Home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, snow-capped Piton de Fournaise, Réunion is a little-known gem. This rocky,French-governed island off the coast of East Africa is easily explored by. The road into the mountains provides breath taking scenery. Bike tours on rough back roads are an option for the brave and the extremely fit. Beyond the reach of cars, the untamed village Cirque de Mafate shows the island’s wildest side Just 200km West of Mauritius, Réunion is one of the very few Island destinations that allows you to experience total relaxation and extraordinary adventure in a single journey.
It is possible to dive all year round in the tropics. Winter, from May to September, is the peak season for swell coming from the South and from June to September the whales come to Reunion Island. The water is at its coolest in winter (23°C to 26°C) but the unique song of the cetaceans is sure to warm up your excursions! In summer, Jan and Feb and occasionally into middle march can be very windy. The water temperature can reach up to 30°C in December and diving in a shorty in summer is the best option. This is the period when the reef is richest in life with predators and clouds of juvenile fish! If you love tranquillity, the months of November and December, and especially May to June, will be most appropriate.
In Mayotte, the indisputable starBESIDES the LEMURS is the lagoon, one of the largest and richest in the world. Mayotte is one of the few islands to have a double barrier reef. The big barrier that separates the lagoon from the sea is an unforgettable diving spot.
Mayotte is largely undiscovered by tourists, and even those within the scuba diving world. Thus, new dive sites are yet to be discovered in the world’s largest lagoon and double barrier reef that surrounds Mayotte and its islets. Types of diving include drift diving, shark diving, reef diving, shore diving, night diving, and even children’s diving. From beginner to advanced, there are dive sites suitable for all divers in Mayotte, so everyone will surely feel welcomed by the warm blue waters.
Marine life within Mayotte’s lagoon includes many species of predatory fish such as mackerels and jacks, to shoals of smaller fish. The reefs are also abundant in eels, sharks, turtles, rays, and corals–including brain coral.
Mayotte has about a dozen marked dive sites within the lagoon’s double barrier reef, some of which are only known by the local operators. Each year, divers are discovering new and exciting dive sites, which currently sprinkle the island on nearly all sides. Dive sites can be found in the Northwest, around the many islets, and along Mayotte’s East Central coastline. Some are accessible right from shore, while others require a short boat ride to get to the offshore site.
Some of the favorite dive spots in Mayotte include N’Gouja, Mbouini, and Bambo Island. N’Goula is a great place to observe turtles. Only a few hundred meters from the beach, the dive site of N’gouja is a falling reef dive accessible from shore. It is located in the village of Kani-Keli. Mbouini is an island off the beach which offers interesting diving accessible by boat. Bambo Island is a playground for discovery, as it is located on the lagoon just a few hundred meters off the village of Bambo. It is accessible from the beach, although divers may compete with yacht traffic and kayaks. There are tons of tiny coves cut into the rocks, where small oysters are (watch out and don’t get cut). The black rocks are actually made of lava, which escape erosion due to their hardness. Bambo Island is one of the finest dropoffs in Mayotte.
The most popular dive spot, however, is called the “S” Pass, or Le Passe S. This passage winds (literally in the shape of an S) between the lagoon and the open sea, where the mouth of a river existed a few million years ago. There are so many nooks and crannies jam packed with the coral reef, that this dive site is a diver’s dream. Divers should note, however, that the “S” Pass lies within the protected marine reserve and hunting and fishing are strictly monitored.
Forming a portion of the barrier reef in Mayotte, the clear water of the “mini lagoon” provides at least three different navigation routes through the deep natural pool that is as shallow as 5 meters. Small white tip reef sharks frequent the lagoon, as well as eels and rays.
Other “Passes” include the Passe Bandrele – Les Ancres site. This dive is accessible by boat just 10 minutes or less off shore and the shallow dive depths of 10-18 meters (32-60 feet) make it accessible to beginners and children as well. The visibility is excellent on the lagoon dive, and there is also night dives and snorkeling available. Reef marine life is excellent, offering an abundance of creatures to follow.
M’tsangamouji is a dive site accessible via the shore in Mayotte. Due to some currents, it is both ideal for drift diving and limited to intermediate or advanced divers. The visibility is about 18 meters and the depths reach to about 45 meters. The marine life is abundant with many of fish, and occasional sharks.
Located in the nature reserve, the Maore Garden dive site is a shallow shore dive that only reaches depths of about 9-20 meters (25-60 feet). The visibility is low at times, about 1-10 meters. Sea turtles are among some of the marine life available to see at this dive site. The lagoon is famous and is among the largest in the world.
The sites of Choazil and Boa Bench are located only about 20 minutes north of Mayotte and an exciting place to watch marine life swim by. Kingfish, wahoo, tuna, sharks and reef fish are all abundant. In Choazil, depths range from 5-30 m, although deep water divers will see lion fish and other animals on the sea bottom at 50 meters. At Boa Bench, there is a plateau where blue-spotted stingrays, triggerfish, and other pelagics frequent the waters.
Located on the Northwest coast of Mayotte is one of most uniquely-named lagoon sites. The crystal clear water and white sandy beaches house a dive site appropriately named “Cocaine,” which extends from the surface down to depths of 45 meters. There are many eels as well as shoals of small fish being devoured by predators such as jacks and mackerels.
But not all sites are so interestingly named. In recent years, divers have discovered an area halfway into the lagoon where there is a underwater coral archipelago, and some divers simply call it the site of Discolored Water. The water actually appears discolored, but the visibility is good to great – up to 40 meters. Brain coral abounds, and fish include jacks, mackerels, rainbow runners and shoals of fusiliers. On the white sand, stingrays and garden eels also lurk.
As you sit on sandy shores and dive a blue lagoon, you’re likely to forget that you’re in Africa. The underwater seascape seems borderless and wide open as it spreads across the globe. Plus, wherever you go in Mayotte, the nearly 20 dive operators and well-suited tourist accommodations offer one of the most comfortable dive vacations in all of Africa. The overall experience, perhaps, can be summed in a word: lovely!
South African Passport Holders need a CTOM visa for Mayotte which is applied for at the French Embassy – No visa required for Reunion Island
UU 342 K JNBRUN DK1 1410 2000
UU 276 K RUNDZA DK1 1600 1710
UU 275 K DZARUN DK1 1515 1825
UU 341 K RUNJNB DK1 1035 1250
- Return flights on Air Austral in economy class
- Airport Taxes
- Meet & Greet
- 7 Days Car Hire – Group A – Twingo or similar with unlimited mileage – pick up from the airport and drop off at the airport ( Driver must have a credit card for the excess of EUR700)
- 7 Nights @ Iloha Seaview Resort in a std room with breakfast daily
- 6 Dives in St Leu @ Excelsus Dive Centre with cylinder and weight belt hire + FREE NITROX if certified for Nitrox
- Meet & Greet in Mayotte
- Return Airport / Hotel transfers in Mayotte
- 5 Nights’ accommodation @ OLOLO Beach Resort in a std room with breakfast daily
- 6 Dives in Mayotte @ The Jolly Roger Dive Centre with cylinder and weight belt hire:
- Return Airport / Hotel transfers in Reunion Island
- 2 Nights in St Denis @ the Juliette Dodu Hotel in a std room with breakfast
ZAR40 475 PER PERSON SHARING (Valid for travel in Low season **FEB to SEP** – subject to availability, currency and airport tax fluctuations at the time of enquiry/booking. Peak season surcharges will apply )