The uninhabited island of Chumbe, about 12km south of Zanzibar Town, has an exceptional shallow-water coral reef along its western shore that abounds with life. The island and reef are protected as Chumbe Island Coral Park, a privately managed nature reserve and ecotourism project.
The reef is in such good condition mainly because it was part of a military zone, off-limits to locals and visitors, until becoming Chumbe Island Coral Park in the 1990s. There are nearly 200 species of coral and about 370 species of fish. The island is also a haven for hawksbill turtles, and dolphins are often seen. Meanwhile, more than 50 species of birds have been recorded here, including the endangered roseate tern.