Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve

Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve

Ocean Islands

Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve

Islands, Marine Parks and Reserves 1 km² Ocean Islands, Dar es Salaam

Bongoyo Island Marine Reserve is uninhabited Island, located 2.5km north of the country capital city, Dar es Salaam. It is the most frequently visited island of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserves System (DMRS).

The island lies close to the Msasani Peninsula is reachable by means boat ride, it takes only 30 minutes from the mainland. The point of departure for most visitors to the island is “the Slipway mall complex” on the western side of the Msasani Peninsula.

The underwater habitat range from shallow gently sloping coral reefs, sandy expnses and sea grass beds. Coastal shores of this island support several clearly defined communities of plants and animals. Their distribution is predominantly determined by physical conditions including the type of substrates (whether sedimentary or rock), slope of substrates, tidal and current regimes, exposure to wave action and the influence of fresh water. The main coastal habitats around Bongoyo Island include sand beaches (beach I and II), coral reefs, sea grass beds, rocky shores, lagoons (shark lagoon) and algal beds.


The Island has forest with vegetation described as bush land with emergent trees. Plant species are chiefly characteristic of the dry land coastal forest of East Africa.

About 59 plant families are found on the Island. Both island of Bongoyo and Mbudya have very similar vegetation type differing by few aspects. Sand dunes of these islands are colonized by pioneer species such as Cyperus crassipes, Crotolaria laburuodes, Tephrosia pumila var aldabresis, T. pumila var dumesis, Asytasia gangentica and Ipomoea pesi-caprae. 

Fishes around the coral reef and the seagrass beds includes Butterfly fish Chaetodontidae, Sweet lips Haemulidae, Grouper, Serranidae and banded coral shrimps Stenopus hispidus. Other intertidal organisms includes Sea urchin (Diadema sp), Giant clamps (Tridacna sp), Octopus (Octopodidea), Tigger cowry, (Cyprea tigris), Starfish (Protoreaster linck), Cushion starts (Oreasteridae) Nudibranchia, Hermit crabs (Anomura), Edible sea cucumbers (Holothuridae) and Sea turtles are reported to be frequently seen by the divers over the reefs. 

Two species of Hawksbill (Eretmochely imbricate) and Green turtles Chelonea mydas are nesting on on the beaches of Bongoyo and Mbudya islands.

On Bongoyo island there are two mooring sites where the visiting boats anchor. There is a number of bandas on the sand beach for resting (roof only). Msasani Slipway has a mobile bar, which serve cold drinks and can serve fish and chips for visitors. The staff ensures that the area is clean and tidy at the end of the day. There is one Honorary Ranger who is always at service

The Island is approximately 30 minutes ride from the mainland with motorized dhow from Msasani Slipway and 10 min by speedboat from Msasani Bay.

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