Take nothing but memories. Leave nothing but footprints.

Marine Conservation

Pemba is home to a rich diversity of tropical marine habitats, including coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves. The reefs surrounding the island are arguably the most diverse in East Africa and have been identified as a priority area for conservation by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Local communities are reliant on Pemba’s coastal and marine ecosystems for their livelihoods, with fishing and mariculture being important sources of food and income. The intense demand for fish in local communities, due partly to a rapidly increasing population, is unsustainable in its current form and is putting great strain on the marine environment. In the past, fishermen have engaged in damaging fishing practices, such as nets with small mesh sizes, anchoring on the reef and dynamite. Some of these practices continue today.

The Community Conservation Donation

A NEW Kwanini Foundation Community Conservation donation of $30 per person per night. A donation directly supporting the critical work done by our foundation and our community for the environment and the people of Pemba Island.

The no-take zone

Kwanini Marine Conservation Area

The value of setting aside small areas

Pemba also faces global challenges such as climate change and plastic pollution which are also contributing to the demise of coral reefs throughout the world. The creation of marine protected areas in key locations plays a crucial part in halting this decline.

In late 2013, we reviewed the potential for a community-based marine conservation effort on the reef at the Manta Resort. Over a period of three days we held consultations with local community members and fisheries stakeholders. With the support of local communities and the government, we turned 1km of coastline into a no-take zone called the Kwanini Marine Conservation Area (KMCA) where all forms of fishing are prohibited. The last four years have seen a tremendous increase in fish populations and the fishermen are beginning to recognise the value of setting aside small areas. These efforts are supported and funded through tourism.

A series of protected areas

Our challenge is to create a series of similar protected areas in key locations along the east coast of Pemba, with the full cooperation of the local communities, government and tourism enterprises, focussing on areas with the most intact corals, the coral biodiversity hotspots and the fish nursery/breeding areas.

One of the Kwanini Foundation’s main goals is to protect these valuable resources by working together with the local Pemban communities to secure a reliable livelihood and a brighter hope for the future.

Terrestrial Conservation

For approximately 10 million years Pemba Island has been separated from mainland Tanzania and as a result the plant and animal species of Pemba have evolved separately. The island is therefore home to a number of species which are found only on Pemba, known as endemics. A high number of the endemic species inhabit one of the last remnants of natural forest on Pemba – the Ngezi Forest Reserve. Declared a forest reserve in the 1959, Ngezi covers an area of 1440 ha and is home to a very special mix of plants and animals. Covering five different vegetation zones including moist forest, coral rag and mangrove, the reserve has a high level of biodiversity. The forest is unique and some species which are common in Ngezi are considered globally rare.

A heath bushland dominated by a heather-like vegetation only found on Pemba and Mafia Islands, is found within the Ngezi forest. The species of heather is in decline on Mafia, making the Pemban population globally significant. The ‘coral rag’ forest, an arboreal area growing upon a base of ancient coral rubble, once widespread in East Africa, has been lost to agriculture and tourism. The Ngezi coral rag forest remains the best example within the Zanzibar archipelago.


Rare and endemic species

There are several rare and/or endemic species associated with the forest; notably the ebony, fruit-bearing Mjoho, the most common tree species in the forest, now classified as globally rare. Of course, the forest provides a habitat to many other species. The endemic Pemba flying fox, a large fruit eating bat, and the charismatic (but rarely seen) Pemba Scops Owl are both Ngezi residents, alongside Pemba Vervet and Zanzibar Colobus monkeys and the Pemba Blue Duiker – a relative of the antelope.

The Ngezi Rainforest

Up to 1840 virtually the whole of Pemba was covered in forest but in the last 150 years clearing for farming, cloves and establishment of rubber and coconut plantations have destroyed over 95% of the original trees. Although designated as a Forest Reserve in the 1950s, exploitation continued, and threats remain today to the Ngezi forest. These include tree felling for timber production and fire wood, hunting, and the spread of invasive species, particularly exotic timber species.

Currently, there are two forest trails and a visitor centre, so it is possible to explore the forest with a guide. At the Kwanini Foundation we see the Ngezi Forest as an important cultural and heritage link for the Pemban people as well as a unique resource that, with careful management, can be exploited without damaging the unique plants and animals which inhabit the forest.

The Community Conservation Donation

A NEW Kwanini Foundation Community Conservation donation of $30 per person per night. A donation directly supporting the critical work done by our foundation and our community for the environment and the people of Pemba Island.

Explore our reefs or learn how to dive with us in our 5 star PADI dive centre, with over 20 years of experience.

Combine the best of two worlds! We are proud to offer an East African safari before your Pemba adventure. Enquire today to get a tailor-made safari from Kushanga Safaris

Kwanini foundation is an initiative to make a positive contribution to the future of Pemba Island by working alongside the local communities to help them understand and conserve the natural world on which they depend.

To Kwanini Foundation