Mayotte is the hidden gem of Southwestern Indian Ocean. This small French island is surrounded by a 1,500 square kilometers lagoon, the largest in Indian Ocean. Home to dolphins, whales, manta rays and dugong, it is considered one of the most beautiful snorkeling destination in southwestern Indian Ocean. From sea turtles to anemonefish, to giant clams and amazing displays of soft coral all along the reefs, there is a vast array of marine life to expect just below the surface.
Mayotte is situated in the Comoros archipelago, in the Mozambique Channel. The island is surrounded by a barrier reef over 100 miles long. Its warm waters, protected by ocean currents, are home to very varied underwater sea life.
There are turtles, dolphins, and whales from July to October. There is also plethora of fish (over 800 species) and coral (300 species), as well as the extremely rare dugong. There are less than twenty individual recorded animals around Mayotte.
The island has a wide variety of snorkeling spots. You will probably start by exploring the seagrass beds and reef drop-offs that are easily accessible from the beaches. The most famous is N’Gouja, an excellent place to observe green turtles.
But you shouldn’t leave without taking an excursion by boat, which is the only way to reach the islets and reefs scattered throughout the lagoon, Ilots Choizil, Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord, etc. Check out the immense barrier reef lying several miles from the coast, interspersed with channels.
With an average temperature of 75°F (24°C) in the lagoon, snorkeling is possible in Mayotte all year round. From October to March, during the southern summer, temperatures are high (85-90°F/29-33°C on average), and rains are abundant with a peak in January-February.
After heavy rain, the coastal waters are charged with sediment, making visibility poorer. From April to September, temperatures are cooler (74-79°F/23-26°C) and the waters are generally clear, but the wind is more common.
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You can’t miss them at N’Gouja beach, which is the best spot to see sea turtles in Mayotte; also found at Plage Gouéla and Tahiti Plage
Frequently sighted at Ilots Choizil, Tahiti Plage and N’Gouja
Common, particularly on reef drop offs
Found all around the island; common on patch reefs (Ilots Choizil, Ilot de Sable Blanc du Nord…)
On all reef spots
On all spots
Often seen on N’Gouja beach reef drop off
Marine reserve with a vibrant reef drop off and many sea turtles
Level: Free shore access Resort nearby
Sand bank edged by a coral reef
Small islets fringed by a vibrant coral reef
Reef drop off and sea turtles
Level: Free shore access
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