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Marine Parks and Reserves Tanzania

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Marine Reserve

A marine reserve is a protected area that is strictly set aside to protect biodiversity and also is always small area where human residence is not allowed, use of resources and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas can serve as indispensable reference areas for scientific research and monitoring

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

Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves System (DMRS) comprises of seven islands of Bongoyo, Pangavini, Fungu Yasin, Mbudya Sinda, Makatobe, and Kendwa. These reserves are managed by Marine Parks and Reserves Unit (MPRU) through Marine Parks and Reserves Act No. 29 of 1994.

Tourism Attractions

Birds These islands have the splendor of being the nocturnal homes of most of the birds that hove over Dar es Salaam city during the day. The reserves save as a stopover of migratory birds during their flight from winter and it is also the nesting sanctuary of the birds.

Sea grass beds The swimmers can see the rare sea horse on the sprawling sea grass beds, an indicator that the reserves are pristine.

Fish and Coral Reefs Over 200 species of hard and soft corals are found in these reserves, these are pristine areas for snorkeling and diving. Also more than 300 species of marine fish are found in the reserves.

Coconut Crab The rare Coconut Crab - the largest land crab on earth - is common on Mbudya Island; as its name suggests this crab feeds on coconuts, and is actually able to climb coconut palms, where it is thought to pinch off coconuts with its powerful claws when coconuts are not already available on the ground

Marine Turtle The reserves are breeding ground of the endangered turtle; the common species are green and hawksbill turtles both nests in the reserves.

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

Historical Ruins DMRS host ruins of a German outpost and a tomb. The tombs have generated myths, and pull visitors who visit them to pay homage and make sacrifices for cleansing and fortune.

Clean and crystal water The Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves System are unique due to their good scenic diving and snorkeling sites.


Visitors use the Dar Marine Reserve as day light resorts and camping. Facilities available on the islands include shades (bandas), information board and nature trails.

While at the islands, visitors could be served with drinks, bites and fresh cooked fish served by local community members who are also responsible for tour guide, security and first aid. The community members also play a vital role of being honorary rangers for the Marine Reserves by conducting all activities related to conservation and protection of the environment.

Visitors wishing to visit the scenic island are encouraged to collect tickets at the hotels along the coast before touring the island to avoid disturbances. It is illegal to visit the islands without a valid ticket!


Map Location

Nearby Hotels
Hotel Name Contacts Website
Belinda +255 22 2647551 www.belindaresort.co.tz
Jangwani See Breeze +255 786 800960 www.jangwaniseabreezeresort.com
Whitesands +255 758 818696 www.hotelwhitesands.com
Double Tree +255 779 000007 doubletree3.hilton.com
South beach +255 763 428794 www.hotelsouthbeachresort.com
Kipepeo +255 754 276178 kipepeobeach.com
Sunrise +255 755 400900 www.sunrisebeachresort.co.tz
Mikadi + 255 754 370269 www.mikadibeach.com

Bongoyo Marine Reserve is uninhabited Island, located 2.5km north of the country capital city, Dar es Salaam.It is the most frequently visited island of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves System (DMRS).

The island lies close to the Msasani Peninsula is reachable by means boat ride, it takes only 30 minutes from the mainland.The point of departure for most visitors to the island is “the Slipway mall complex” on the western side of the Msasani Peninsula.

The underwater habitat range from shallow gently sloping coral reefs, sandy expnses and sea grass beds. Coastal shores of this island support several clearly defined communities of plants and animals. Their distribution is predominantly determined by physical conditions including the type of substrates (whether sedimentary or rock), slope of substrates, tidal and current regimes, exposure to wave action and the influence of fresh water. The main coastal habitats around Bongoyo Island include sand beaches (beach I and II), coral reefs, sea grass beds, rocky shores, lagoons (shark lagoon) and algal beds.

FAUNA AND FLORA AT BONGOYO

The Island has forest with vegetation described as bush land with emergent trees. Plant species are chiefly characteristic of the dry land coastal forest of East Africa.

About 59 plant families are found on the Island. Both island of Bongoyo and Mbudya have very similar vegetation type differing by few aspects. Sand dunes of these islands are colonized by pioneer species such as Cyperus crassipes, Crotolaria laburuodes, Tephrosia pumila var aldabresis, T. pumila var dumesis, Asytasia gangentica and Ipomoea pesi-caprae. Fishes around the coral reef and the seagrass beds includes Butterfly fish Chaetodontidae, Sweet lips Haemulidae, Grouper, Serranidae and banded coral shrimps Stenopus hispidus. Other intertidal organisms includes Sea urchin (Diadema sp), Giant clamps (Tridacna sp), Octopus (Octopodidea), Tigger cowry, (Cyprea tigris), Starfish (Protoreaster linck), Cushion starts (Oreasteridae) Nudibranchia, Hermit crabs (Anomura), Edible sea cucumbers (Holothuridae) and Sea turtles are reported to be frequently seen by the divers over the reefs.

Two species of Hawksbill (Eretmochely imbricate) and Green turtles Chelonea mydas are nesting on on the beaches of Bongoyo and Mbudya islands.

Facilities available

On Bongoyo island there are two mooring sites where the visiting boats anchor. There is a number of bandas on the sand beach for resting (roof only). Msasani Slipway has a mobile bar, which serve cold drinks and can serve fish and chips for visitors. The staff ensures that the area is clean and tidy at the end of the day. There is one Honorary Ranger who is always at the is

The Island is approximately 30 minutes ride from the mainland with motorized dhow from Msasani Slipway and 10 min by speedboat from Msasani Bay.

Scheduled Boat / ferry service from Msasani Slipway or hired boats from Yatch Club or and Beach Hotel northern coast of Dar Es Salaam. The Msasani Slipway has boats, which makes return visits to the island 4 times a day.

A Number of visitors also arrives on the island by means of private own Yatch Boats or hired boats from beach hotels. Marine Parks’ entrance tickets to Bongoyo are available at Msasani Slipway and Dar Es Salaam Yatch club.

Mbudya Island Marine Reserve is also an uninhabited island in the northern part of Dar es Salaam. The island set on the beach resort and fishing community of Kunduchi and is reachable by means of a 20 minute motorboat ride crossing from the mainland. The natural resources of the area are very similar to that of Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve.

It hosts ruins of a German outpost and a tomb, thought to be of the descendant of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam. The tombs have generated myths, and pull visitors who visit them to pay homage and make sacrifices for cleansing and fortune.

The island offers fabulous snorkeling and diving opportunities. Mbudya Island is situated about 3 km offshore, within easy reach of the hotels on the North coast of Dar es Salaam. The Island is characterized with sand beaches on the western and eastern sides. On the western side, it is possible to have barbecued fish with chips and drinks.

There is plenty of shade under the Casuarina trees; on the beach there are all necessary facilities including bandas where you can rest while enjoying chips with fish and soft drinks provided by Honorary Rangers.

The island is clothed with dense stands of palms and baobabs. The rare coconut crabs (Birgus latro) are found on the island. To get to the island, one of many local motorized dhow and ngalawas can be hired. The hotels located in the area (White Sands, Silver Sands, Kunduchi Beach, Beach Comber are Bahari Beach) provides more modern transport to the island.

This is another uninhabited island located in the northern of the country capital city, Dar es Salaam and is one of the seven islands of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve System (DMRS). The island is small, only about 250 m long; it has a rocky coastline without beaches.

It provides protection for several important biological diversity and tropical habitats; sea grass beds, Coral reefs and different fish species.

Pangavini Island has the splendour of being the nocturnal home of most of the birds that hove over Dar es Salaam city during the day. It is also the nesting sanctuary of the birds. The reserves also save as a stopover of migratory birds during their flight from winter.

Pangavini Island is an important breeding, resting and feeding site to a variety of rats, birds and reptiles. The area is unique due to their good scenic diving and snorkeling sites and there are numerous and extensive sea grass beds within the reserve area.

Fungu Yasin Marine Reserve

This is unique Marine Reserve which is an island of sand bank seen only during low tide and is devoid of vegetation. It is located in the northern part of Dar es Salaam after Mbudya Island Marine Reserve. The lower intertidal zone on the west and north is sandy with abundant sea grass mixed together with coral patches. The southeast lower intertidal areas are rocky.

Coral reefs are found on the western and eastern side of the Island where more than 35% of coral cover is located on two locations: one on the southwest waters of less than 10 m (108,320 m2) and the other on the deeper waters (462,765 m2).

Like other DMRS islands the dominant sea grass species are Thallasodentron ciliatum and Thalassia hemprichii. Animals in the intertidal flats include sea cucumbers, octopus, sea urchin, giant clamps, rock crabs, tigger cowry, starfish, cushion starts, nudibranchia and crabs.

Fungu Yasin Reef

This reserve is found in the Southern Coast of Dar es Salaam (Kigamboni).Inner and Outer Sinda Islands Marine Reserve was about 288.7 Hectares, Inner and Outer Sinda Islands cover an area of 23.31 and 23.96 Hectares, respectively. Sinda Islands coastlines include rocky cliffs and sandy beaches

Inner Sinda sandy beach: An important tourist attraction

In Sinda, the maximum depth is less than 10 m. Seawards of the reserves, the deep water (> 50 m) is just 1.8 km and 3.2 km away from Outer Sinda and Outer Makatumbe Islands, respectively. Proximity to deep waters makes the seawards sides of the reserves prone to high tidal currents and waves, especially during spring tides. The seawards sides of all reserves can be described as high energy areas (ie. high wave impact areas) and are characterised by rock cliffs .

Rocky cliffs on the seaward sides of outer Sinda

Interesting sandy beaches are found on the north and south of Inner Sinda Island and on landward of Sinda Island . Beaches on the Outer Sinda are located relatively in the middle of intertidal zones, hence are far from beautiful swimming sports. They can however, be useful for resting and other land based tourist activities, daytime lunch facilities.

The south Inner Sinda beach has the best morphology for tourism related activities: The beach is larger and adjacent to the beach there is a flat land area large enough to build tourist facilities. Additionally, there is also a large beach on the north of Inner Sinda . The combination of beaches, land vegetation and good coral reefs make this place suitable for combined land-sea eco-tourism.

Some of the vegetation on Inner Sinda Island

Some of the tourist huts at Inner Sinda beach

working on info2

MAKATUBE ISLAND MARINE RESERVE

This reserve is found in the Southern Coast of Dar es Salaam (Kigamboni). It consisting of two islands namely Inner Makatube and Outer Makatube.The area cover of Inner and Outer Makatumbe Islands was estimated to be 10.99 and 9.89 Hectares respectively, Makatumbe coastlines include rocky cliffs and sandy beaches, Interesting sandy beaches are found on the landward sides Inner and outer Makatumbe Islands.

In Makatumbe, coral reefs were found on the north, northeast and west sides. Coral cover was low (< 5 %) on the high energy zone and medium (5 – 35 %) on northeast and west sides. Soft corals and few hard coral species resistant to high energy environments were observed on the high energy zones. Algal mat dominated high energy areas where coral cover was less. High abundance of starfish was noticed northeast of Makatumbe, especially on curves and on protected sides of protruding structures, e.g. coral outcrops. The large sponge, Xestospongia testudinaria, was also common on this zone.

Vegetation on Outer Makatumbe Island

The collaboration of Marine Parks and Reserves Unit and the International School Tanganyika (IST) has made this Marine Reserve to be a good place marine environment education for IST students.

Some more information from the Honorary Ranger of Makatube Island Marine Reserve can be found in the following link. youtube

Tanga Marine Reserves System (TMRS) encompasses four island reserves of Kirui, Mwewe, Kwale, and Ulenge which form a unique ecological system lying along and adjacent to a coastline and surrounding waters that comprise of a diverse of coastal and marine habitats ranging from luxuriant fringing corals, sea grass beds and an almost continuous strip of mangrove stands.

Tourism Attractions

Sea grass beds in sub tidal zone northeast of Kirui Island.

A sandy beach in East coast of Kirui Island.

Mangrove (Rhizophora mucronata) on Ulenge (south) Some common invertebrates found in the TMRs include mangrove crabs, prawns, octopus, lobsters, clams, sea cucumbers, and shelled molluscs. A small population of dugong is believed to exist at Mbayae‐Kigomeni area, just east of Kirui Island and south of Kenya border, where it was sighted in 1994 and 2004

Dugong Coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) is found around Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park, which is less than 10 km from Ulenge Island Marine Reserve (below picture). The shallow water area extending from south Kenya coast including eastwards of Kirui Island and Moa Bay could be considered as a special habitat. This zone has a complex combination of mangrove influences, extensive seagrass beds and coral reefs, creating good conditions for fish productivity. Besides being important fishing area for Kenya and Tanzania fishers, it is in this zone where dugongs are believed to exist.

Coelacanth captured in the gill nets

Rhizophora mucronata mangroves on Kirui west creek

All TMRS constitute important bird roosting sites. Nature trails and bird watching posts could be created as tourist attractions.

As the islands were once inhabited, they have remained with cultural values linked to the adjacent communities such as historical ruins, traditional and spiritual connections as ancestral grave yards and sacred groves. These are potential amenities for community based ecotourism and other recreational promotions.

Mangrove is the main feature in the intertidal zones of all TMRs. In Ulenge, mangrove covers an area of 72.2 Hectares, about 64 % of the Island area. It covers an area of about 528.1 Ha, or 86.2 % of Kwale the Island. Mwewe Island is also surrounded by mangroves, which covers an area of 14 Ha, which is about 68 % of the Island. The total area covered by mangrove in Kirui is estimated to be 680 Ha; the largest mangrove plot (557 Ha) is found on the north and west sides; Kigomeni mangrove (60 Ha) is on the east coast and Kirui south mangrove (63 Ha) is on the south of the Island. All the mangrove species found in Tanzania are found in the TMRs.


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

About 10km offshore is this tiny sand island with snorkelling in the surrounding crystal-clear waters. Dolphins favour the area and are frequently spotted. Maziwe can only be visited at low tide; there’s no food or drink, but a picnic lunch is included in most excursions. Most hotels organize these for about US$35 to US$45 per person.

Maziwe Island was one of the most important nesting sites in the coast of East Africa with marine turtles. The island is located few kilometers off Pangani Coast, was declared as Marine Reserve in 1975. Maziwe remains an ideal place for swimming, snorkeling and diving as well as research expedition, sunbathing and watching dazzling tropical fish.

The area is ideal for underwater adventures and is among the best diving destination along the Eastern African Coast with a wide variety of underwater life. There are wide ranges of marine species diversity within the Maziwe Island Marine Reserve. Over 200 species of fish, 35 Genera of corals (soft and hard), number of sea-grasses, many type of birds different algae and sponges


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