Marine Parks & Reserves

Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves

(Fungu Yasini, Mbudya, Bongoyo and Pangavini Islands)

The Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves are unique for many reasons – their proximity to the city, potential biodiversity and richness, good scenic diving and snorkelling sites, marine birds and dolphin viewing. Occasionally hunchback whales are also spotted in the deep waters around the reserves from May to August. The islands are open to visitors during the day and have bandas (to keep you out of the sun), information boards and nature trails. Drinks and freshly cooked fish can be purchased from local community members, who also serve as tour guides and rangers. The reserve system consists of nine uninhabited islands, four north of Dar es Salaam (Bongoyo, Mbudya, Pangavini and Fungu Yasini) and five south of the city (Inner and Outer Makatumbe, Inner and Outer Sinda and Kendwa Island). It provides protection for several important tropical ecosystems; coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds.

Bongoyo Island MR

Bongoyo Island lies close to Msasani Peninsula in dare s Salaam city, about 30 minute by boat ride from the city mainland. Attractions are Marine species (sand beaches (beach I and II), coral reefs, sea grass beds, rocky shores, lagoons (shark lagoon) and algal beds), Plants and animals (Two species of hawksbill (eretmochely imbricata) and green turtles chilonea), Lagoon Cave & Sharks (plenty of snorkeling opportunities in places like Shark’s Lagoon Cave that was named after young sharks that swim along the shores hunting for octopies) and Hiking.

Mbudya Island MR

Mbudya Island (simply Mbudya) is an uninhabited island in Tanzania; it is usually a popular daytrip for both tourists and Tanzanian residents alike, serving as a location for a variety of leisure activities, including snorkeling, sunbathing and hiking. There are hereby sand beaches on the western and eastern sides. On the western side, it is possible to have barbecued fish with chips and drinks. There is plenty of shade under the casuarina trees. It’s a home of Crabs, Snorkeling, Diving, hiking and sunbathing, it is also a home rare coconut crabs.

Pangavini Island MR

Pangavini Island is an uninhabited island in the Zanzibar Channel in Tanzania, north of Dar es Salaam. Pangavini Island is an important breeding, resting, nesting and feeding site to a variety of rats, birds and reptiles . There is also an assortment of insects including butterflies.

Fungu Yasini Island MR

Fungu Yasini Island (or simply Fungu Yasini) is an uninhabited island in Tanzania, north of Dar es Salaam. It is about three miles offshore in the Indian Ocean (Zanzibar Channel).

Chumbe Island Marine Sanctuary

Chumbe offers some of the most pristine and colourful coral reefs in the world, with over 200 species of coral providing a sanctuary for more than 400 species of colourful fish. To protect these coral reefs, diving is not permitted in the marine park. The reef is shallow enough to see everything very clearly with a mask, snorkel and fins. There is also a coral-rag forest, which is home to the endangered Ader’s Duiker, giant Coconut Crabs, hermit crabs and a variety of bird species. Knowledgeable guides take guests on daily snorkelling and forest tours. Chumbe Island contains a lighthouse (which is still operational and was built by the British in 1904), a ruined mosque and the lighthouse keeper’s house, is now converted into a spectacular education centre and restaurant.

Mafia Island MP

Mafia Island, located 120 km south of Dar es Salaam, is surrounded by some of the richest reefs in the world, with over 50 types of corals and 400 species of fish identified so far. Mafia’s best diving is at depths less than 30 m where you can see most kinds of tropical marine habitats, including exposed fringing reefs, rock walls, soft coral and algae dominated reefs. Large predatory fish and turtles are common and mostly unaffected by approaching divers. Chole Bay, Mafia’s deep-water anchorage, is part of the protected marine park. The diving here is amongst the most spectacular in the world and includes colourful coral gardens, walls at various levels and many shelves and coral heads. The park covers the Southern part of Mafia Island and includes the inhabited islands of Chole, Juani, Jibondo and Bwejuu and several uninhabited islets and the associated waters. Mafia Island marine Park (MIMP) consists of eight small reserves along the Tanzanian coast, two of these are Chole Bay and Kitutia Reef.

Maziwe Island MR

Maziwe Island Marine Reserve, situated 15 nautical miles east of Pangani, has over 350 fish species, 35 genera of coral and exceptional bird life. Maziwe Island was designated a reserve in the 1970s due to erosion caused from firewood collecting. The island now only emerges from the sea at low tide and is an ideal place for swimming, snorkelling, diving and sunbathing. It was established in 1975 and given a status of a Reserve to protect this most important breeding place for sea turtles of the East Africa Coast as well as to take care of the important reef system around. Some of Maziwe island’s attractions are; Fishes (200 species of fish and 35 kinds of coral reefs), birds (on the island and around), and underwater adventures it is among the best diving destinations along the Eastern African Coast with a wide variety of underwater marine life.

Menai Bay CA

In the southwest of Zanzibar Island, near Fumba to the west and Unguja Ukuu to the east, Menai Bay is a sea-turtle breeding area and also encompasses several coral reefs, an abundance of marine life and dense mangrove forests. It is also famous for its Humpback and Bottlenose Dolphins. It extends from the southwest corner of Zanzibar Island encompassing several small islands and sand banks each with its own spectacular coral reef. Traditional boats make regular trips for snorkelling on the reefs, picnics on the islands and the star attraction of swimming with dolphins and whales.

Misali Island CA

Misali Island, located just west of Pemba, has some of the highest recorded coral cover, and high species diversity with 40 genera of coral and 350 fish species. The 1 square kilometer of terrestrial area supports endangered nesting turtles, and the dense coastal thickets harbour populations of green monkeys, the endangered and endemic Pemba Flying Fox, globally endangered Coconut Crabs and various species of birds. Economically, fishing at Misali provides direct livelihood support to 11,400 people. There is a non-extraction zone that covers part of the total conservation area. Recreational activities such as diving and snorkelling, passage and scientific research are permitted within the non-extraction zone, but any type of activity that depletes the area’s natural resources is not allowed (such as fishing or shell and coral collecting).

Mnazi Bay – Ruvuma Estuary MP

The Mnazi Bay – Ruvuma Estuary Marine Park, located in southern Tanzania, on the Mozambique border, is home to important populations of whales, dolphins, four species of turtle and numerous birds. The area is recognised as being internationally important for its biodiversity, with mangroves, sea grass beds and coral reefs inhabiting the island. There are 12 villages in the area and it is hoped that visitors to the marine park will help the local economy of this area, one of the poorest and least developed in Tanzania. Some of the best diving in Tanzania are found within the Marine Park and includes spectacular outer reef drop offs, extensive spur and groove formations, channel and patch reefs. Over 400 species of fish have been identified and more species of coral (over 258) than anywhere else on the East African Coast.

Mnemba Island CA

Mnemba Island is located about 4.5 km off the northeastern tip of Zanzibar Island. The island is 1.5 km in circumference and is surrounded by spectacular coral reefs. Turtles lay and hatch their eggs all year round and there is excellent diving and snorkelling. The only human inhabitants of the island are the staff and guests staying at the exclusive, luxury lodge.T

Tanga Coelacanth MP

Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park (TACMP) is located on the northern coastline of Tanzania. It extends for 100 km along the coastline from north of Pangani River estuary to Mafuriko village just north of Tanga City. The Park covers an area of about 552 km² of which 85 km² are terrestrial and 467 km² are aquatic . It includes the bays of Tanga City and Mwambani, Tongoni estuary, and three small islands of Toten, Yambe and Karange. The uniqueness of the park includes: the occurrence and high rates of incidental catches of the CITES – listed and iconic Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae . TACMP is also a home to other endangered species like dugong, sea turtles and migratory water birds. The dugong was 1st sighted in 2006 off Kigombe.

Toten Island

Toten Island is located in Tanga Bay directly opposite Tanga Harbour. The island is covered by a lush coastal forest with huge baobab trees and has also ruins of early settlements. When the Portuguese controlled part of the coast, Toten Island seems to have been used for a prison. Later, according to historical records, the island was around 1854 occupied by a considerable number of inhabitants. Islamic monochrome and Chinese blue and white shards mostly of the 15th, 16th and late 18th and 19th centuries have been found here. There are also ruins of two mosques and German tombs of the turn of 19th century, as well as foundations and ruins of buildings of the German colonial era, when Toten Island served as a quarantine station and European graveyard, thus its name ‘Toten Island’, which is German for ‘island of the dead’.

Yambe Island

Yambe Island borders the southeast coast of Tanga Bay opposite of the Ras Nyamakuu peninsula. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and totally covered by coastal rag and mangrove forests. Uninhabited today, German records of the 19th century mention a small resident village of a local Arab ruler with his slaves. Maybe from his time or earlier, the island has ruins hidden in the forest, a walled grave and pillar tomb with large panels, enclosed by stones decorated with a herringbone pattern (sometimes found in ‘mihrabs’ of mosques) and a frieze of small panels.