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Tanzania Ecotourism - Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island Coral Park

Chumbe Island, located 10 km south west of Stone Town, is a pristine coral island eco-system which includes a reef sanctuary and protected forest. As the only private marine park in the world Chumbe has an important role in the International Conservation community as environmental agencies wait to see whether a private initiative can produce a sustainable marine protected area.


At Chumbe the revenue generated through tourism subsides the conservation and education programmes run in the park. There is a historic lighthouse and the old lighthouse keeper's residence has been converted into an Education and Visitors Centre and excursions are provided free of charge to local children's schools. Many of these children come from schools within fishing communities, so they learn about the resources upon which their families depend and which they will depend upon in the future.

To ensure zero tourism impact on the island, seven unique eco-bungalows for visitors have been erected using state of the art eco-architecture including solar water heating, solar photovoltaic electricity, rainwater catchment systems, greywater filtration and compost toilets.

Chumbe has been chosen to represent Tanzania as an example of eco-tourism at EXPO2000 in Hannover where a bungalow will be reconstructed. In November 1999 Chumbe won the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award for the southern region and in February Chumbe won the global award as well, beating the other four regional winners for this prestigious award.
As tourism increases around the world, so do the pressures on the local environments. In many coastal resorts, the increased need for water that eventually leads into waste increase such as sewage have created major problems, both for local people and tourist alike. What were once ideal holiday resorts have now changed having plenty of sewage polluted waters killing both fish and coral. Overuse of underground water reserves has allowed salt water to enter the fresh water aquifers thereby making them unusable. But through careful planning and the use of the latest technologies, such problems can be avoided.

For example the case with Chumbe Island Coral Park where technology and design have been brought together to produce bungalows that take nothing from the sea and do not introduce anything harmful to their surrounding Eco-system. Both of which are very important when the aim of the project is to protect one of the world's most spectacular shallow water coral reefs and a pristine forest on fossil coral rock. Each bungalow is totally self-contained. Solar power is employed to supply lighting. Each bungalow having own photovoltaic panels, which provide all the power needed to light the bungalow.
Rainwater, collected by the large surface area of the roof is first filtered and then stored in large cisterns under the floor of each bungalow. These can hold around 15,000 litres each. Here it is stored until needed when it is pumped to the tanks. Hot water is supplied courtesy of the sun each bungalow. These rely on the natural currents created when water is heated and heating therefore does not require pumps.

Each day this system can supply 200 litres of hot water for showers and washing. To avoid introducing unwanted nutrients, waste water from the shower and washbasin first pass through a filter before entering a plant bed that has been sealed from its surroundings. Plants that absorb large amounts of phosphates and nitrates have been planted here to remove these nutrients before the water enters the Eco-system.
Water is also conserved by not using flush toilets, which also removes the problem of sewage. Instead, compost toilets are employed.

These, with the aid of specially designed venting, use the natural breakdown of organic material (aerobic compound) to reduce human waste to natural fertilizer. This can later be removed from the island and use on farms and gardens. The Coral Park is very proud to be able to make Tanzania one of the first country in the world to have guest accommodation that is totally environmentally friendly and hopes that others will follow its example.

Chumbe Island is a fully gazetted and internationally recognized nature reserve that is home to one of the world's most spectacular shallow water coral reefs and a pristine forest on fossile coral rock. To preserve this exceptional environment, we have built accommodation based on the state-of-the-art of eco-architecture. The technology is well known and tried out in some more advanced parts of the world. Everything should be functioning if properly managed.

Chumbe Island, located 10 km south west of Stone Town, is a pristine coral island eco-system which includes a reef sanctuary and protected forest. As the only private marine park in the world Chumbe has an important role in the International Conservation community as environmental agencies wait to see whether a private initiative can produce a sustainable marine protected area.

At Chumbe the revenue generated through tourism subsides the conservation and education programmes run in the park. There is a historic lighthouse and the old lighthouse keeper's residence has been converted into an Education and Visitors Centre and excursions are provided free of charge to local children's schools. Many of these children come from schools within fishing communities, so they learn about the resources upon which their families depend and which they will depend upon in the future.

To ensure zero tourism impact on the island, seven unique eco-bungalows for visitors have been erected using state of the art eco-architecture including solar water heating, solar photovoltaic electricity, rainwater catchment systems, greywater filtration and compost toilets.

Chumbe has been chosen to represent Tanzania as an example of eco-tourism at EXPO2000 in Hannover where a bungalow will be reconstructed. In November 1999 Chumbe won the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award for the southern region and in February Chumbe won the global award as well, beating the other four regional winners for this prestigious award.
As tourism increases around the world, so do the pressures on the local environments. In many coastal resorts, the increased need for water that eventually leads into waste increase such as sewage have created major problems, both for local people and tourist alike. What were once ideal holiday resorts have now changed having plenty of sewage polluted waters killing both fish and coral. Overuse of underground water reserves has allowed salt water to enter the fresh water aquifers thereby making them unusable. But through careful planning and the use of the latest technologies, such problems can be avoided.

For example the case with Chumbe Island Coral Park where technology and design have been brought together to produce bungalows that take nothing from the sea and do not introduce anything harmful to their surrounding Eco-system. Both of which are very important when the aim of the project is to protect one of the world's most spectacular shallow water coral reefs and a pristine forest on fossil coral rock. Each bungalow is totally self-contained. Solar power is employed to supply lighting. Each bungalow having own photovoltaic panels, which provide all the power needed to light the bungalow.
Rainwater, collected by the large surface area of the roof is first filtered and then stored in large cisterns under the floor of each bungalow. These can hold around 15,000 litres each. Here it is stored until needed when it is pumped to the tanks. Hot water is supplied courtesy of the sun each bungalow. These rely on the natural currents created when water is heated and heating therefore does not require pumps.

Each day this system can supply 200 litres of hot water for showers and washing. To avoid introducing unwanted nutrients, waste water from the shower and washbasin first pass through a filter before entering a plant bed that has been sealed from its surroundings. Plants that absorb large amounts of phosphates and nitrates have been planted here to remove these nutrients before the water enters the Eco-system.
Water is also conserved by not using flush toilets, which also removes the problem of sewage. Instead, compost toilets are employed.

These, with the aid of specially designed venting, use the natural breakdown of organic material (aerobic compound) to reduce human waste to natural fertilizer. This can later be removed from the island and use on farms and gardens. The Coral Park is very proud to be able to make Tanzania one of the first country in the world to have guest accommodation that is totally environmentally friendly and hopes that others will follow its example.

Chumbe Island is a fully gazetted and internationally recognized nature reserve that is home to one of the world's most spectacular shallow water coral reefs and a pristine forest on fossile coral rock. To preserve this exceptional environment, we have built accommodation based on the state-of-the-art of eco-architecture. The technology is well known and tried out in some more advanced parts of the world. Everything should be functioning if properly managed.

Last Updated on Wednesday 25th November 2009

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