Adventure Beaches

Hidden Secrets of Mbudya Island Snorkelling in Dar es Salaam

mbudya island snorkelling
Written by See Africa Today

Mbudya Island snorkelling exploits are worth considering if you plan a holiday to Tanzania. The island gives a Zanzibar-like vibe while still in Dar es Salaam.

Clear waters of the island topped by clean and quiet beaches make Mbudya a popular destination for holidaymakers. Its remoteness serves as another interesting bit of visiting the island.  Before revisiting Zanzibar, head out to this beach and see the other side of Tanzania.

Where is Mbudya Island?

Mbuya Island is in Kinondoni region situated in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. This beach island is an isolated place without human habitation and is only reachable by boat. But not before passing through some bushy tracks which is an amazing experience for nature lovers.

Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve is in charge of the island which is a protected area.  No residences are allowed on the entire beach to reduce human encroachment and retain its most natural form. Tourists enjoy day trips and return to Kinondoni’s habitable areas when the sun sets. There are three islands on either side namely:

  • Bongoyo Island – south
  • Fungu Yasin – north
  • Pangavini Island – west
Where is Mbudya Island

Mbudya Island in Dar es Salaam’s Kinondoni District. It’s in a secluded and protected area. There are no people living within the island to protect its fauna and coral reef which is easily damaged by human activities such as fishing. Photo/Tanzania Tourism

A board ride lasting for 15 minutes from Kinondoni takes you to the island’s hub. Boat operators have an operating base at Msasani slipway and Mbezi where White Sands Beach Resort is located.

How Good is Mbudya Island Snorkelling?

Mbudya Island snorkelling is fantastic. It’s the biggest marine activity behind the fame that this island commands. The calm and turquoise waters in this part of the Indian Ocean charm you to a round of snorkelling while on a day trip. Tour guides in Dar es Salaam always recommend a tour to Mbduya for a unique beach experience.

Coral reefs present a unique ecology which fascinates marine explorers. Corals support the existence of coloured fish species feeding on the corals. Snorkelling is easy to learn and amateurs also enjoy a round of underwater exploration.

The beach island has designated snorkelling spots with warm waters and depths of at least 15 metres. Scuba diving is also a popular sport for tourists with extensive training and certification for this. Mbudya Island lets scuba divers swim beneath waves a little further into the Indian Ocean.  Deeper parts of the oceans have distinct and exciting marine life.

Other wonders to enjoy include:

  • Swimming and sunbathing
  • Boating
  • Bird watching

How Much is the Ferry from Dar es Salaam to Mbudya Island?

It costs $17 per person for a two-way ferry ride to the island from Dar es Salaam. Travellers can also choose a boat which is faster than a ferry and carries fewer people. There is also a marine reserve fee for every tourist visiting the island. Locals are charged $8 while foreigners pay $20.

How Much is the Ferry from Dar es Salaam to Mbudya Island

Boat and ferry rides are the main transport modes to Mbudya Island. Photo/YouTube/MyTravel Menu

Seafood lovers enjoy a hearty meal while admiring the island’s beauty under palm tree shades or the restaurant’s thatched huts. As a protected area, unlicensed cameras and drones are not allowed.

However, you can take beautiful photos here with a smartphone. Other things that are not allowed include fishing and human settlement. Although snorkelling drives a lot of tourists to the island, local authorities have a valid reason for disallowing human habitation.

Human settlement could negatively impact the existence of fauna on the island through fishing.  It’s for this reason that only day trips are allowed as there are no lodges or hotels on this island providing accommodation to tourists.

Mbudya Island Snorkelling Price

Snorkelling gear consisting of fins and snorkels costs $15 when hiring the equipment. Alternatively, book an all-inclusive safari to Dar es Salaam which takes care of everything.  The tour includes a one-day trip to Mbudya and caters for your entrance fee and costs for preferred activities.

Zanzibar is the most popular holiday destination in Tanzania and East Africa. But Dar es Salaam is also an amazing destination known to few wanderlusts. Mbudya tops the list of the stunning beaches in the city though it’s secluded. It’s worth adding to your bucket list.

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