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Swimming with turtles

Swimming with turtles in Zanzibar is a popular and incredible experience that allows you to get up close and personal with these gentle and fascinating creatures. Zanzibar is home to several species of turtles, including the green sea turtle and the hawksbill turtle.

Here's what you can expect when swimming with turtles in Zanzibar:

1. Location: The best places to swim with turtles in Zanzibar are located in areas known for turtle populations, such as Nungwi, Kendwa, and the Mnemba Atoll. These areas offer excellent opportunities to encounter turtles in their natural habitat.

2. Snorkeling or Diving: Most turtle encounters take place while snorkeling or diving. You'll explore the underwater world of coral reefs and sea grass beds where turtles feed and swim.

3. Turtle Species: Zanzibar is home to various turtle species, with the green sea turtle and the hawksbill turtle being the most commonly encountered. These turtles can be quite large and are known for their graceful movements underwater.

4. Guided Tours: It's advisable to take a guided tour for a turtle-swimming experience. Local guides are knowledgeable about the best spots to find turtles, and they can enhance your experience by providing information about the turtles and the marine environment.

5. Equipment: Tour operators typically provide snorkeling or diving equipment, including masks, snorkels, fins, and wetsuits. If you have your own gear, you're welcome to use it.

6. Safety and Respect: Responsible tour operators prioritize the safety and well-being of the turtles. Guides will instruct you on how to behave around the turtles, ensuring you don't disturb or harm them. It's essential to maintain a respectful distance and avoid touching or chasing the turtles.

7. Environmental Awareness: Many tours focus on raising awareness about the conservation of turtles and the marine environment. Guides may provide information on the threats facing these creatures and what can be done to protect them.

8. Timing: Turtle encounters are usually best during the high tide when the turtles come closer to the shore to feed. Early morning and late afternoon are often recommended times for swimming with turtles.

9. Camera: Don't forget your underwater camera or a waterproof camera case to capture this memorable experience.

10. Booking: It's advisable to book your turtle-swimming tour with a reputable operator or through your accommodation. They can arrange transportation, guides, and equipment for your adventure.


Swimming with turtles in Zanzibar offers a magical and awe-inspiring experience as you share the water with these graceful marine creatures. It's an unforgettable way to connect with nature and appreciate the incredible biodiversity of the island's waters.

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