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Are you looking for the ultimate eco-tourism in Zanzibar, the most beautiful living coral reef around the island, a cast-away experience in the coolest eco-bungalow you'll ever see or do you want to see the enormous coconut crabs? Or do you simply want to contribute to nature conservation while learning about marine life? Then I highly recommend a visit to Chumbe Island.
Check out more information, availability and rates on their website.
Tourism is often harmful to the planet (the flight alone…), but there are also examples that show that responsible eco-tourism can actually contribute to nature conservation. When I travel, I always look for those examples!
Chumbe Island Coral Park is, in my opinion, the perfect example of how successful this can be! For me also the absolute highlight of Zanzibar. It is a MPA (Marine Protected Area) on a private island with a vital coral reef and a mangrove forest.
On the island they built seven beautiful, fully self-sustaining eco-bungalows with solar panels, compost toilets and an ingenious system to collect and store rainwater. The windows and shades are controlled with pulleys, which makes it feel like the coolest treehouse (that is still highly comfortable and gorgeously decorated with mosaic, that is to say). This was by far the coolest eco-bungalow I've ever slept in!
Also not unimportant to me: the food. The chefs on Chumbe Island will prepare you delicious meals during your visit. The highly varied buffet offers more than enough delicious vegan options and even vegan desserts, including this vegan cake! First time we found that in Zanzibar. In the evening, you dine under the moonlight by the fire, where you are served a delicious three-course meal again.
As a visitor, you are educated from start to finish about the coral, the mangrove and the HUGE 45cm high and one meter !!) wide coconut crabs that crawl out of the forest after sunset and you will go look for with your guide after dinner. The snorkelling is done under strict supervision and in limited time. In the afternoon, you can go on a guided forest walk and climb to the top of the lighthouse, providing a stunning view.
Thanks to the income from this eco-tourism, on which they are completely dependent, they can protect and restore this sanctuary and involve the local community. For example, they invite schools to their Education Center for educational excursions and lessons on conservation, they work with local fishermen who in turn also benefit when they respect the protected area, they buy everything locally and offer employment as patrolling rangers to the area. Unfortunately, that is necessary day and night.
And it works! Although the sharks around Zanzibar were completely wiped out (which most locals think is a good thing), the blacktips have returned to Chumbe after many years! Sharks are crucial for a healthy, vital reef. We saw many adult sharks, but also many juvenile sharks, showing they are reproducing here again!
Chumbe has already won many awards for their efforts and Jane Goodall also supports it. An absolute must for any nature lover that has the chance.