Turtle Sanctuaries in Nungwi
Nungwi is on the northern tip of Zanzibar and is around 50 miles from Stone Town. It is a place with
nice beaches and clear waters. Nungwi village is not small by Zanzibari standard and is a traditional
dhow boat building centre with a good souvenirs industry. According to the local customs, you should
cover your knees and shoulders, so no shorts or small skirts when you are here in the village. Apart
from the beaches, there are many other attractions in Nungwi such as:
Sea turtles are believed to be an endangered species. The turtles are poached for their meat and
their shells mostly and even eggs are not left alone. There are seven species of sea turtles in the
world and except two the remaining five can be found in Tanzania. Tourism is big in Zanzibar and the
continuous construction that happens along the sea has in fact helped in causing damage to the
Nungwi is a place where turtles are in abundance but the threat to their species made the locals come
together to create the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Aquarium. The turtle sanctuary is a
lagoon that is not man-made and few smaller pools and in this, the turtles are looked after.
Fishermen bring turtles that are injured to the sanctuary and the turtles are tended to here. Small
turtles that hatch from eggs are taken care of well and when grown to a degree are released into the
ocean. The local villagers put in effort to take care of the turtles and hence this is one of the biggest
and successful conservation projects in Zanzibar.
As a tourist you are expected to pay for tickets to visit the aquarium and the money generated is
used to finance the project. You can learn a lot about the turtles how they are fed, how the injured
are cared for etc.
You can also visit Baraka’s Turtle Aquarium nearby which has many turtles. This is not a turtle
conservation project but a business.
Kendwa beach is around 20 minutes walk away, with fine beaches for exploring and good waters in
which to swim.
The local fishermen fish in the night and leave for their fishing during sunset, just watching the many
dhows going into the sea will leave you awestruck. If you are a photography enthusiast, you can take
many pictures that you will surely love. The fishermen return in the morning with the fresh catch
and be prepared to see many species of fishes and sea animals that you may have never
encountered in your life. Also, the auctions that take place should be seen to be believed.
Dhow Boats Building:
For centuries in this region, people have been using dhow boats for fishing and sailing. In Nungwi
you can check out how the dhow boats are built. Master craftsmen use their expertise to make
these wonderful boats. The way they make these boats is the same and has been used for centuries.