This page have been written in collaboration with jmf38 (3 spots)

The black sand beach of Plage Gouéla shares the same features as much more famous N’Gouja (located approximately 3 miles away), but it is much quieter. Its reef drop-off is rich with life and well preserved and spotting green sea turtles is common, but the underwater visibility is sometimes bad.

Snorkeling with green sea turtles at Plage Gouéla, Mayotte

How to get there?

Gouéla Beach is located on a small peninsula on southwest Mayotte, between Boueni Bay and Mzouazia Bay. By car, from Mamoudzou and the north, the shortest route is to follow the signs for Chirongui, then for Mzouazia (CCD4), and to finish for Bouéni (CCD6). The beach is located at the south entrance of the village, in front of the football field. There is a parking lot on the side of the road, near the path leading to the beach (2 minutes walk).

Water entrance

You can enter the water anywhere along the sandy beach. Once you are in the water, swim towards the reef. At low tide, because of the shallowness of the water, recommend you to wear water shoes to avoid any injuries.

Gouela Beach snorkeling map, Mayotte

Exploration

The area to explore covers a wide area between the beach and the reef drop-off some 200 meters away. Starting from the beach, you will see a sandy seabed for the first 20 or 30 meters (↕4-8ft/1-2m). Coral formations then progressively appear (↕4-8ft/1-2m), until you reach the drop-off (↕30ft/10m).

Snorkeling at Plage Gouéla, Mayotte

On the drop-off, the seabed is exceptional. In the presence of the density and variety of the underwater life here, sometimes you will not know which way to look. Swim along the reef edge and, here and there, you will surely spot a reef triggerfish, a powder blue tang, a moray hidden in rocky crevices or small groups of skunk clownfish “playing” in their anemone.

In this area, like elsewhere in Mayotte Island, you have good chances to meet green sea turtles, especially in the rocky area on the south tip of the beach. However, if you want to be sure to meet those fascinating and friendly creatures, head instead to N’Gouja beach where they are particularly numerous and used to human presence.

Plage Gouéla reef, Mayotte

Restaurants and accommodation

The only accommodation available close to the site is La Case Robinson bungalows, which overlooks the beach. In the village of Bouéni, a 5 to 10 minute walk away by the shortest path, you will find more options.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Plage Gouéla
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Green sea turtle Chelonia mydas  
Skunk clownfish Amphiprion akallopisos  
Green Chromis Chromis viridis  
Chevron butterflyfish Chaetodon trifascialis  
Sulphur damsel Pomacentrus sulfureus  
Sixbar wrasse Thalassoma hardwicke  
Blue sea star Linckia laevigata  
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus  
Black-sided hawkfish Paracirrhites forsteri  
Acanthaster pourpre Acanthaster planci  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaParc naturel marin de Mayotte
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m on the reef flat, 30ft/10m on the reef drop-off
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach. Can be tricky at low tide.
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

Sea turtle watching in Mayotte

snorkeling-turtle

Sea turtles are a familiar sight in Plage Gouéla. In order to be a responsible snorkeler, be sure to respect the following rules when observing them:

  1. Do not attempt to touch or ride sea turtles
  2. Stay at a distance (6 to 10ft) from sea turtles
  3. Do not chase a turtle swimming away
  4. Avoid sudden movement and allow sea turtles plenty of space when they come up to the surface to breathe

If you love snorkeling with sea turtle, N’Gouja Beach is by far the best spot to encounter them on the island.

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.