Hunga & Nankivell Reefs
Whereas many of the reefs are fringing reefs around the islands, Hunga and Nankivell are patch reefs located four nautical miles out to open sea. They are made up of a series of interconnected bommies consisting of hard and soft corals at a max depth of 16-18m, and they definitely rank in the best dive sites in Zanzibar! It is important to dive on the slack tide to minimise current as you will want to stay on the reef (quite different from a drift dive along a fringing reef). Due to the drop and potential for currents, be sure to let your guide know if you have any trouble equalising or need to descend slowly. Always descend/ascend with your buddy and hang on to the buoy line to stay with the group.
If you like to be surrounded in large schools of fish, then Hunga Reef is for you! Sometimes it is hard to see the corals when you encounter a large school of yellow snappers, twin stipe fusiliers or emperors. You can also expect to see parrotfish, unicorn surgeonfish, brightly coloured coral groupers, moray eels, crocadile fish and trevally coming in to feast on the small fishes. For the really lucky diver, sharks, eagle rays and even manta rays have been seen - but these sightings are quite rare.
Nearby and at a max depth of 16m, Nankivell Reef is a sister reef to Hunga. The structure is one large coral area which I sometimes imagine to be like a big roof-less house with various rooms you can go explore inside. This reef is home to rays, red-tooth triggerfish that like to sleep inside the crevices, leaffish, clown triggerfish and sometimes large groupers hanging out in the current on top of the reef.