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 can be visited for day trips or longer, staying in ‘eco-bungalows’ overlooking the Indian Ocean. 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.
All profits from tourism on Chumbe Island are reinvested into the conservation and education programs operating in the Park, and the island is staffed and managed by local Zanzibaris from the fishing community with voluntary support from overseas experts.
The work of Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd towards the sustainable management and protection of the Chumbe coral reefs has been recognized by the UN Secretary General in his report to the General Assembly on Protection of coral reefs for sustainable livelihoods and development, in preparation for the Rio+20 – United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development 4-6 June 2012. Under the heading “The role of national legislation in protecting coral reefs (including importance of inclusion of indigenous/local communities)”