> Uzi Island Ecotourism & Cultural Tourism

Uzi Island Ecotourism & Cultural Tourism

For those interested in ecotourism and cultural tourism Uzi Island has a lot to offer!

The Menai Bay, which since 1997 is a protected area, forms an important ecosystem of mangrove forests, sea grass beds, islands with fresh water forest, coral reefs and a large diversity of plants, land and water animals, including dolphins, African Sea Eagles, and sea turtles.

On the beach, some 2 km west of Uzi Village, we have created a Sea Turtle Lagoon on a 2500 sqms terrain, where marine turtles are kept, both for educational purposes, particularly for local children and youth, and as a major environmental tourists attraction in Zanzibar. We buy all turtles from local fishermen who without our intervention would slaughter the turtles to sell their meat. We keep the turtles in the lagoon for a limited time and release then them on the open sea between Unguja and Pemba, where chances are lower that they will get caught again.

Our lagoon has various pools where you can see and learn about Green Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles, Loggerhead Turtles, Leatherback Turtles and Olive Ridley Turtles. Further, at the lagoon there are themed areas about sustainable and unsustainable fishing methods, fascinating tideland creatures, coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seaweed cultivation, the importance of conservation, and there is a bird observation point. See a sketch of our lagoon.

Uzi Village is a rural Swahili coast fishing village where little has changed during the last decades or even centuries. There are no hotels, no bars and restaurants, no crowds of tourists, and no souvenir shops with imported products. The Uzians have always shown resilience against any form of mass tourism, as they are proud to maintain their strong Swahili culture. However, they are happy to receive visitors who are interested in their lives, customs and traditions. In Uzi village, you can experience traditional activities such as weaving, carpentry, charcoaling and bee farming, and learn about sites of importance for the locals such as the Old Mosque and the Island's tallest tree. You can even enter a private home and experience some family cooking. We ask visitors to Uzi, particularly women, to dress modestly (e.g. skirts/pants should cover the knees, no bare shoulders, no belly tops, not revealing a lot of cleavage).

Ecotourism and cultural tourism are great means to create employment and income for locals, while at the same time respecting their culture and supporting the conservation of their environment. When the locals see that tourists are interested in their natural and cultural assets and that they can even monetize on this to be able to make a living, they start to appreciate and conserve what they got.

We have trained several locals in tour guiding, English language and service provision. Further we have worked in capacity building of Uzians to manufacture local products that can be sold as real Uzian souvenirs, such as seaweed soap and turtle toys from coconut shells. 

You as a visitor will not only have a day full of interesting discoveries and fun, but with your visit you will support the sustainable development of Uzi Island. 

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