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Seeing Dolphins is incredible and snorkeling with Dolphins is unforgettable

Snorkeling with Dolphins in Zanzibar – an awesome experience

Why are you going on holiday to Zanzibar? Is it after a safari and you would like to let the experiences sink in on the beach and relax a bit? Zanzibar is just perfect for this. Yet, we recommend still doing the one or the other advanture. What a safari is in the Serengeti, is snorkeling with the dolphins and the beautiful reefs in Zanzibar. Both are simply unforgettable!

There are so many boat providers on the beaches. This can be overwhelming. But no worries, UnboxingTanzania shows you what to look out for. We also will tell you about our own tour and provide you with all the information you need to know to start your own adventure in Zanzibar.

About us

We love the beach and the sea. That’s why we really wanted to spend a few days in Zanzibar.  What is better than just jumping into the sea to cool off? Well, we can stay afloat, but we are not the world’s best swimmers.

Just a few days before our dolphin tour, we learned snorkeling from a friend. That’s why we asked ourselves the question: Are we ready for a boat trip to the open sea and to dive in the reef and with the dolphins? To give a short answer already: Yes! it was overwhelmingly good.

How do you find the best tour?

Because of our lacking experience, it was important for us to plan the tour well. On the beach in front of our accommodation, we were often offered a tour to a reef that is about 8km in front of Zanzibar. The prices for such a tour vary 30-50 dollars for up to four people were tempting. Such offers don’t have to be bad. However, we always recommend that you clarify the following points in advance.

1. The boat

Which boat is used? The important factors are the size, engine, and comfort. The size of the boat makes a big difference, especially in stronger waves.  But the engine is also important. If you are fast on the reef, you will have more time for snorkeling.  When it comes to comfort, pay special attention to sun protection, that would be a good roof. We also recommend that you check whether there is a ladder to climb on board. Especially boarding with fins, in slightly stronger waves, can be a challenge.


A waterproof box should be available on board for your valuables and your camera. 

2. The safety & security

For us, this is the most crucial criterion. We don’t go on a boat that doesn’t have enough safety vests for passengers and crew. The crew is best made up of at least three people. In an emergency, two crew members can help someone in the water and the captain can still steer the boat.

3. The snorkeling equipment

If you bring your own equipment, you can skip this paragraph. You shouldn’t make any compromises here. With good snorkeling equipment, you will enjoy the tour even more.  Try out the equipment on the beach, before heading out. Do the glasses fit well? How does the snorkel fit? What fins do you get? Take the time to check the equipment. The better the equipment, the more you will be able to enjoy the tour.

The cheap tours on our beach have fallen through our checklist. The hotels also offer snorkeling tours, but those prices are often much higher, starting at $100 per person.


The more expensive price of tours planned by the hotel does not necessarily mean that they are good or bad. Ask about the details before you book the tour.

In the end, we got a contact from friends. Our captain has his boat at Muyuni beach, close to the Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spar Hotel. Most of the boats in this bay have the same size and equipment. Due to the experience of our friends, we felt in safe hands here.


Insist on your life jacket before setting off. It is no problem for the crew to get life jackets at short notice. And it gives you a good feeling and, in an emergency, the life jacket can save your life.

Our captain and crew

Hajiy was our captain. He has been on the sea all his life. He is quite young but already has a lot of experience. He is an excellent swimmer and diver. Hajiy dived with us and guided us to the best spots on the reef.

Then we had a second captain and another helper on board. The second captain always took over when Hajiy accompanied us in the water. And Michael, the helper, was responsible for everything else. His English was particularly helpful as he became our translator.

Our Tour Spots

1. Dolphins

First, we went to the dolphins. The dolphins return to the shallow coastal areas at night to rest. Early in the morning, they move to the open sea. This means that the earlier you start your tour, the greater your chance of seeing dolphins.

It also has the advantage that you see the dolphins relatively close to the coast. You don’t have to drive far. In addition, the coast slopes very slowly. When snorkeling, you will often see the bottom. I think it was between 4-8 meters deep.

Still, you will be shaken by the waves. Since the dolphins move on, snorkeling is not so easy. Once you arrive at the spot, you should jump into the water without delay, so that you can spend as much time as possible with the animals.


It helped us to have a good breakfast, so that your stomach is busy. With a good breakfast, you may be able to prevent seasickness.

2. The Reef

There are several reefs around the island of Mnemba. Mnemba is about 3km away from Zanzibar. It took us about 30 minutes by boat. Again, the water is relatively low. This makes the reef especially suitable for beginners. You don’t have to dive. You can just snorkel on the surface.

Not all reefs are open to tourists. The island of Mnemba is privately owned. There is an exclusive hotel on the island. Tourists who have not booked at this hotel must keep a certain distance from the island. (Your captain will know the details.)  

3. Catering

At the reef, the crew prepared a delicious fruit platter. On the way to the sandbank you can enjoy the fresh fruits then. Among other things, we had delicious bananas, pineapples, mangoes, and oranges. (find out more about food in Zanzibar)

4. The Sandbank

To the south and east of the island of Mnemba there are sandbanks. These are exposed by the low tight. After snorkeling, you can relax here at noon. The sand on the sandbanks was the finest-grained sand we have ever seen. This spot is also good for pictures. The contrast between turquoise water and bright white sand is absolutely unique.


Don’t forget your sun lotion! This place is so beautiful that you forget about time. But you will be exposed to the sun at the sandbank. So do yourself a favor and take the sunscreen along.

3. Going back to the bay

On the way back we circled the island of Mnemba. With a bit of luck, you will see dolphins around the island one last time. You will also see a lot of seabirds.

Our Highlights

The dolphins impressed us totally. The dolphins were only a few meters away from us, maybe 5 meters. Yet, the animals radiated such calm. It was simply an unforgettable experience.

We counted a total of 19 animals, including a small calf. The dolphins were accompanied by about 10 – 15 boats. Beneath the surface of the water, we didn’t notice anything about it. Hajiy, our captain sees dolphins every day. But even for him, so many dolphins at one spot was something extraordinary.

The snorkeling on the reef was more relaxed. Here you are in the living room of the fish. The reef dwellers do not leave their homes. This gives you all the time you need to observe the fish, marine animals, and corals. Observing the diversity, the colorful colors and the lively hustle and bustle of the reef dwellers was overwhelming for us.

After so many impressions that had to be processed, the rest on the sandbank was also a highlight. Dangling our legs in the water and exchanging our observations from the dolphins to the reef was fun.


We took a soccer ball with us. This was ideal for our stay on the sandbank. We can definitely recommend that.

Bottom line

We love nature and animals. That’s why snorkeling with the dolphins and on the reef was a great experience for us. Would we book this tour again? Anytime!

We wish you a wonderful time in Zanzibar. And we look forward to your pictures (tag us on your pics #unboxingtanzania on Instagram and Facebook).