near Sudan and Mozambique.

  1. Red Sea, Egypt Many of the world’s top dive sites are found in this ancient waterway: Thistlegorm, Shark and Yolanda Reef, Eliphistone Reef, Ras Mohammed, and many more. Dive conditions are unbeatable: high visibility, extremely warm water, and few waves.
  2. Cape Town, South Africa Your best chance to see a Great white face to face is at shark alley, where you’ll climb into a cage with your dive gear while these ferocious creatures swim around you. Not for the faint of heart.
  3. Mnemba Island, Tanzania Diving around this private coral sand island has endless visibility and calm, clear blue seas that provided ample opportunities for diving and snorkeling.
  4. Seychelles Islands Marine parks surrounding the island of Mahe are thousands of miles from anywhere, but still worth the trip. The coral is colorful, the currents are mild, the occasional whale shark, and an astounding variety of fish is hard to top.
  5. Barra, Mozambique Clown fish, Pepperfish, Blue Spotted Rays, Morays, angelfish, and sea turtles can all be spotted on the many reefs outside of Barra. Affordable accommodations and dives are an added bonus.
  6. Zanzibar, Tanzania Centuries old wrecks surround this multi-cultural island on a historically significant Spice route to Asia.
  7. Umbria, Sudan The general lack of divers in Sudan means this huge wreck - covered with coral and teaming with sea life - is in great condition. Expect to see Manta Rays, and if you’re lucky a Whale shark or Tiger shark.
  8. Aliwal Shoal, South Africa South Africa’s premier site attracts humpback whales, schools of dolphins, moray eels, manta rays, sea turtles, the occasional shark, and a long list of other aquatic characters.
  9. Red Sea, Eritrea Visibility is high in Eritrea’s swath of the Red Sea, but you still won’t see anyone. You might be the only one diving at the dive sites of Massawa or the Dahlak Islands.
  10. Sha’ab Rumi South, Sudan This is the best place to spot a hammerhead, or any other shark for that matter, in the Red Sea. This is where Jacques Cousteau kept his legendary shark observation cage.