Chumbe Island Lodge


Zanzibar's best protected coral reef

Chumbe is a rustic eco-lodge on its own forest reserve island surrounded by a stunning coral sanctuary that protects the most pristine reef in Zanzibar.

Once a military base surrounded by restricted waters 5km off Unguja, its potential was seized upon by conservationists on their departure who created a marine park to be supported by ecotourism and a pioneering off-grid resort.

Today, find Chumbe's seven ingeniously designed, ultra-low impact bungalows nestled between the beach and tree line, laid back jumping off points for guided walks in the protected forest in search of native wildlife and snorkelling excursions to marvel at hundreds of species of fish and coral.


At a glance

  • Seven eco bungaloes

  • Restaurant

  • Completely off-grid

  • Education centre and boutique

Chumbe Island Zanzibar 1


  • Chumbe Island Zanzibar 4


    Guided snorkelling tours take you to the edge of Chumbe's reef, a protected sanctuary that is famous for its coral diversity, holding 90% of the coral diversity found in East Africa and providing a home to over 440 identified fish species.

  • Chumbe island king fisher

    Forest walks

    A trail circles the southern part of the dense coral rag forest on Chumbe Island. Venture this trail on your own or join a one hour guided forest walk where you learn more about the geology of the island, plant adaptations to survive without groundwater, medicinal uses of local trees and shrubs and hidden fauna that is difficult to spot.

  • Chumbe island lighthouse

    Island history

    A historic and still functioning lighthouse, built by the Sultan of Zanzibar and the British in 1904, provides spectacular views of the turquoise seas between Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar, still plied by dhows unchanged for a thousand years. There's also a mosque still used for daily prayers by team members on the island today.

Community & Culture

Since the beginning, Chumbe has endeavoured to build strong relationships with the neighbouring communities and gets them involved with conservation efforts. Local fishermen have seen their catches increase thanks to the no-take coral reef regulations allowing for the fish and marine organisms to reproduce undisturbed. Chumbe has also set up an Environmental Education Programme for children to raise awareness about reef conservation and sustainable fishing.


As a privately managed nature reserve, Chumbe Island Coral Park focuses on professional park management, environmental best practice and sustainable tourism. The company was set up primarily to help conserve Zanzibar’s biodiversity. They have worked with government bodies to make the western coral reef and coral-rag forest protected areas that are self-funded through ecotourism. Chumbe’s rangers regularly patrol the reef and the forest to curb illegal fishing and other damaging activities. Invasive species have been removed from the reef and forest. Breeding sanctuaries are helping to bolster populations of endangered species on the island, like Ader’s duikers and coconut crabs.


Chumbe Island prides itself on being eco-friendly. Their efforts include water, electricity and waste disposal. Because there’s no groundwater source on this rocky island, each of the bungalows has its own rainwater collection and filtration system. During the rainy season, water is collected and stored in underground cisterns. The lights are powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof, and the open design of the bungalows allows a free flow of cooling air to help regulate the temperature. The composting toilets are very similar to using normal toilets except that they do not need flushing. They not only save on water but also prevent waste from entering the reef.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

Mountain cutout 2
footer clouds

The world is at your feet

Receive inspiration in your inbox

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Contact a Travel Researcher

We always aim to reply within 24 hours.