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Your trip to Chumbe Island: FAQ

To make your trip to Chumbe as comfortable as possible good preparation is key. We collected frequently asked questions (FAQ) from our community that can help to plan your island adventure.

What is Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP)?

Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) is a not-for-profit organization. However, tourism operations follow best practice commercial principles to ensure optimal revenue generation. This revenue is reinvested to support all Marine Protected Area (MPA) operations, conservation and education activities.

Boat transfers: How do I get to Chumbe Island?

The only way to go to Chumbe Island is directly with us and our boats. There is no way to reach the island with other companies or to moor with your own boat to ensure the strict requirements of our private protected area.

Boat check-in time is at 9:30 am at the restaurant area of Jungle Paradise Resort & Spa (Former Protea Mbweni Ruins Hotel) which is just a 10-minute drive south of Stone Town for a 10:00 am departure to the island. On your return day to Zanzibar check out and boat departure time from island is at 09:00 am arriving Jungle Paradise Hotel at around 09:45 am approximately.

We can arrange taxi transfers from your location in Zanzibar to Jungle Paradise Resort (US$15 per vehicle of 7 seats from Zanzibar airport or Stone town and US$60 from any beach hotel in Zanzibar).

If you are not able to make the 10:00 am boat departure, late boat transfers to Chumbe Island can be arranged (between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm) at a rate of US$75 per boat one way. To book a taxi or a late transfer boat to Chumbe, please contact us at reservations.

What do I need to put on my packing list?

Many of our guests ask us how to dress properly or which equipment they should bring to Chumbe Island. Therefore we put a packing list together, which you can download and print. No worries if you don’t have your own snorkel gear. You can borrow snorkel equipment like fins, rash guards, masks and tubes on the island. That also includes life wests and snorkel equipment for children.

During low tides you will have to walk briefly in the ocean to reach the boat, so please ensure that you dress appropriately. You may want to avoid long pants, as they will most likely get wet. Chumbe staff will provide reef shoes to board and de-board, however you may feel more comfortable bringing your own sandals with heel straps or reef shoes.

Do you have some extra space in your luggage? Would you like to support our education programs? Please visit Pack for a Purpose, which shows the list of items needed. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Are there any dangerous animals or plants on the island?

All the animals (reptiles, crustaceans, insects) on the island are harmless, if you don’t try to touch them or harm them in any way that might make them feel threatened. Please note that the fossilised coral in the forest can be quite sharp. Please wear protective footwear and walk carefully during forest walks. There are a few plants that are poisonous if touched or eaten. Our rangers will point them out during the guided forest walk.

Can I do watersports on Chumbe?

On Chumbe we offer guided guest snorkelling in our MPA. The Chumbe reef is one kilometre long and extends for 200 metres to the demarcation buoys. Our patrol rangers will take you out by boat. We have special offers such as early morning snorkelling, sunset snorkelling and night snorkelling. These activities depend on the tides and our rangers decide everyday based on weather conditions if an extra guided snorkelling option is possible. Please note that diving in the Marine Protected Area of Chumbe Island is not possible. However, our reef is shallow, which makes snorkelling on Chumbe a very special experience. Snorkelling is dependent on the tides, so please be aware that conditions and visibility can vary depending on the season.

Please note that it is not possible or allowed to do any water sports like kite – or windsurfing in our MPA. Besides snorkelling we offer more activities on Chumbe. Check out our island activities!

Are the meals included?

Our rates include all food and drinks, except alcoholic beverages. Day trippers can enjoy a delicious Swahili lunch buffet and for overnight guests breakfast and dinner is included as well. We have a selection of locally inspired cocktails, sustainable wines, beers and other drinks for you to choose from at an extra cost. Finally, please let us know if you have any special requirements such as dietary needs, allergies, or physical difficulties, so we can ensure you have a pleasant stay on the island.

Do you offer late checkouts?

Besides our regular checkouts we also offer early morning or late checkouts. Please confirm directly on the island with our island manager Vera or Harish. Please note: due to our caring capacity and limited boat transfers it is not always possible to offer a late or early morning checkout.

Which sunscreen am I allowed to use?

As sunscreen can be harmful to coral reefs, we always ask our guests to apply reef-friendly sunscreen, which is free from specific chemicals.

If you apply your own sunscreen before visiting Chumbe please note that these chemicals are most harmful to coral reefs:

  • Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3, BP-3)
  • Butylparaben
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzilidene camphor (4MBC)


It is not always easy to find reef friendly sunscreen in every country and especially in Zanzibar you barely get it in the supermarkets. However, we also provide reef friendly sunscreen on the island. Please ask our Guiding Rangers before snorkelling for more infos.

You can also wear a simple long sleeved T-shirt and leggings while snorkelling. Rash guards and sun shirts can also be lend on the island to protect you from the sun.

Why is the reef on the eastern side of Chumbe Island not protected?

The reef on the western side shows an exceptional high diversity of hard corals and fish species, and therefore presented a high potential for conservation and the creation of a no-take zone to protect the reef as a fish breeding ground. The reef on the eastern side is facing a lagoon, has naturally less coral
cover, and was designated an open fishing area for local communities during MPA negotiations in 1994.

When do environmental education (EE) trips take place on Chumbe Island, and who are the participants?

We conduct EE trips throughout the year, but mostly during the tourism low season. They have been targeted towards:

  1. School children and teachers
  2. Universities and academic institutions
  3. Fishers and marine resource users
  4. Government agencies
  5. Local NGOs

School children have been by far the largest group educated, and it was the lack of environmental education in schools that prompted the establishment of the Chumbe project. In September 2023, we surpassed 12,070 EE participants since the program started in 1996.

Does Chumbe receive funding from the Government or other funding agencies?

No. The concept of this initiative was to establish an MPA whereby ecotourism revenue provided all of the funding required for conservation management and environmental education initiatives. This concept has been successfully realized since the late 1990s, when Chumbe became the world’s first financially self- sustainable MPA. To date, the Chumbe MPA is still one of only two MPAs in the world that is entirely self- financed. It is also the only MPA to have been self-financed for over two decades.

We didn’t answer your question? Please feel free to contact our reservation team via book@chumbeisland.com or get in touch with us via our contact form.

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