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Marine Parks and Reserves Tanzania

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Marine Parks

A Marine Park is a specialised version of a marine reserve where various community users and habitation is encouraged through a strict zonation scheme, and emphasis on education, recreation and preservation is highly recommended through participatory management approaches.

The following are Marine Parks managed by Marine Parks and Reserves Unit


The marine park area at Mafia Island extends across some 822km2, more than 75% of it below the high water mark. The area hosts an outstanding mosaic of tropic marine habitats including coral reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and inter- tidal flats. In addition, a remnant block of threatened lowland coastal forest survives along the eastern seaboard of the island, roughly half of it within the marine park boundary. Two species of sea turtle use Mafia’s beaches as nesting grounds and the area has been recognized internationally as a critical site for biodiversity. Several sites of historic ruins lie within the marine park area, some dating back to the C13th. Mafia Island’s separation from the mainland and its freedom from industrial development have ensured that its surrounding waters are some of the least contaminated in Tanzania. The marine park area has national importance as one of the few remaining reef complexes within Tanzania’s coastal waters in relatively intake condition.

Tourism Attractions

Fish Species The Park has more than 380 fish species. Whale Shark has been a remarkable attraction to the most of tourists visiting to Mafia. Tourists swim friendly along with the world largest fish.

Coral Reefs Mafia Island Marine Park has pristine habitats including coral reefs which are homes of different marine organisms and bears a greater species diversity.

Marine Mammals It is believed that the remnants of dugongs are still in the Mafia/Rufiji Sea Scape. Humpback whales and sperm whales are migratory species that can be seen in the area from August to November. Resident mammals include some species of dolphins.

Beach The Park has pristine beaches which are potential for tourism development especially along the eastern shores of the Mafia Island

Historical Site Mafia has spectacular ruins which reveal ancient settlement and makes it become among the ancient world. Cultural artifacts dated 600 B.C. The Kua and submerged Kisimani ruins are important marine archeological sites located in the Park area.

Fruit bats Mafia Island is home to large colony of fruit bats flying foxes (Pteropussychellensis comorensis) only found on the Islands of Mafia, Seychelles and Comoros.

Sea Turtles The most common species are green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eratmochelys imbricate). The site supports the largest green turtle rookery in Tanzania and provides foraging and breeding habitat for critically endangered hawksbill turtles. Rufiji Delta and Mafia Island Sea scape is among the Indian Ocean South East Asia (IOSEA) Marine Turtle sites network.


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Nearby Hotels
Hotel Name Contacts Website
Kinasi Lodge Hotel +255 716 443388 www.kinasilodge.com
Polepole Hotel www.polepole.com
Chole Mjini Lodge +255 784 520799 www.cholemjini.com
Mafia lodge Hotel www.mafialodge.com
Shamba Kilole Hotel +255 786 903752 www.shambakilolelodge.com
Mnazi Bay Ruvuma Estuary Park

The Park support varied ecosystems of a great diversity of marine life. The mangrove forests along the Ruvuma Estuary serve as reproductive and nursery grounds for many fish and crustacean species. Seagrass beds likewise constitute an important feeding ground for a number of marine species. Biological surveys have found over 250 species of hard coral, 400 species of fish, and 100 species of echinoderms within the Park’s reefs. The marine and coastal plants and animals found within the Park are there because of the climate, the physical features, the influences of the Indian Ocean, and the overall integrity of the combination of habitats.

A recent analysis of the entire East African region conducted by WWF and other stakeholders concluded that MBREMP and the coastal environment of the Quirimbas archipelago in northern Mozambique constitute an area of global importance for marine biodiversity. This conclusion has prompted stakeholders to propose development of a trans-boundary network of marine protected areas (MPAs) through the region. The concept entails development an international reserve system that can maintain

Tourism Attractions

Fish Species The Park is a home of approximately 400 fish species including the famous old four legs fish "Coelacanth"that were thought to have become extinct 70 million year ago.

Coral Reefs Over 258 species of corals both hard and soft are found in the area.

Marine Mammals Several types of cetaceans are found in MBREMP, including humpback whales, sperm whales, and four species of dolphins. Namely; bottlenose dolphins, Indo-Pacific, humpback dolphins and spinner dolphins. Whale watching is best during migration season from August to November. MBREMP was also a home to dugongs in the past.

Hippos The Ruvuma Estuary is a home to hippos, crocodiles, and terrapins.

Msimbati Beach A long pristine beach along the eastern shores of the Msimbati village and Ruvula Peninsula is potential for eco- tourism development.

Birds The Park is recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA No. 28). The Park is an important habitat for shorebirds, particularly waders and Crab plovers (Dromas ardeola). The mangrove forests of the Ruvuma estuary, Namponda and Membelwa islands provide important roosting sites for wading birds.


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Nearby Hotels
Hotel Name Contacts Website
Old Boma Lodge +255 757 622000 www.mikindani.com

The TACMP is unique nationally and internationally for the presence and high abundance of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. The rare ‘living fossil’ fish was re-discovered in the coastal waters off Tanzania in 2003, and since then has been sighted frequently within the TACMP area. Today, many of the park’s residents see the coelacanth as an icon for their rich coastal resources and opportunities for eco-tourism. Furthermore, TACMP is home to other endangered species like dugong, which was sighted in 2006 off Kigombe, sea turtles and migratory water birds. The park seeks to address unsustainable resource use issues and practices, featuring Coelacanth protection prominently as a key component for achieving its species and biodiversity conservation objective.

Tourism Attractions

Coelacanth TACMP is unique with national and international significance for being a home of Coelacanth, the area has high abundance of the Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae); the rare old four legs fish that was re-discovered in the coastal waters of Tanzania in 2003.

Fish and Coral Reefs A total of more than 50 genera of corals and more than 380 fish species have been identified in the park area

Beaches There are a number of unspoiled beaches to explore and have fun in TACMP

Mangrove Forest The area is also covered by mangrove forest that provides important ecological services.

Sea weeds Over 100 species of red, green and brown intertidal marco-algae (mwani in kiswahili) are found in the park area..

Marine Turtle Three species of Marine Turtles are found in the Park namely; Olive ridley (Lepidochely olivaceae), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill turtle (Eratmochelys imbricate). All three species are endangered

Marine Mammals Several types of cetaceans are found in the park, including humpback whales, sperm whales, and dolphins.

Birds The Park is a stopover of migratory birds during their flight from winter and it is also the nesting sanctuary of the birds.

Sea Grass beds There are numerous and extensive sea grass beds within the park area.


Map Location

Nearby Hotels
Hotel Name Contacts Website
Capricorn Hotel KigombeP.O. Box 5861, Tanga capriconbeachcottages@gmail.com
(TICC) Ltd +255716666617 info@icctan.com
Tanga Beach Resort +255 683 750000
+255 784 350253
info@tangabeachresort.com
Mkonge Hotel +255 27 2643440
+255 784 995116
mkongehotel@kaributanga.com
Regal Naivera Hotel +255 27 26648669
+255 712 996608
regainaiverahotel@yahoo.com
Tanga Wonders Adventure Hotel +255 787 335403
+255 715 335403
tangawonders@gmail.com
IIya Tours and Safaris Hotel +255 713 560569
+255 784 660569
post@yatours.com
Tanga Yacht Club +255 27 2644246 tyctanga@gmail.com