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Chumbe lies about 10 km south of Zanzibar Town, and is one of the largest of the offshore islands in this area.

Chumbe Island Nature Reserve

The coral reef surrounding Chumbe is in very good condition, as until recently, the island was inside a military area and public access was not allowed. The reefs around Chumbe were officially gazetted as a Marine National Park in 1994. The island itself has been declared a Forest Reserve and the island and reef together are known as Chumbe Island Nature Reserve.

Wildlife of Chumbe

One of the greatest attractions of Chumbe are the great coral reefs. Over 400 species of fish have been identified on them and the corals are spectacular. Other marine wildlife often seen includes turtles, sharks and dolphins. On the island, 60 species of bird have been recorded, including breeding pairs of the rare roseate tern. The island is also home to various lizards and a population of rare giant coconut crabs — the largest terrestrial crab (about 300-400 mm across), famed for its ability to climb palm trees and eat young coconuts.

Buildings of historical and cultural interest on Chumbe include a lighthouse built by the British in 1904, now converted to an observation tower, and an old mosque built in an Indian style unique to Tanzania.

To complete the picture, there are two beaches gently shelving into turquoise sea. It's a fascinating place for a two or three night stay.

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Map of Chumbe Private Island

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