Zanzibar Coral ReefsSansibar Coral Reefs
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Zanzibar
Zanzibar Islands are encircled by coral reefs hiding in the glittering Indian Ocean's deep sea. There are many very nice places to snorkel and dive - but here we want to emphasize the best. At the top of our shortlist must be the giant cliff around Mnemba Iceland, which is enormous and eclipses the other two.
After Mnemba Island Lodge itself, most of Zanzibar Northeast and North-East Zanzibar Lodge will do many of their diving here, so it's not a calm one. The calm and relatively unexplored reefs of the Menai Bay Conservation Area - off the southwestern coast of Zanzibar - are completely different, but just as atractive.
They are quite unspoiled, as there has been little evolution, and currently there are only a few small ones here - especially Fumba and Unguja, as noted below. After all, no shortlist would be exhaustive without the small island of Chumbe, which has some of the best coral garden in the whole wide open.
Chumbe Island is the only way to get there - and only snorkeling, led by one of the teams of the lodges, is allow.
The coral reefs off the Tanzanian coastline are being wiped out, most of them irreparable.
According to a new United Nations Environmental Protection Programme report, if the latest trend continues and governments do not cut global warming gases, almost all coral reefs in the planet will bleach strongly every year. Whitening has a very adverse effect on the sanity of a coral sanctuary, which is essential for the sanity of the oceans.
So what is coral bleach? Coral, the structure that we call reefs, consists of two different organisms: an organism (coral) and a single cell photo-synthetic alga (dinoflagellate). Collaboration, in which two different living beings co-exist for reciprocal use, is referred to as symbolization. The coral (the animal) provides conservation and resources for photosynthetics while the photo-synthetic seaweed produce diet.
In most cases this is due to stress due to high temperature. This is why large coral bleaches appear at high ocean surfaces associated with El Nino - a hot event of severe rain. However, other causes such as coldness, increased sunlight and environmental contamination have also led to low coral bleach at the area.
Are corals along the Tanzanian coast affected? In some reefs in Tanzania, for example, the 1997-1998 loss of life from coral bleach was as high as 80%. The world whitening incident was due to the increased ocean temperatures due to El Nino. Pemba and Mafia reefs in Misali and Tutia were the most affected, with about 90% of these reefs being coral deaths.
Usually longer bleaches cause coral death because the source of nutrition - the photo-synthetic seaweed - is no longer there to fulfil its part. Many of these reefs have not recuperated and there is no expectation that they will be able to fully recuperate. A further whitening incident took place in 2016 between February and June along the Tanzanian coastline.
As in earlier incidents, this was due to high ocean temperature due to El Niño. This didn't cause much death. In the reefs of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar only a few coral deaths have been seen. Many corals have recuperated and are now in good condition. Whereas these are two important coral bleaches, there are also smaller seasons.
The coral reefs are an important nesting area for marine life. The reason for this is probably a change from coral to macro algae riff. Usually coral dying by whitening promotes the rapid colonization of the area by macro algae and take over even the few still left places at living coral reefs.
The coral reefs are also very important for the conservation and stabilization of the coast by minimizing the amount of coral power and alleviating both regular and medium storm related damages. Therefore, losing these reefs will be disadvantageous for our coastguard in the near term. Whitening of corals is due to the rise in ocean temperatures, which is why the effects of climate change are worrying.
However, there are other smaller bleaches due to low temperatures, sunlight, reduced salt content and soiling. However, there is no evidence to support the contributions of these other elements to the whitening processes we have seen in Tanzania. In Tanzania, what is being done is the recovery of severely demoted coral reefs.
Coral grafts are cultivated in areas with heavily damaged reefs. At the moment I am engaged in the energetic restauration of heavily demoted coral reefs in front of Dar es Salaam. Since July 2016, when the rebuild began, we have successfully restored about 5,000 square metres of demoted coral-reefs.