Ecotourism financing conservation and environmental education


A small island off the coast of Zanzibar has been profiling a sustainable model of ecotourism that finances conservation and environmental education since more than 25 years.

In the early 1990’s German aid worker, Sibylle Riedmiller created Chumbe Island Coral Park (CHICOP) Ltd, a not-for-profit company set up for the sole purpose of establishing and sustainably managing the Chumbe Island marine protected area (MPA).

This concept has been successfully realized since the late 1990’s, when Chumbe became the first financially selfsustainable MPA in the world and to date Chumbe MPA is still one of only two MPAs in the world that is entirely self-financing.

CHICOP coral

The reserve includes a fully protected coral reef sanctuary, forest reserve, education centre and ecolodge. Besides the 55 ha coral reef — home to 90% of East Africa’s hard coral species and 500 species of fish — rare wildlife protected on and around the island includes the coconut crab, green turtle, Ader’s duiker (antelope) and humpback whale.

Guests to the island can enjoy Chumbe on a day trip from Zanzibar or choose to stay overnight in one of the eco bungalows, completely immersed in nature and with a clean conscience, as solar-power, rainwater harvesting, and composting toilets allow for a zero impact overnight.

CHICOP Marine Park
CHICOP Marine Park

Activities on the island include guided snorkel tours, forests walks, climbs up to the iconic lighthouse as well as night tours through the forest to observe coconut crabs. Every year Chumbe hosts around 300-350 local school children and community members on the island free of charge as part of its Environmental Education Program to provide hands-on learning on marine and forest ecology, sustainable coastal management and ecotourism.

For many of the children it is their first time in the water, with snorkelling along the Chumbe reef constituting a life-changing experience.

Chumbe Forest Reserve

The Chumbe team is the beating heart of the project, with 99% being Tanzanians, with over two thirds from local communities, many of whom have been with Chumbe since its early beginnings.

A new season is about to begin on Chumbe Island! Every year the island closes for maintenance of its eco-architecture and this year a series of upgrades to Chumbe’s solar system have been put into place such as new solar panels, solar water heaters, together with a rainwater outdoor shower for our day guests.

Chumbe Education Programme

The remote location of Chumbe, our strict carrying capacity of 18 visitors on the island, as well as the open breezy structure of our bungalows allow for a secluded get-away and full immersion in nature.

Chumbe Island is pleased to offer a Seasons Opening Special of:
• 2 nights – 10% off the total booking
• 3 nights or more 30% off the total booking
Only for bookings between June 1st to 31st July 2021
Terms and Conditions: Bookings need to be made directly via email at:


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