Diving in Mayotte

Diving in Mayotte seemed to me to be part of a dream a little distant until August 2018. On this date, invited to go there, I flew from Paris to this small island that had long made me dream.

The ultimate goal besides diving with turtles, enjoying a wonderful lagoon (one of the largest in the world) and tasting local specialties was to observe humpback whales.

Barely the feet resting on this rock at the end of the world, it is the crossing with the ferry to Grande terre that gives the atmosphere: a sweet mix between France and Africa. What I like about it.

Panneaux indiquant les directions vers les grandes régions du monde

Indications | © Different Dive

Pour aller plonger à Mayotte, il faut d'abord rejoindre Grande Terre en prenant le ferry

Ferry | © Different Dive

As I only have 10 days to discover diving in Mayotte, I choose not to dwell on Mamoudzou. My program is divided into four zones: East, South, Central and West.

Four zones including three at the coast for good reasons to come diving in Mayotte.

La passe en S à Mayotte vue du ciel

Plonger dans la passe en S | © Different Dive

La plage de N'Gouja vue du ciel

L’immense plage de N’gouja | © Different Dive

La plage de M'tsamboro, un bon départ pour plonger avec les baleines ?

M’Tsamboro | © Different Dive

Diving in Mayotte: in the East, the S pass

The famous S pass, visible curiosity of the plane, makes divers and diver dream.

A long sea channel of about 2 kilometers that connects the Indian Ocean to the lagoon of Mayotte, it is one of the 12 passes of the island and takes its name from its singular shape in S. Part of a protected complex of about 1400 hectares, the Pass in S is the delight of the scuba divers. 17 anchor buoys are placed there to explore the site from different points allowing the observation of groupers, there turtles,…

Offering varying depths from a few meters to about sixty meters, the S pass is accessible to a wide audience of enthusiasts. Large drop-offs, drift dives, varied flora and fauna… She’s got something to seduce.

What to see in scuba diving: turtles, groupers, rays, nudibranchs, napoleons, reef fish including angel fish, clown fish, lion fish, balists, … And even sharks with a little luck. All in the middle of corals.

But if you pass by, do not hesitate to discover other spots as well. Like those of the falling of the aviators and the islets Bandrélé.

[ Discover my experience and my best addresses ➡️ the S pass and the drop of the aviators ]

Des plongeurs sur une petite épave à l'îlot Bandrélé

Petite épave près de l’îlot Bandrélé | © Different Dive

Une belle anémone rouge avec ses poissons clowns dans les fonds marins de Mayotte

Bien cachés là à vous regarder | © Different Dive

Un plongeur explore le tombant des aviateurs à Mayotte

Exploration | © Different Dive

La squille multicolore est jolie à observer... ne pas s'approcher

Squille | © Different Dive

Diving in Mayotte: south, N’Gouja and the Sada and Boat passes

Very well known for its concentration of sea turtles especially on the beach of N’Gouja, the South of Mayotte is for me a real must for scuba diving.

The Sada and Boat passes leave me with an incredible memory that lasts long after leaving these wonderful places. Dolphins playing around us, incredible drop-offs, whale song that accompanies diving, … And turtles who don’t know where to look anymore. The magic works.

[ Discover my experience and my best addresses ➡️ The South of Mayotte ]

Une tortue marine arrive au milieu de la plage

La tortue laisse des traces de son passage | © Different Dive

Une merveilleuse anémone rouge.

toute de rouge vêtue | © Different Dive

In the centre: the forest relay

It’s hard for me to write an article about my stay in Mayotte without mentioning this wonderful passage at the Forestier Relay.

A kind of haven of peace nestled in the heart of the mountain… the relay is held by a couple of enthusiasts. Ask them to explain the cinnamon tree, the cocoa tree, the banana trees, …

See wild lemurs snacking on leftover fruit in the morning and little lizards feasting on your breakfast.

Rest in the comfortable rooms and fall asleep in the silence of the night. But beware, for some rooms, the stairs are numerous. You have to earn your night.

Stop time, just for a moment. Just for the pleasure of feeling in communion with this extraordinary environment. And get back on track.
Le relais forestier représente une belle halte à faire lorsque l'on va plonger à Mayotte

Le Relais Forestier à Mayotte | © Different Dive

Lorsque l'on va plonger àMayotte, on peut avoir tout le loisir d'observer en surface des petits lémuriens.

De grands yeux curieux | © Different Dive

Diving in Mayotte, west, M T’sambaro and the whales

I had originally planned a day of dives with the Happy Divers club. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I had to cancel.

However, I must admit that, if there is one club that I have heard a lot about during my exchanges with the people of Mayotte, it is this one. So it’s impossible for me to tell you more about diving in the West with them (I think it’s the only club in this area) but their reputation seems well entrenched on the island.

The west of the island is also popular for its whales. Many operators sail the waters, departing from Mamoudzou, in search of cetaceans.

[ Discover my experience ➡️ Encounter with whales]

Le jour se couche sur M'Tsamboro après une journée où l'on a plonger avec les baleines à Mayotte

Coucher de soleil sur M’Tsamboro | © Different Dive

Diving in Mayotte

Diving in Mayotte keeps their promises. Hot water with decent to very correct visibility. Life abounds (especially in the passes of the South). The opportunity to hear whales sing underwater and meet them if you’re lucky. An observation of sea turtles at all stages and everywhere.

As far as diving centres are concerned, I was satisfied with my choices. A downside however when I saw a member of a club smoking on the boat and throwing his butts into the sea. When you work in a dive centre, which is also in such a wonderful environment, it should no longer exist!
Une tortue se laisse aller paisible dans le courant de la passe en S et est photographié par un plongeur venu plonger à Mayotte

A la dérive ? | © Different Dive

In summary (and you’ll like it)

Un crabe porcelaine peut être aperçu si vous allez plonger au Sud de Mayotte

Fragile ? Magnifique crabe porcelaine | © Different Dive

Staying in Mayotte

Mayotte are full-of-a-view colours, locals drying their clothes by the roadside, small restaurants tickling our nostrils at noon. But also lemurs that roam the electric wires even in the middle of the city, redheads that announce the end of the day, adorable little lizards and birds that make us happy with their melodious songs

Some will say that the island is dirty. It is true that on the outskirts of Mamoudzou, rubbish litters the ground everywhere. However, a lot of outreach seems to be being done and the south of the island seemed much cleaner (unless I got used to it).

If there is a great regret that I had during my visit on this beautiful island it is probably that I could not visit it from the inside. Not to have climbed the mountain … to admire the view. Everywhere we went, the speech was the same: Don’t venture into the wild without a local guide at the risk of making you at least uncover. The stories and testimonies heard cooled us downright (I remember this medical student who told us about her friend’s misadventure). Of course, this permanent feeling of insecurity outside tourist facilities is clearly not pleasant. However, another downside is the price: plane, accommodation, dives… It is therefore also necessary to provide a substantial budget to get to Mayotte.

However, in the end, it is a positive and enchanted memory that remains. The dives are beautiful. The favorable climate and the water temperature just perfect. As on other islands, the feeling of being “outside the world” seduces me.

Plonger à Mayotte permet de découvrir aussi des paysages sur l'île de toutes beauté.

M’Tsambaro | © Different Dive

Diving in Mayotte, have you ever been there? Are you going to go there?

Tell me your thoughts in a comment below

And above all… remember to be happy 🤗

Hélène