If you are looking for a quiet island getaway which offers excellent service, fantastic food (simple but delicious),
a pristine east African reef to snorkel on and an overall relaxing environment then chumbe Island Coral Park is definately for you.
If you want a Hotel type experience, look to the mainland and leave Chumbe to those who will truly appreciate its magic for what it is, simple, adventurous and charming.
After an interesting drive south from Stone Town we arrived at the Mbweni Ruins hotel, a very cool place right on the beach.
A few minutes later a person from Chumbe Island arrived at the hotel and gave us a briefing on our journey to the island.
There would be 4 of us on the journey.
He explained that since the tide was so low, he would be distributing special shoes for us to walk about 1 mile out on the tidal flat to the arriving skiff.
was an incredible walk through conditions that are hard to describe…but it felt
like we were walking through hardening cement and each step we would sink lower
After about 45 minutes we arrived at Chumbe, a small island several miles off shore.
It is the type of place you read about in pirate stories or imagine in far flung adventure tales.
The island itself is made of coral and the topography changes dramatically whether the tide is low or high.
When we arrived they gave us some fresh
juice (passion fruit) and then gave us a brief lecture on the history of the
island, the conservation project and plans for the future.
They then brought us to our bungalow for the day which was a completely self-contained eco bungalow with its own composting toilet, solar powered warm shower and traditional clothes.
Our guide then met us and brought us on our nature walk…a fascinating journey through incredibly thick and humid forest.
He explained the concept of coral ecology, as well as the profound effects that coral has on general biodiversity.
This man was not your average tour guide as he
was discussing carbon atoms and advanced biochemistry concepts…it was quite the
We then returned to the education center (basically a giant bungalow) and were treated to wonderful lunch of octopus masala, curried vegetables, fresh fish, rice, salad, and assorted fruits. Inevitably we then fell asleep in the sand in advance of our 2pm snorkeling session.
Snorkeling was incredible and very safe.
After returning from snorkeling we were offered coffee and had time to shower
and get ready for the trip back to Zanzibar.
Definitely worth a day trip. It is unlike anything you will ever experience elsewhere on earth.