Laura Mann takes her pick of the places to stay for a memorable scuba diving experience on KQ’s African network
1) Mozambique: a walk in the park Indigo Bay resort, Mozambique
This spectacular marine destination is situated on Bazaruto Island, the largest island in the Mozambican archipelago. It offers guests the quintessential Indian Ocean island experience as well as a gateway to the natural and unspoilt beauty of the surrounding protected area, making it the ideal destination for marine enthusiasts.
The luxury beach chalets and bay view villas are constructed of natural materials in order to blend harmoniously with the environment, giving guests a real modern- day Robinson Crusoe experience. All chalets, villas and suites offer complete luxury, with air-conditioning, lavish en suite bathrooms and mini-bars, and some even come with their own private pools. Tantalising restaurants specialising in sumptuous seafood and characterful bars are the focus of Indigo Bay Resort, providing every guest with a taste of African paradise. The protected waters of the Bazaruto Marine National Park are brimming with dazzling soft coral ridges and reefs to explore, plus the chance to see over 100 species of coral, thousands of tropical fish species, five kinds of dolphin, four whale species and several species of sharks – a diver’s paradise.
Beach Chalets (fully inclusive, per person per night sharing) from US$610 l Honeymoon Beach Chalet (per chalet) from US$1250 l Bayview Villa (per villa) from US$2120 l Presidential Suite (per suite) from US$2580 l www.indigobayresort.com
FLY KQ to Nampula three times a week
2) Tanzania: the rare gem, The Manta Resort, Pemba Island, Tanzania
Situated on the northernmost tip of Pemba Island, this tropical resort offers divers and non-divers alike a real taste of island living. With six newly built sea front villas, four superior garden rooms, seven standard garden rooms and a couple’s sanctuary, this resort has something for everyone. But perhaps the most spectacular feature of the resort, drawing marine enthusiasts in from around the world, is the James Bond-style private floating island, where the bedroom lies several metres below the surface, allowing guests to enjoy sunbathing and stargazing on the top deck, lounging and dining on the water deck, before an evening of sleeping with the fishes.
The onsite dive team are keen to show off the spectacular diving that Pemba Island has to offer, giving guided tours around the local (untouched) colourful coral reefs or, for the more brave-hearted diver, excursions to North Horn for the famous shark feed, where you can expect to encounter whitetips, grey whalers, silvertips and the occasional hammerhead.
Seafront villas from US$372 per person/room/night l Underwater room from US$750 per person/room/night l www.themantaresort.com/the-resort/
FLY KQ to Dar es Salaam daily and join with codeshare partners Precision Air to fly to Zanzibar
3) The Seychelles: The Garden of Eden Paradise Sun resort, Praslin
This sparkling gem of a resort lies on the north-easterly side of Praslin, the second-largest island of the unspoiled Seychelles archipelago. The pristine white coral sands of the Côte d’Or Beach, aquamarine waters and tropical gardens draw divers and non-divers alike from every corner of the world to discover the Vallée de Mai, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and according to legend, the original Garden of Eden.
The resort is rich in the spirit of the Seychelles, with creole influence clearly evident in the design of each of the exotic rooms. Accommodation consists of 70 superior rooms and 10 deluxe/family rooms all set in lush tropical gardens facing the azure waters of the Indian Ocean.
Divers flock to this resort to marvel at the unique formation of granite boulders beneath the water, and to gaze upon coral gardens rich in every colour of the rainbow. Here you can discover an unspoiled aquatic heaven filled with turtles, whitetips, nurse sharks, grey reef sharks, the awe-inspiring whale shark, sting rays and some 900 other species of fish.
Diving packages including accommodation and daily dives from US$608 per night l www.private-island-seychelles.com
FLY KQ to Victoria four times a week
4) Kenya: back to your roots Diani Marine Divers Village, Kenya
Any place that calls itself a ‘diving village’ means serious scuba business. The village boasts an array of accommodation to suit every budget, from the recently upgraded resort rooms to luxurious private villas. Scuba-crazy couples can even get married underwater before retiring to the lavish Honeymoon Suite (complete with private rooftop hot tub over-looking the Shimba Hills).
All the rooms are spacious and designed to give you luxury and quality whilst maintaining the traditional ‘African experience’. For those after a little more indulgence, the prestigious Colobus Villa faces the breathtaking white sands and turquoise seas. Its large verandah allows guests to dine with a view.
The onsite diving centre encourages guests to discover the warm and inviting waters, which offer good diving all-year-round and are home to a wealth of protected marine reserves such as the Watamu Marine National Park. Lucky divers might encounter turtles, manta rays and even the whale shark, depending on the time of year.
Tree Villa daily rate for 2 adults from US$240 l Honeymoon daily rate for 2 adults from US$240 l Village accommodation from US$53 per person/night. l www.dianimarine.com
FLY KQ to Mombasa
5) South Africa: wild one Rocky Bay Lodge, South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal
If you’re looking to dive something a little different, the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal offers an experience quite unlike its African counterparts. Rocky Bay Lodge makes for an ideal base, being conveniently situated less than an hour away from Durban and easily accessible from Johannesburg. Surrounded by golden beaches and indigenous forests, this resort makes for an all-year-round prime holiday destination for both scuba fanatics and landlubbers.
The venue is basic yet well equipped and offers accommodation to suit all needs, from one-bedroom log cabins to a spacious four-bedroom apartment. There’s also an onsite caravan park, so that those looking to holiday on a shoestring won’t miss out on the unrivalled sea views and large inviting pool that overlooks the rugged coastline.
The homely, self-contained log cabins each have a private deck and braai area, as well as an outside shower to rinse off after an exhilarating day of diving. Attracting scuba enthusiasts from all over the world, this destination is one of the few places in KZN to offer shark cage diving. While many people associate this adrenalin-fuelled activity with the cold waters of Gaansbaai in Cape Town, and its great whites, the warmer waters of Natal offer many different species of shark such as blacktips, spinners and the legendary tiger and Zambezi sharks.
One-bedroom Log Cabins from US$78 l Three-bedroom Executive Log Cabins from US$131 l www.rockybay.co.za/1
FLY KQ to Johannesburg