Chumbe Island for the day - Zanzibar's best snorkeling
In search of Zanzibar's best snorkeling, I learned of Chumbe Island Coral Park (www.chumbeisland.com). Visitors to the protected coral reef are limited to those who stay on the small island. However, less expensive day trips can be arranged up to a few days in advance, provided the eco lodges are not fully booked.
Visitors are invited to follow a schedule, planned according to the tides, that includes snorkeling and a nature walk. The reef, unlike much of Zanzibar, can be reached by swimming from the beach -- though small boats are also offered to ferry guests.
The time formally allotted for snorkeling was too short, for a place so beautiful. However, to my delight, it was possible to forgo the nature walk for more snorkeling on my own after lunch. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the nature walk too -- but with just one day and on a snorkeling mission, I thoroughly enjoyed more time on the reef. So glad I asked!
FYI, to protect the reef, no SCUBA diving is allowed and snorkeling is only permitted during hours when the tide is sufficiently high.
The mobile app for afar.com accurately shows Chumbe Island off the coast of Zanzibar, not far from Stone Town. However, on the regular website, the pin in the map appears incorrectly on Stone Town, Zanzibar. Click on "view larger map" for the actual location.