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Dive Review of One Ocean/Ocean Paradise in
Africa/Zanzibar, Tanzania

September, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Henry O Ziller, CO, US
Sr. Contributor   (23 reports, with 1 Helpful vote)
Report Number 6733
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Mexico, Belize, Cayman, Honduras, Tobago, Bahamas, Dominica, St. Kitts,
Pohnpei, Curacao, Hawaii, Lake Powell, Philippines, Palau, Indonesia
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
75   to 77    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
depth and time restricted. surface with 50 bar  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars    
5 stars   
3 stars    
This review covers diving in Zanzibar, Tanzania and an African safari in
Coming from Colorado getting to Tanzania requires connections somewhere in
Europe or Africa. Our choice was in London since we had miles on American
who are partnered with British Airways. We had several hours each way at
Heathrow so we stayed at Yotel in Terminal 4 but not inside the secured
area. Rooms are very small, impressively efficient and work well for a
nights stay. The train/bus takes you to all other terminals for flights.
JM Tours LTD ( ) arranged our domestic flights, hotels,
transfers and safari. We flew on Precision Air within the country and were
satisfied with everything except one flight when my wife was required to
check her backpack (GoLite) because it was over 7 kilo. She actually packed
2 ½ weeks of clothing in one backpack and always looked nice. Mine
was also over but looked smaller. Planes were all Dash 8s and our big
backpacks fit in the overhead. The hotel before and after the safari was
the Kibo Palace in Arusha. It was a nice hotel with pool, exercise room and
spa. In Zanzibar we stayed at Ocean Paradise which was also well
The safari:
We were met at Kibo Palace by our safari driver and the vehicle of choice
for safaris, a Toyota Land Cruiser (10 ply tires, two spares, and two gas
tanks) with a pop up roof. We loaded up for the road trip of a couple hours
on paved highway. The first park was Tarangire National Park where we
stayed at Tarangire Safari Lodge. The lodge had a main building with a
restaurant and lounge. Rooms were individual tents with running water, hot
water shower, western toilet all separated from the bed area. Very nice
stay. We saw giraffes, zebras, lions, cheetahs, elephants, ostrich,
baboons, wildebeest, and many of the antelope family. The road to Serengeti
National Park is a gravel road that is very rough and dusty. The procedure
is roll up the windows when a car is passing then back down. The vehicle is
air conditioned, but it did not seem to work very well unless you were in
the front seat. The stay at Serengeti Safari Lodge was a bit more rustic,
but had a tent with separate shower and toilet area, just no running water.
Hot water for showers consisted of a staff member asking if you are ready
for your shower and then hoisting a bucket of hot water up on a pole and
dumping it into a larger bucket that gravity feeds to your shower. It
actually works quite well. You can request more if needed. A sink is
available for washing but water is poured from containers, one hot and one
cold. Meals are in a large tent (mess hall) and were quite good, especially
considering the remoteness of the area. Beer wine and liquor are available
at $4, $5, and Johnnie Walker Black was $6. US Dollars are accepted
everywhere we went. We saw many of the same animals plus hippos.  The camps
in the Serengeti are relocated every six weeks to limit the impact on the
environment. We stayed two nights in the Serengeti then moved to Ngorongoro
Crater. This was a very nice hotel with all the amenities. It seemed almost
decadent compared to the previous locations. The view from the hotel at
7,000 feet above sea level to the crater at 4,000 feet is incredible. In
the morning we traveled into the crater for more animal viewing. Here is
where we saw the last of the big five, a rhinoceros! Throughout the trip we
were able to view an abundance of everything but saw only one rhino.
What to know before you go:
You will need up to date shots  Go to either the CDC or WHO website or
consult a travel health clinic  preferably at least two of the three.
Typhoid, tetanus, polio booster, hepatitis A & B should be current.
Malaria medication is a must although we did not see many mosquitoes, bugs
or flies during this dry season. We did not get yellow fever shots and they
were not required for Tanzania including Zanzibar. Some web sites state
that it is required for both areas. We sprayed our outer clothes with
permethrin and carried spray with 30% deet for our uncovered areas.
Pack light. We had everything we needed in a medium backpack plus a smaller
one for a large camera along with charger and big lens all for an 18 day
trip. We took three sets of lightweight, quick dry clothes for 5 days of
safari, 5 days of diving-plus travel. We had zip-off pant legs so they
doubled as shorts for the diving portion. If you take hard sided luggage it
usually goes on top of the vehicle on an open rack and is thus more
susceptible to the dust. And there is a lot of dust. Locals call it
natural African powder. You can wash clothes and they dry overnight; at
the Serengeti Safari Lodge, they will wash your clothes. Three shirt and
pant sets cost $6.25. 
Electricity  Need both UK/Africa three prong and Asia/Middle East two
prong round outlet adapters; 110 and 220 volts. Serengeti is all solar
powered; Tarangire and Ngorongoro were limited hours, generator only. Take
a flashlight.
Money  The US Dollar is accepted everywhere we went and larger places take
credit cards. The Tanzania Schilling is the currency and is available in
ATMs but is not necessary. When we were there, one USD = 1,500 TZS. Coming
into the country you need $100 for the visa unless you obtain it ahead of
the trip through the Tanzania Consulate stateside. The lines are long so if
you have it upon arrival you will save about an hour. Make sure your cash
is new. I had a $100 bill dated 1998 and they would not accept it at
immigration. I did finally get a currency exchange to take it although
there was some loss due to fees. I did not see an ATM at Dar es Salaam
airport. Also -  random fees from $5US-$30US at various airports.
We flew from Kilimanjaro to Zanzibar and the hotel picked us up for an hour
ride over paved roads. The hotel we stayed at was Ocean Paradise and it was
a very large resort with three restaurants, three bars, swimming pool, sand
volleyball court, kayaks, sailboats, spa, gym, pool table (6 X 12),  and
gift shop. They can arrange any type of tour you want to take and there is
an Ocean One dive shop onsite. Daily resort activities and nightly
The diving is done from Blue Bay Resort where Ocean Ones main shop is
located. A van picks you up at 7:40 AM (resort breakfast starts at 7 AM)
and takes you to Blue Bay stopping to pick up other divers along the way.
The shop at Blue Bay has all the rental gear although we were issued wet
suits (7 mil shorties) mask and fins (full foot type) at their Ocean
Paradise shop. We chose not to use their wet suits and used our skins. The
water was 77F (25 C) so we were not cold. There are restrooms and showers
at Blue Bay. A large treated rinse tank is provided and staff rinses all
rental equipment. You are responsible for your own gear. There is also a
faucet for rinsing feet that could be used for personal equipment if you
dont care for rinse tanks. Hangers and rack are provided for overnight
storage so you can leave everything at Blue Bay. We normally take our own
equipment but decided to rent this time. Big mistake, we will never rent
again anywhere. All equipment is Scuba Pro. We did have some issues with
the equipment. Both of our inflator hoses leaked. Mine leaked so bad the DM
was ready to call the dive; luckily I got it to slow down significantly. My
wifes mask also leaked so bad she had to hold it against her face during
the first dive. Fortunately she is comfortable underwater and kept calm -
they do carry spare equipment on the boat. The full foot fins rubbed our
feet raw requiring bandages to continue. My suggestion would be to take
your own gear even if you are doing a safari first. Hotels will hold your
gear while on safari if you are returning to the same hotel.
Due to the tide, the first day of diving we took a van about a mile down
the road to Obama Beach and boarded the boat. The other days we took a
small boat out to the larger boat. The boat is about 35-feet and quite wide
but not quite wide enough to don fins without turning them sideways. The
boat has room for 20 passengers but we only had 16 most days with about
half divers and half snorkelers. Staff sets up all gear on boat. A
recompression center is located just northeast of Ocean Paradise Resort.
All of the safety gear was on the boat such as Dan O2 set, gps, first aid
kit, life jackets, radio and cell phones. There is a camera bucket although
it is small and was not pointed out even though it was quite obvious that
several divers had photo equipment. One litre of water and various fruits,
rolls and hard candy were served during the surface interval. Large dry
bags were provided for anything people wanted to stay dry and it was
carried by staff to the boat. A lock box was available at the shop for
valuables. There were two 250 hp outboard motors powering the boat and it
was good to have two because one failed to start when trying to move to our
second dive site one day. We made a second dive in the same area as our
first dive and limped into shore to be transported back to Blue Bay via
vans. Entry is by giant stride and a ladder on each side of the aft of the
boat was provided for re-boarding, however the rungs were round so it was a
pain climbing back onto the boat with full gear minus fins. Dive masters
gave good instruction of the boat and safety gear as well as dive
briefings. We dived with Silvia, Cha Cha and Abdul and all were great.
Diving is done at Mnemba atoll and takes about 40 minutes to reach from
Blue Bay. We dived ten dives and saw many fish, turtles, octopus, frogfish,
eel, large puffers, cuttlefish, and one shark. We had never seen a Juvenile
Rock Mover Wrasse or a purple Leafish  very nice. The coral was healthy
and recovering from an el Niño and we were actually surprised at
the amount of large and small fish especially after reading the few reports
available in the Chap Book for this area. 
This is a huge trip from the states and we recommend combining it with a
safari. We feel we saw everything there was to see in the 10 dives we
experienced. I also thought 5 days of safari is enough to see the big five
and everything else
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Subscriber's Comments

By Haponski at Nov 06, 2013 15:14 EST  
Excellent report - still don't think I'll haul my gear when I go though
(what about socks?) - maybe just my mask with corrective lenses (might be
good for dusty safari too)!
Thanks, Lee
By Ziller at Nov 08, 2013 12:39 EST  
We wore sock also soaked in permethrin, but again we did not see many
mosquitoes. We were more concerned with teetse flys, but never saw any of
those. We were there in the dry season. Wet season is probably different. I
did take my mask with prescription lens, and our wrist dive computer/watch.
If I was renting again, I would take light booties to save my feet. Have a
great trip! It will be fantastic!
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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