Chumbe Island is a tiny coral, award-winning private nature park island, eight miles southwest by boat from Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is the first marine protected area in the world, rare wildlife forest reserve & award-winning eco-lodge. Chumbe Island and the surrounding area display an exceptional amount of biodiversity in both plant and animal life.
Tanzania’s had a military base here and restricted access to the surrounding ocean. The area’s coral remained untouched and after the military left, in 1993 the area was placed under the protection of its own marine park.
Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) CHICOP was developed in 1991 when the formerly uninhabited Chumbe Island was recognized to be one of the last pristine coral islands in the region. The reserve now includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary, forest reserve, education center and state-of-the-art ecolodge, designed to have zero impact on the environment. Besides the 81-acre coral reef — home to 90% of East Africa’s hard coral species and 400 reef fish species — rare wildlife protected on and around the island includes the coconut crab, green turtle, Ader’s duiker (antelope) and humpback whale.
In 2011 Chumbe Island became the first Global Ecosphere Retreat to be certified by The Long Run, having created a financially and ecologically sustainable park, where ecotourism supports conservation and research. Community outreach and education are at the heart of CHICOP’s approach; local fishermen are trained as park rangers and the Chumbe Environmental Education program provides free island excursions to children, teachers, community groups and government officials.
Chumbe Island Coral Park Options & Rates
How to get to Chumbe Island:
Chumbe Island Coral Park is a short boat ride away from Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar. Stone town is a 20-minute flight from Dar es Salaam.
Boat departure time to Chumbe Island is 10:00 a.m. daily from the beach of the Mbweni Ruins Hotel. Advance booking for all reservations is required. Chumbe can also pick you up from the Airport, Port or town hotels for US$ 12.
Photo credit: Iloveafrica
Chumbe Island Lodge is run by the nonprofit private company Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd (CHICOP), and staff from Zanzibari and Tanzanian who is fully engaged with the project’s aims and ethos. The ecologically-sensitive design of the lodge, it’s not only very green, but it also takes mainly local materials and building techniques to produce spectacular results. The main dining and lounge area, which also functions as an education center, is particularly impressive in the scale of its design.
The lodge is located on Chumbe Island itself, 13 km to the southwest of Stone Town. Chumbe Island’s seven bungalows were constructed by local builders using natural materials, offering visitors an open-air existence with Indian Ocean views and complete privacy. If possible, interiors, food, and drink have been sourced locally, often supporting co-operatives like the up-cycling artists at Creative Solutions. Environmental technology for each bungalow includes rainwater catchment, photovoltaic energy, composting toilets, and grey water filtration.
Chumbe has one smaller bungalow and six double-story bungalows. The ground floor is the bathroom and living area and the top floor is the bedrooms. The bathroom is extremely eco with long drop toilets. The water is all solar heated and is rainwater which gets passed through a local filtering system and pumped up. The main lodge is built in an abstract design, with an enormous makuti roof structure that hangs down on all four sides for sides of the cross-shaped roof.
The resort is open from June to March, inclusive.
- High Season Per Person/night: US$ 280, Single supplement US $100
5th June 2018 – 30th Sept 2018
16th Dec 2018 – 28th February 2019
- Low Season Per Person/night: US$ 260, Single supplement US $80
1st Oct 2018 – 15th Dec 2018
1st March 2019– 7th April 2019
- Closed: The remainder of April and May.
Children: Under 12 years – half price; Under 2 years – free of charge.
- Boat transport to and from the island on the morning transfer.
- Eco-bungalow accommodation.
- Full-board meals, sodas, water, and snacks.
- Boat, guide, and equipment for snorkeling plus tuition in snorkeling, if required.
- Guided walk through the forest trails and intertidal area (if low tide).
- Guided walk to view the endangered coconut crabs in the evening
- WIFI around the office (powered by solar).
- All taxes included.
Chumbe Island Hotel – Activities
Snorkeling is what makes Chumbe stand out from the rest. Although the majority of the island doesn’t have good beaches, Chumbe is blessed with a good stretch of lovely white sand. There is no diving or fishing here, but you can arrange all dolphin trips and other activities from the lodge.