Approximately 90% of Chumbe Island is covered by one of the last undisturbed tropical dry forests in Zanzibar. This forest was declared a Closed Forest Reserve in 1994 by the Government of Zanzibar, and the management was entrusted to CHICOP.

Chumbe’s Forest Reserve hosts a highly specialised plant community (over 124 identified plant species) that has developed to survive without any groundwater, as the bedrock of the island is made up of an impressive substrate of fossilized coral that is unable to store rainwater. The density of this ‘coral rag’ forest is spectacular, as adventitious roots thrust out in all directions and epiphytic species cling to life by wrapping themselves around all available surfaces.

Not surprisingly, the forest is refuge for an abundance of bird species, crustaceans, non-poisonous snakes and lizards. Fauna also include rare and endangered species such as the Ader’s Duiker, a critically endangered mini-antelope and a large population of Coconut crabs, the largest living arthropod in the world.

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, make studying this environment both challenging and consistently rewarding as new discoveries are constantly uncovered.

For our guests, nature walks are provided which allow for an insight into this otherwise virtually impenetrable habitat.