Securing Chumbe through the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the tourism industry globally. To date (20.03.2020) there is only one confirmed case of Coronavirus in Zanzibar. Nonetheless, travel restrictions in many countries, and the need to self-isolate for many in the coming weeks has resulted in many tourists leaving Zanzibar to return home.

As you can imagine, this is having a significant impact on operations that rely on tourism income, and Chumbe Island is no exception.

As a not-for-profit organisation Chumbe relies entirely on the revenues generated from visitors to secure the jobs of its 43 local employees, assure the protection of the coral reef sanctuary and forest reserve and deliver environmental education classes to hundreds of local school children and community members every year.

From Monday March 23rd  to Thursday May 28th 2020 Chumbe Island will be closed to guests.

During this period we will be undertaking our routine maintenance with a reduced team, while the rest of the team can spend time with their families or in isolation.

From May 28th we are hoping the Chumbe Lodge can be re-opened for business as usual, however with ever-changing news this remains uncertain. We will continue provide updates here as the coming days and weeks progress; and will be happy to answer any questions through

Meantime, we also need to prepare ourselves for all eventualities, and to that end we humbly request any support you may be able to provide. As a locally run organisation with 43 staff, many of whom have been with the project since the beginning, it is worrying and heart-breaking to consider the impacts these measures may have on the teams’ livelihoods, their communities and families, as well as the project overall. If you have visited Chumbe island, you will know that the Chumbe Team is like a family and we operate thoroughly transparently. We have some reserves of resources to help us through the coming weeks, but it gets challenging beyond that.


We are now welcoming donations for the following activities:

  • Safety patrols and conservation management — $100 USD per patrol and monitoring activity
  • Schools and community education — $35 USD per school (100 schools targeted), $40 USD per community (12 key communities targeted)
  • Village artisans working to maintain the ecolodge and ecotechnology — $20 USD per person per day

If you would like to donate, please just send us an email letting us know which activity you would like to support, and we will then send you all the necessary information as well as follow up news and photos to show you your money in action.


  • If a cancellation becomes necessary (which we very much hope it doesn’t), we are offering deferments to a later date, free of any adjustment fee. This means that if you are unable to come and visit us on your planned dates, just let us know at least two weeks before your scheduled arrival and we will hold an “open booking” for you for a period of 18 months, so that as soon as you can reschedule your travels we will arrange new dates for you on the island. The payment you have already made will remain valid throughout this time.
  • Any cancellation that can be avoided will help the team to secure much needed resources. The reservation team offers complete flexibility and will assist you with any questions.


  • We are continuing to take bookings as normal, though guests should be aware that they may be subject to change (depending on how the crisis unfolds in the coming weeks/ months). The team will work with you closely to secure an appropriate time for your visit if any change is necessary.
  • If desired, we are also accepting ‘open bookings’ (where you can confirm your dates at a later time).