Chumbe Island Coral Park, also referred to as (CHICOP) was developed in 1991 for the sole purpose of conserving and sustaining the unoccupied Chumbe Island. I adored the park due to the beautiful coral reef sanctuary and forest that are protected and harbours numerous historical ruins, several endangered animals eco-lodge, nature trails, and a Visitor and Education centre. All buildings and operations in the CHICOP are based to eco-technology so as to avoid having a negative impact on the environment through solar water heating systems, photovoltaic energy, and composting toilets. The Chumbe Island covers over 16 hectares of forest and can be reached by boat from Mbweni Beach. The forest reserve is surrounded by a coral reef with over 200 pieces of stone corals and hundreds of species of fish and turtles.
Day trip only
Since the Island is a Marine Protected Area (MPA), only day trips are allowed and a manageable number of 14 guests at a time. Remember, day trips are done when there is lodge availability because most facilities here are focused on guests who book overnight trips. Meaning, guests are not allowed to take advantage of advance bookings for these day trips. The rates for day trips include:
- Boat transport
- Cooked lunch
- Snacks and mineral water
- Snorkelling equipment and guide
- Snorkelling tuition
- Guided walk
- All taxes
- Travellers are allowed to buy alcoholic drinks on the island, which made my trip even more fulfilling.
The Chumbe Island eco-bungalows are designed to provide visitors with privacy and the unique sense of freedom that comes with living in the open. Honeymooners and holidaymakers who would like to spend a night or two on the Island find these bungalows brilliantly captivating. All bungalows overlook the sea and are within 30 seconds’ walk of the beach. I loved the freshly prepared food that was all prepared using traditional recipes and spices. The bungalows on the island are well-equipped with:
- Self-contained bathrooms
- Double or twin beds under the palm-thatched roof sleeping area
- Handmade furniture that is decorated with African art
- Large living rooms
Many of the activities on the island are included in the cost of staying on here, and we had resident guides who guided us and showed us more about Chumbe Island’s ecology. Walks on the island allowed me to explore the inter-tidal zone further into the sea as guides led our snorkelling trip. However, scuba-diving is prohibited on the island. The reefs around the island are considered one of the most impressive and unique in the entire coast of Africa. The proceeds of CHICOP are ploughed back into the education programmes and local conservation efforts of the local community.