Level: Free shore access This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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If the coral reefs of Zanzibar are widely known for their abundance of sea stars, you will rarely see as many of these cute creatures as on Starfish spot, near Pingwe. Populated by hundreds of multicolored stars, this shallow area makes it easy to observe 5 different species, as well as small fish and critters.
Starfish snorkeling spot is located on Pingwe reef flat, roughly opposite Kichanga Lodge. It is a popular stop for boat tours in the Pingwe/Dongwe area. It is easy to book a tour with your hotel or with the fishermen present on the beach.
Seasoned snorkelers might consider reaching Starfish with a 400 meters swim from the beach at low tide, but make sure to locate the spot well, not to go alone, and to use a dive flag to be seen by boats and jet skis.
If you are on a tour, you will enter the water from the boat ladders. If you explore it on your own, get into the water from the beach, in front of the snorkeling area.
Starfish snorkeling spot extends over a hundred meters wide and features a mix of sand, seagrass, and small coral heads. The depth varies from 3 to 6 feet/1 to 2 meters depending on the tides.
At this location, starfish densities are very high. In places, you will see dozens of sea stars over a few square meters. The most common starfish is the multicolored knobbed starfish, which can be green, bluish, yellowish, brown, or orange.
Other (less common) starfish species can also be seen at this location, including the red-knobbed starfish, the honeycomb sea star, the blue starfish, as well as the cushion sea star, more discreet.
Around the small coral scattered on the sand, you might occasionally spot a Valentinni’s sharpnose puffer, a Moorish Idol, or small communities of threespot dascyllus. Seagrasses are also popular with sea urchins, such as the collector sea urchin, the flower sea urchin and the black sea urchin.
Several hotels are located along the beach facing the lagoon, including Kichanga Lodge, Karafuu Beach Resort & Spa, Ras Michamvi Beach Resort and Pearl Beach by Sansi.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Shallow lagoon with a diversity of reef fish and invertebrates
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Level: Resort nearby
Shallow coral beds with reef fish and sea stars
Level: Free shore access
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Shallow seagrass beds dotted with rocks and coral patches
Sand and seagrass plateau with small coral and fish