Jozani-Chwaka Bay

©Wikimedia Commons/Fanny Schertzer
Mangroves in Jozani Forest

The Jozani – Chwaka Bay Biosphere Reserve contains the only national park on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania. Its landscape is a mosaic of mangroves, tropical forests and coral rug forests, as well as groundwater, salt marshes, and agricultural and residential areas. The site is a biodiversity hotspot home to reef fish species, dolphins and 168 species of birds including 30 species of global and regional importance. Out of the site’s 291 known plant species, 21 are considered to be endangered.

The inhabitants of the reserve live mainly from activities related to tourism, fishing, beekeeping, butterfly rearing and crab fattening.

Designation date: 2016
Administrative authorities: Department of Forestry and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Village Conservation Committees
Surface area (terrestrial and marine): 21,274 ha
Core area(s): 2,063 ha
Buffer zone(s): 4,227 ha
Transition area(s): 14,984 ha

6°9’8”S – 6°19’S
Longitude: 39°19’01”E – 39°30’13”E
Midpoint: 6°14’9”S – 39°25’11”E

Ecological Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Olivier Lejade
Zanzibar red colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii)

The area is virtually flat, with the exception of groundwater forest, which features moderate slopes on the western and eastern sides. The soil of the Jozani forest is rich, black and highly organic, but ceases abruptly at the forest margin, giving way to broken coral rag with shallow pockets of light brown sandy soil.

The landscape is a mosaic of mangroves, tropical forests and coral rug forests, groundwater, salt marshes, and agricultural and residential areas, making the area a biodiversity hotspot. Out of the 291 plants species, which belong to 83 families, 21 are under threat or endangered. Several plant species are used for traditional medicines.

The area is home to many faunal species including the African civet (Civettictis civetta), mangrove kingfisher (Halcyon senegaloides) and African goshawk (Accipiter tachiro), as well as endangered endemic species such as the Kassina Jozani frog, Zanzibar red colobus (Piliocolobus kirkii), Aders’ duiker (Cephalophus adersi) and Zanzibar servaline genet (Genetta servalina archeri).


Socio-Economic Characteristics

©Wikimedia Commons/Rcastino

The core and buffer zones are uninhabited, however, 16,423 people live and practise their livelihoods in the transition zone. The present population around the biosphere reserve is culturally heterogeneous comprising Bantu, Hadimu and Shirazi, with Hadimu being the majority ethnic group and Bantu the minority. Tourism, followed by agriculture and fishing are the most important economic activities, although the local population also practise livestock keeping, and earn their livelihoods from forest products and non-wood forest products such as beekeeping and handicrafts.

Similar characteristic and ritual activities are found among the communities who reside in the vicinity of the biosphere reserve. The Mapopwe preserve shrines while parts of the reserve celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad in the third month of the Islamic calendar (Hijra).


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Last updated in June 2016

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