Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium and Marine Turtle Conservation Lagoon
This aquarium was built to help turtles caught in fishing nets and now also protects baby turtles. Visitors can see the turtles and lagoon or book a longer-term stay and volunteer to help with their care. The organization also runs a variety of tours to spice plantations, snorkeling spots, and villages to raise money for their conservation efforts. You can also visit the aquarium on a release day, when the team of staff, locals, and volunteers return healthy turtles to the ocean.
The aquarium’s beachside location makes it a great place to wind down after a morning of at Nungwi Beach. Book in advance to secure your admission to both sites, or arrange a guided tour of the area to learn about Zanzibar’s history.
Things to Know Before You Go
Touching the turtles is forbidden (unless supervised by a member of staff during specific types of visits).
There are other aquariums in the area that go by a similar name; if in doubt, check with your tour supplier.
It’s a good idea to bring cash when visiting Nungwi as there is currently no ATM in the village.
How to Get There
Nungwi is just over an hour’s drive from Zanzibar City; public buses to the town depart regularly from the city center. The last section of road leading to the aquarium and beach is not currently paved, but the area can be reached by bike or car or by walking.
When to Get There
Every February, the conservation team arranges a release day, and the community comes together to return the rescued turtles to their home. Visitors can take part in beach and boat releases or enjoy the festivities on the beach, which include dance shows, musical performances, and more.
Nungwi is Zanzibar’s second-most populous residential area and boasts a fascinating history as a fishing village and dhow-building center. If you have time, take a village tour after visiting the aquarium. You can learn about Nungwi’s rich cultural heritage and better understand the context and importance of the aquarium’s conservation work.
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