chumbe island

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Small Islands Hotels

It is described as ‘one of the most spectacular “coral gardens” to be found anywhere in the world.’ by the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The whole of Chumbe Island is a nature reserve and you may explore its beauties either under the competent guidance of the park rangers or at your leisure.

Snorkel through the unique shallow water Reef Sanctuary or explore the Forest Reserve and historical monuments. Take an excursion out SCUBA diving the nearby reefs, or perhaps just allow yourself a lazy day watching dhows and outrigger boats go by.


Accommodation on Chumbe Island is – in many aspects – something really special. It’s what Robinson Crusoe could only have dreamt about!

The bungalows themselves are so brilliantly designed that they provide both privacy and a sense of freedom of living in the open. Many of our clients find these bungalows exceptionally romantic (honeymooners love them), but any individual with a passion for natural beauty will find these bungalows captivating beyond measure.

All bungalows overlook the sea and it takes just 30 seconds to stroll from the comforts of your bungalow hammock to feeling the warm tropical ocean lapping at your feet. All bungalows are equipped with:

  • Double or twin beds in the sleeping area under the palm thatched roof.
  • Self-contained bathrooms with hot & cold shower.
  • Large living rooms equipped with handmade furniture and decorated with African art and colorful fabrics… (And very comfortable hammocks).

Since there are only seven bungalows, the island never gets crowded, even when it’s fully booked.

Environment and local community

Marine Sanctuary
The Chumbe Island Coral Park is a unique privately managed nature reserve developed and managed by the Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd. (CHICOP). It is a rare example of a still pristine coral island ecosystem in an otherwise heavily over fished and over-exploited area.

The reserve includes a reef sanctuary, which has become the first gazetted marine park in Tanzania, and a forest reserve.

Forest Reserve
Approximately 90% of Chumbe Island is covered by one of the last remaining pristine ‘coral rag’ forests in Zanzibar. The Government of Zanzibar declared it a closed forest in 1994, and the management was entrusted to Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd.

Chumbe hosts a highly specialized plant community that has developed to survive without any groundwater, instead depending on capturing the moisture from the humid air and storing the rainfall during the rainy seasons. The bedrock of the island is made up of an impressive substrate of fossilized coral. You can still see the skeletal structures of corals and giant clams – a gentle reminder of the passage of time. More staggering still is the coral-rag forest. The density of the forest is spectacular, as adventitious roots thrust out in all directions and epiphytic species cling to life by wrapping themselves around all available surfaces. Researchers have taken up to four hours to transverse the 1 km stretch through the central forest reserve and the crags and caves hidden underfoot as remnant of the reef structure of this fossilized coral habitat, makes studying this environment both challenging and consistently rewarding as new discoveries are constantly uncovered. For guests the nature trails provided allow for an insight into this otherwise virtually impenetrable habitat.

Coconut Crab
The rare Robber or Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) – the largest land crab on earth – is common on Chumbe Island while it is threatened elsewhere in the Indian Ocean as it is widely eaten and used in fish traps. With a carapace diameter of up to 45 cm they can climb up to the top of coconut trees and easily crack coconuts with their powerful claws. These crabs have evolved to live on land but begin their life in the sea, later adopting shells as houses for protection until they grow large enough to manage with just their hardened carapace alone.

Eco Operations
Other features of operations on Chumbe that ensure minimal disturbance to the environment include:

Organic soaps produced by a local women’s co-operative in Zanzibar are provided for guests.
In the process of purchasing supplies, non-organic products are avoided (i.e., plastic bags) and any unavoidable non-organic waste produced by the island is removed and incinerated in a specialized incinerator constructed by the project on the main island Unguja.

Drinking water is provided by advanced filters (made in Switzerland) located on the island. These effectively clean readily available tap water from Unguja, avoiding the need for mineral water in plastic bottles (which are still available for purchase, but are not readily encouraged, as plastic bottles are a problematic environmental hazard recently introduced into Zanzibar).

The walkways, nature trails and beach areas are not artificially illuminated at night. This protects feeding and breeding patters of nocturnal animals, and also helps preserve and view one of the most stunning attractions of Chumbe Island: the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro). Instead, individual solar powered torches are provided for all guests that recharge each day for use each night.

Zanziplanet reviews

Chumbe Island is a first rate example of eco tourism. It’s the perfect balance of natural rustic charm and comfort all wrapped up in perfect scenery and bathed in sunshine. What more could you want?

Perfect for couples, honeymooners, romantics and those interested in the environment.


Chapwani Private Island

Small Islands Hotels

Chapwani Island is a small hotel situated on a private coral Island approximately 15 minutes from Stone Town by boat.


Chapwani Island is a small hotel situated on a private coral Island approximately 15 minutes from Stone Town by boat. The Island is no bigger than one kilometer in length and a couple of hundred metres in width. The thick tropical vegetation of baobabs, palm trees and passion fruits, harbours a small historic graveyard and rich wild-life including a herd of indigenous Duiker Chapwani (miniature antelopes).

Chapwani is available to hire per room or it is possible to hire the whole island for just you!


The hotel consists of only 5 separate bandas, a total of ten rooms set along the palm lined coast. The rooms are small yet comfortable with a spacious bathroom and separate toilet.

Each room is beautifully decorated with colorful African prints and furnished with traditional local furniture and is simply furnished with a four poster bed, a mosquito net, ceiling fan, wardrobe and traditional Zanzibar writing desk.

A banana leaf shutter closes the room from the light outside whilst letting through a fresh breeze.

Each room has its own terrace and lounge beds on the beach in front of the room.

Other activities

The island is excellent for swimming and short excursions to nearby snorkeling sites can be easily arranged.

There is also a dive site near Stone Town which is excellent for inexperienced divers although advanced divers may find it slightly tame.

The island has four canoes, which can be used as a fantastic way to explore the coast around the island.

Additionally, staffs at the lodge also arrange trips to sail with the local fishermen on a Ngalawa (traditional fishing boats with wooden outriggers).

There is also a beach volley court on the island, archery, petanque balls, and lots of other games to play

Zanziplanet reviews

Chapwani offers the perfect romantic getaway with comfortable and relaxing facilities and a high level of privacy. This property is also perfect for parties looking to hire their own private paradise island!