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Mnemba Conservation Area

Mnemba Island Conservation Area

Mnemba Island is located about 4.5 km off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar Island. The island is 1.5 km in circumference and is surrounded by spectacular coral reefs. Turtles lay and hatch their eggs all year round and there is excellent diving and snorkelling. The only human inhabitants of the island are the staff and guests staying at the exclusive, luxury lodge, Mnemba Island Lodge.

The marine life is incredibly varied and has something for everyone, from excited beginners getting their first glimpse of the underwater world to experienced hands looking to find something new. Dolphins, pelagic fish, humpback whales that migrate between July and October each year, whale sharks, barracuda, mackerel, kingfish, marlin and green turtles - the open sea is home to a variety of incredible marine life. Dive beyond the outer fringe and drop-off of the vibrant coral reefs that surround Mnemba Island, Zanzibar, and discover a magical world beneath the rolling waves of the big blue. The reef atoll serves as the remains of a once larger volcanic island. Experience the wonders of the world beneath during the day and at night. Accompanied by your diving instructor, night dives along the Mnemba reef are a fascinating experience during which you can discover the oceanic life hidden during the day as it comes out to play after hours. Learn all about tiny planktonic plants and other colourful and fascinating creatures, such as anemones, nudibranchs, starfish, crabs and molluscs. Along the powdery sands of Mnemba Island, look out for hyperactive ghost crabs, plough snail or washed up jellyfish, as well as the world’s largest land crab, indigenous to the island, the coconut crab.

Wandering birdlife frequents the surf zone of Mnemba Island, feeding on sand-shrimps, sea-lice and other small invertebrates. Birding enthusiasts can look forward to watching the daily movements of whimbrel, sandplovers, curlew sandpipers, ruddy turnstones, dimorphic egrets, lesser crested terns, common terns and white-tailed tropicbirds, to name a few. Inhabiting the island with you are some 4 000 red-eyed doves.

Fringed by the coral white sands of Mnemba’s idyllic beachfront, the whistling pine and casuarinas forest is a haven containing an abundance of life. Believed to serve as a means of keeping the island in place in the face of the eroding currents of the surrounding Indian Ocean, this tropical forest is home to a variety of tree species, such as the wild rubber fig, giant leafed fig, coast milkwood, dune cross berry and coconut palm. No known mammals are indigenous to the island but a small group of tiny antelope, the rather shy but somewhat friendly suni and the rare and endangered Ader's duiker, were released on the island as part of an experimental project some years ago and have since thrived.

Best Places to Stay: Mnemba Island Lodge or Matemwe Beach Village

More in this category: « Mnazi Bay Marine Park

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