Zanzibar marine parks
Zanzibar 's natural abundance sustains bio diversity worthy of any East African destination, with Marine parks for the protection of its natural resources.
The Zanzibar Coast is fortunate in having one of the best deep sea fishing in Zanzibar Islands and the the Indian Ocean. Not only is there a wide variety of top sporting game fish, but there is also a variety of sea life to be observed.
In Chumbe Island’s, coral reefs and biodiversity are so well preserved. Chumbe Coral Park is the first of many marine parks created East Africa. It also has an education centre, a terrestrial Nature Trail and an “Eco-lodge” for accommodation.
A Conservation Zone surrounds Mnemba Island also supports a variety of aquatic creatures and plant life. The zone provides a nesting site for the endangered Green Turtle. The zone is located in northeast of Unguja Island just 10km from stone town. There is an exclusive accommodation facility for the tourist on the island.
Misali Island lying within the Pemba Channel Conservation Area has been a popular destination from the seventeenth century when pirates used the island as a safe hiding place for their booty &andsh; the lost treasure of the infamous Captain Kidd is still thought to be buried somewhere on the island. The present allure of Misali is due its natural treasures beautiful coral reefs, coloured by a myriad of jewel-like fish; an open forest which is home to the rare Fischer`s Turaco a dazzling green forest bird, vervet monkeys and the nocturnal bat known as the Pemba flying fox. The island and its coastal waters can be explored following established nature trails which have been designed to lead the visitor through the most impressive of the islands wonders. Misali water have now been declared as an Marine Conservation Areas, in which fishing is controlled. The regulations also provide for the western reefs to be totally non-fished, providing a sanctuary for breeding fish and a wonderful location for snorkeling in Zanzibar. A small fee is levied on visitors, which will support a community development fund for the Misali fishermen.
Menai bay Conservation area is located southwest of Unguja Island, this 470sq km marine and coastal area is a traditional Zanzibar fishing ground, containing extensive tropical fish species, sea grasses, coral reefs and several small islets supporting mangrove forest.
All marine parks are popular diving and best snorkeling in Zanzibar offering underwater cliffs, wrecks, canyons, caves and spectacular reefs where visibility is normally in excess of 20m. The aquatic life within these waters is often very prolific and one usually sees moray eels, scorpion fish, lion fish, large groupers, octopus, lobsters, rays and, occasionally, and manta rays and dolphins.
Education and awareness programs, for local and visitors alike, are deemed a very important and necessary part of the management plan of the parks. Environmentally friendly tourism and other economic incentives are being developed to help sustain the resource explotatation at all.