The main attraction of this tropical island is its rich marine life, present in the vibrant coral reefs. Although there are no big wildlife species in Zanzibar, there is still plenty to observe. Zanzibar's terrestrial and marine ecosystems, which include coastal forests, mangroves, and coral reefs, sustain a diverse range of animals. More than 700 fish species, 53 animals, and 200 bird species have been identified. Furthermore, the Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park has the island's largest remaining indigenous forest, which is home to several endangered species.
The unique wildlife of Jozani
The unique swamp forest of the Jozani Forest Reserve provides the best opportunity to see uncommon indigenous mammals and birds. The red-colobus monkey is the most well-known resident, but tree hyraxes and elephant shrews are also present. The Zanzibar Bishop bird, the tiny blue duiker, and the Zanzibar suni, a little antelope that barely reaches 28 cm in height and is found on the isolated Mnemba atoll off the north coast, are among the island’s endemic species. Small creatures, birds, and butterflies make up the majority of the fauna.
An underwater paradise
For the divers and the snorkelers, the underwater world is truly phenomenal. From nesting green turtles to reef sharks and manta rays, there is a vibrant life beneath the ocean. Some of the reef fish include lionfish, bannerfish, and powder blue tangs, while marine mammals such as several dolphin species feed on reef fish. There are many resident turtles, and migrating humpback and sperm whales can be seen between September and October, depending on the season. Manta rays and whale sharks can be seen from December to April.
The reefs on Mnemba Atoll and Chumbe Island are well maintained, and community-led conservation projects have promoted sustainable fishing and responsible tourism in recent years.
Zanzibar’s smallscale wildlife is enthralling—from the bush to the beach visitors can explore the Jozani Forest’s mangroves in the morning and snorkel over coral reefs in the afternoon. The bordering lagoon of Zanzibar is extremely shallow, as indicated by the fact that the tide can flow out for more than a kilometre in certain spots, exposing old coral reefs. Nature lovers will find red knobbed starfish, sea urchins, and octopus hidden in the shallows while walking around the lagoon in reef shoes.
The shy Aders’s duiker lives among the moist-loving palms and red mahogany of Jozani Forest, one of the world’s rarest antelopes. The endangered Zanzibar red colobus monkeys, on the other hand, are far more likely to be seen. These amusing primates are remarkably accustomed to foraging in groups with blue Sykes monkeys. Local specialities such as the mangrove kingfisher, crowned hornbill, and Fischer’s turaco will be on the watch for birders.