You may explore the nature reserve under the competent guidance of park rangers or at your leisure. Most of the island is covered with pristine coral rag forest. You will find a surprisingly rich variety of flora and fauna. Numerous nature trails are provided to allow you to have an insight in an otherwise impenetrable habitat.
This forest is a special habitat for 64 bird species including the Mangrove and Pied Kingfisher, Fish eagle and Peregrine Falcon.
Chumbe is also home to the Ader’s duiker (Cephalophus adersi), an exceptional shy and rare antelope in the world.
Even the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro), they feed on fallen coconuts, which can reach up to 45 cm diameter, can be seen here. They are crimson or bluish black in colour and they have the amazing ability to climb trees.
At the West side of the island, where salt sprays from the sea prevents vegetation, you can identify the best examples of petrified Stone corals and giant clams.
At low tide it’s also possible to walk around the island. Then you will see mangroves and be able to look for starfish and shellfish.
Needless to say, snorkeling is superb. Coral growth and diversity along the shallow reef is among the highest in East Africa. Marine life diversity is astonishing. More than two hundred species of stone corals and many East African fish species, are found here. You can’t be disappointed. Each visit provides new discoveries:
Angelfish, butterfly fish, box fish, unicorn fish, lionfish, trigger-fish, but also lobsters peeping out from under corals, large blue spotted stingrays, colourful parrot fishes and sometimes bat fishes following you at close range all along the reef.
Day trips are possible but keep in mind that Chumbe Island Coral Park is a Marine Protected Area. They only accept maximum 14 guests at one time and they do not book in advance. You only can ask availability two days in advance. The facilities are primarily focused on the lodge guests who stay in the stunning and innovative Eco-lodge on the island.
Boat departure to the island is at 10.00 a.m. daily from the beach of the Mbweni Ruins Hotel.
Scuba diving within the Chumbe reef sanctuary is not permitted! But scuba diving to neighbouring reef scan be arranged once you are on the island. A minimum of 2 qualified divers is required.