To reach the island, the boat leaves from MBWENI RUINS HOTEL (south of Stone town) at 10:00am, the reporting time here is at 9.30am for administration, and pick up time from Stone town Hotels is at 9:00am and beach Hotels is at 8:00am.For overnight clients the boat returns the clients again to Mbweni Ruins at around 09:45am on the day of their return to Zanzibar. For day trip the boat returns at 15:00hrs.
Please be advised that for an overnight clients who would need to be transferred to Chumbe Island after 10:00am that this is only possible until 15:30hrs at the latest at an extra charge of US$50. Beyond this time the clients are unable to be transferred to the Island.
We’re sorry that time extensions on the return day (that is, taking a later boat on the day of return to Zanzibar) cannot be accommodated as there is a strict policy regarding numbers of visitors allowed on the island at any time.
The clients are advised to wear shoes that can be used in the water, as at certain tides they may have to wade for a short distance to the boat. Also, please tell me if the clients have any special requirements (e.g. dietary requirements, attention to allergies, physical difficulties as beds are Japanese style mattresses on the floor) so that we can make any necessary arrangements. All guests that may require special equipment for snorkeling such as unusual fin & mask sizes, prescription masks etc are advised to bring their own.
Kindly please be informed that any extras (such as alcoholic drinks) are usually paid by US$ cash when on the Island. Chumbe Island accepts credit cards (VISA, Mastercard, JCB and Eurocard) and Travellers Cheques with an administration fee of 5%.
Chumbe Island is a tiny coral island about six miles by boat from Zanzibar Town. Many years ago, Tanzania’s had a military base here and strictly restricted access to the surrounding ocean. Thus the area’s coral remained untouched – even by local fishermen. After that, conservationists realized its value and when the military left, the area was placed under the protection of its own marine park: Chumbe Island Coral Park.
At the heart of this park stands the small island itself, and on this is the remarkable Chumbe Island Lodge. This is a trail-blazing, award-winning example of a lodge that is genuinely ecologically sensitive – and hence you may hear it referred to as “Chumbe Island Eco-lodge” or sometimes “Chumbe Eco-resort”, or even simply “Chumbe Island Resort” – although, in fact, Chumbe doesn’t feel anything like an island resort at all – and it’s as far from a standard ‘hotel’ as you can imagine!
Chumbe Island Lodge is run by the not for profit private company Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd (CHICOP), and staffed by a very welcoming team of Zanzibari and Tanzanian people who are fully engaged with the projects aims and ethos. The ecologically-sensitive design of the lodge is award-winning. It’s not only very green, but it also takes mainly local materials and building techniques to a higher level – to produce quite spectacular results. The main dining and lounge area, which also functions as an education centre, is particularly impressive in the scale of its design.
For accommodation, Chumbe Island Lodge has one single-storey bungalow, plus six double-storey bungalows. All are lit by solar power at night. Each of the double-story bungalows has a bedroom on the top floor, one wall of which can be lowered to stay open to the stars. Downstairs is a bathroom, a lounge/living room area and a large hammock. In the bathroom, the solar-heated shower uses rainwater, and the toilet is a clever, long-drop composting design.
It’s important to understand that (like most islands made of coral) there’s no good groundwater on Chumbe Island. Hence all of the lodge’s buildings have been ingeniously designed to catch, filter and store their own rainwater.
All of the bungalows are within 30 seconds’ walk of the beach. The food is simple but very fresh and good, with a strong emphasis on vegetables, fruit and seafood – prepared using traditional recipes and spices.
Many of Chumbe’s activities are included in the cost of staying here, all are guided by resident guides and most focus on the island’s ecology. Escorted forest walks look at the island’s geology, flora and fauna – including endangered giant coconut crabs. On Chumbe’s beaches, walks explore the rich inter-tidal zone, and then further into the sea, guides who know the reefs around the island lead snorkelling trips (scuba-diving is prohibited). The reefs around Chumbe are one of the most impressive coral gardens off the coast of Africa; they contain over 400 species of fish and 200 species of hard coral.
Chumbe Island Coral Park ploughs its proceeds back into local conservation and education programmes; and has very strong links with, and involvement from, the local communities in the area.