Zanzibar Away

Chumbe Island

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Historically Chumbe Island was a Tanzanian military base, with access strictly limited, especially from the surrounding ocean. As a result, the area's coral reefs remained untouched and undamaged, and when the military left the area became a protected marine park. Thus today the reef is claimed to contain examples of 90% of all the coral species ever recorded in this part of Africa.

The beach itself is not of the 'endless streches of white sand' variety, and a stay here should be regarded as the opportunity to become closely involved in an island community, and its natural habitat, rather than as a classic holiday destination. This said, the snorkelling is top rate (although scuba diving is not allowed).

Escorted forest walks examine the islands ecology, while guided trips around the reef add to the experience, topped off as it all is by the opportunity to genuinely aid the local community: the island is run as a not-for-profit enterprise, to the benefit of the island's conservation and local education programme.