Tanga Marine Park & Reserves

Tanga Marine Park & Reserves

Ocean Islands

Tanga Marine Park & Reserves

Islands, Marine Parks and Reserves 467 km² Ocean Islands, Tanga

Tanga Coleacanth Marine Park

This park is internationally renowned for the presence and high abundance of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. The rare ‘living fossil’ fish were re-discovered in the coastal waters off Tanzania in 2003. Since then has been sighted frequently within the TACMP area. Today, many of the park’s residents see the coelacanth as an icon for their rich coastal resources and opportunities for eco-tourism. 

Marine life consists of endangered species like dugong, which was sighted in 2006 off Kigombe, sea turtles, tropical fish species and migratory water birds. The park is focusing intensely on Coelacanth protection as a key component for achieving its species and biodiversity conservation objective.

The Park covers an area of about 552 km² of which 85 km² are terrestrial and 467 km² are aquatic. It includes the bays of Tanga City and Mwambani, Tongoni estuary, and three small islands of Toten, Yambe and Karange. The uniqueness of the park includes: the occurrence and high rates of incidental catches of the CITES - listed and iconic Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. TACMP is also a home to other endangered species like dugong, sea turtles and migratory water birds. The dugong was 1st sighted in 2006 off Kigombe.

Toten Island 
Toten Island is located in Tanga Bay directly opposite Tanga Harbour. The island is covered by a lush coastal forest with huge baobab trees and has also ruins of early settlements. When the Portuguese controlled part of the coast, Toten Island seems to have been used for a prison. Later, according to historical records, the island was around 1854 occupied by a considerable number of inhabitants. Islamic monochrome and Chinese blue and white shards mostly of the 15th, 16th and late 18th and 19th centuries have been found here.

There are also ruins of two mosques and German tombs of the turn of 19th century, as well as foundations and ruins of buildings of the German colonial era, when Toten Island served as a quarantine station and European graveyard, thus its name ‘Toten Island’, which is German for ‘island of the dead’. In 1884, the last inhabitants of the Island moved to Tanga. Research is needed to explore the history of the many ruins on Toten Island, which are also in urgent need of protection as historical sites. Toten Island also has small beaches and nature trails criss-crossing the forest and ruins and can be visited by boats, arranged by hotels and tour operators in Tanga.

Yambe Island
Yambe Island borders the southeast coast of Tanga Bay opposite of the Ras Nyamakuu peninsula. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and totally covered by coastal rag and mangrove forests. Uninhabited today, German records of the 19th century mention a small resident village of a local Arab ruler with his slaves. Maybe from his time or earlier, the island has ruins hidden in the forest, a walled grave and pillar tomb with large panels, enclosed by stones decorated with a herringbone pattern and a frieze of small panels. The herringbone pattern is a rare and unique feature Yambe Island in such tombs, but also sometimes found in ‘mihrabs’ of mosques.

Tanga Marine Reserves

  • Kwale Island Marine Reserve
  • Kirui Island Marine Reserve
  • Ulenge Island Marine Reserve
  • Mwewe Island Marine Reserve

Maziwe Sand Bar (Marine Reserve)

Maziwe island marine reserve is a very small unvegetated island surrounded by coral reefs located about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south east of the town of Pangani off the northern coast of Tanzania.

Maziwe / Maziwi Island is one of the oldest Marine Reserve in Tanzania which located about 15 miles from the cost of Pangani. It assumes that in 1912 the island was covered by a dense forest which was so lush. From the 1970 the trees were cut down and the island reverted to a sandbank .Around 1983 the last tree was seen on Maziwe and what is left today is a sun-kissed sand island exposed during low tide.

The Maziwe Island was established in 1975 and given a status of a Reserve to protect this most important breeding place for sea turtles of the East Africa Coast as well as to take care of the important reef system around.

Maziwe is also a diversity of nearly 400 species of fish, 35 general of hard and soft corals, sponges and algae as well as shoreline birds have been identified. The long reef slopes and beautiful coral gardens around the island are still visited by sea turtles looking for breeding places with records of about 200 nests of green and olive ridley turtles in a season when maziwe was still a forested island.

Species of fish: In Maziwe Marine reserve you will find over 200 species of fish and 35 kinds of coral riffs which are found in the particular area.
Birds: Many types of birds of different species are also found in and around the Island Reserve.
Vegetation cover: The main island vegetation species that were found by then were huge trees like Casuarina cunninghamiana (Mivinje Bahari), Cocos nucifera (coconut plantations) fruit trees and other shrubs.

Under water adventures : The area is also ideal for underwater adventures and is among the best diving destinations along the Eastern African Coast with a wide variety of underwater marine life.


  • Swimming and Snorkeling - Maziwe Island remains an ideal place for swimming, snorkeling and diving in the deep sea.
  • Sunbathing - Sunbathing and watching dazzling tropical fish is more impressive at this marine park.
  • Fishing - Maziwe Island serves as a fishing camp to a number of fishermen from different areas.

Rainfall - The coastal has tropical climate and it contain about two main rain seasons but heavy rains occurs between mid March to May.
Temperature - The temperatures average between 25°C to 30°C

Best time to visit

  • The Maziwe Island reserve is open and can be visited all round the year.
  • Dolphins favour the area and are frequently spotted

Enquire: Tanga Marine Park And Reserves

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