If you’re like most travellers I talk to, then the amazing marine life found in Tanzania is the next thing you want to experience alongside your Safari in Tanzania.
Tanzania has already made its name as the top safari destination in Africa and at the end of 2020, one of its parks, Serengeti National Park was announced the best national park in the continent. This was the second time in a row!
While most of the Tanzanian wildlife has been put in the spotlight by most sources across the internet, its amazing marine life is yet to be covered to its potential.
And if you’d ask me (as an experienced safari planner), nothing beats that feeling of complementing your safari with relaxation on the beaches while enjoying the amazing marine life found in the country.
For many years, visiting beaches around the Indian ocean has been a common way to end safari for most visitors in Tanzania but in my opinion, the experience could be even richer with the addition of a few activities alongside our marine life.
So if you have ever wondered how you’d enjoy the amazing marine life found in Tanzania, this is definitely an article for you.
At the end of this article, you’ll be the resident expert with a better knowledge of our marine life especially on;-
- Where to find marine life in Tanzania
- Things to see and do alongside our amazing marine life
- A deep dive into Tanzania Marine life
- Things affecting Tanzania marine life
- Lasting effects of a destroyed marine ecosystem
- What we can do to help
- Planning for a Tanzania tour
Tie on your Tanzania vacation apron, grab a coke or coffee and follow along as I unveil everything you need to know about the amazing marine life found in Tanzania
Where to find marine life in your Tanzania Tour?
With a whopping 885 miles, Tanzania has the largest coastline in East Africa with Kenya following behind with its 333 miles coastline.
The 800 miles plus coastline covers regions like;
- Dar-es-Salaam – The largest city in the country with some of the finest Islands and beaches
- Zanzibar – A world-renowned archipelago attracting thousands of beach lovers every year,
- Coastal region – Famous for its unique mafia island
- Tanga – Reputed for its series of ancient paintings on rockshelter walls
- Lindi – A home of Kilwa which is UNESCO’s World Heritage Site due to its medieval history and the remaining of ancient buildings.
- Mtwara – Holding a remarkable Mikindani Bay Marine Reserve and a part of Africa’s largest national park, Nyerere Park and Selous game reserve.
Things to see and do alongside Tanzania’s marine life
The good (and bad!) thing about visiting Tanzania is that you never run out of attractions and sights you really must-see and must-do. You could spend a week, or even two—and still not come close to seeing it all. It’s one of the reasons so many people return time and again.
That being said, there really are a few things that should top your list; I’m going to share my list, developed over years of listening to what our own guests enjoy the most—
- The clean beaches of the Indian Ocean make sunbathing an extremely enjoyable experience
- On the other hand, the brilliantly clear waters of the Indian Ocean make Boat trips, Snorkeling and Kitesurfing among the top activities in Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam and Mafia.
- Swimming with a whale shark in Mafia Island
- Enjoy the coral reefs of Pemba
- How about the lionfish of Pemba?
- Talk about sea stars of different colours, sizes and shapes in Zanzibar
- Experience Tanzania 5 marine turtle species in the name of hawksbill turtle, green, loggerhead, olive ridley and leatherback turtles.
- Then there are pristine setting to experience the uniqueness of the Indian Ocean in Zanzibar.
Marine Life Found in Tanzania – Up close
As the effects of global warming take a stronger grip on the world, marine research is becoming an increasingly important function.
As we dive deeper into what makes our ocean tick, as well as how to preserve the ecosystems that support it, we find that we know less and less about the mass that accounts for over 70% of the Earth’s surface.
One of the beautiful things about this, though, is that we get to stand in awe of new discoveries and learn about the important role that they play as we uncover more and more.
One such discovery has recently been made, just off the coast of Tanzania.
Buckle up, this is an exciting one!
What is Tanzania famous for?
You may know Tanzania for any one of the many reasons that put this stunning country on the map. Zanzibar, for example, is an island that forms part of the country and offers travelers an exotic, tropical experience drenched in history and natural beauty.
Tanzanite, a gorgeous, rare mineral is found and mined exclusively near the Mererani Hills in Tanzania. Adventure seekers and animal lovers will know about African Safari and Tanzania Safari, such as the Serengeti.
Most recently, and possibly most notably though, is the discovery of a coral sanctuary just off the coast of Dar es Salam, the capital of Tanzania.
The discovery of a new coral sanctuary
Dr. Tim McClanahan, who works for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) noticed a high volume of amazing marine life found in Tanzania when conducting studies, including rare species such as dugongs and the massive (and once thought extinct) coelacanth. Threatened species, such as sharks and rays, have also been spotted in the area. The volume of wildlife led Dr. McClanahan to take a closer look into what was drawing animals to the area and found that a coral sanctuary was the cause.
The mystery of the Coral Sanctuary
This coral sanctuary, however, was something of a mystery.
While neighboring coral was being affected by the increased temperature of the Indian Ocean, this unique coral formation remained healthy.
Believing that temperature had something to do with the preservation of the sanctuary, Dr.
McClanahan placed temperature gauges along the coastline to monitor temperature events (spikes in the temperature of the water).
When one such event occurred, Dr. McClanahan and his team took to the water to determine how the reef was affected.
Unsurprisingly, the coral remained undamaged, despite the rise in temperature of surrounding waters.
The reason this phenomenon exists
Looking into this further, the team found that the cause of the preservation was a cooler temperature in and around the sanctuary.
The cooler temperatures were caused by Kilominjaro, which produced glacial runoff and created a deep glacial basin thousands of years ago, where the sanctuary is now found. This glacial basin allows for cooler water temperatures in the area and negates the effects of rising temperatures that would otherwise damage the coral.
Why marine research is important
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), when talking about the importance of coral reefs and the large scale coral die-off, El Niño, said, “Approximately 500 million people worldwide depend upon reefs for food and to protect coastlines from storms and erosion.
Coral reefs provide habitat, spawning, and nursery grounds for economically important fish species; provide fishing, recreation, and tourism jobs and income to local economies; are a source of new medicines, and are hotspots of marine biodiversity.
Contribution to the Economy
Reefs contribute approximately $29.8 billion to world economies each year.
In the United States, NOAA Fisheries estimates the commercial value of U.S. fisheries from coral reefs is more than $100 million.”
Further to this, coral reefs and the organisms that inhabit them contribute to other inland environments.
How these sanctuary and sanctuaries like it are threatened
Beyond global warming events, coral reefs face many other threats.
Unsustainable fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing (also known as blast fishing) are widespread in the region.
Tanzania is the only African country where this practice is still commonly utilized.
Why locals use dynamite fishing
According to the World Research Institute (WRI), blast fishing can produce a catch of “up to 400 kg of fish and a profit of US$1,800”.
This kind of economic appeal has caused a resurgence in the unethical practice in Tanzania over the last seventeen years.
Blast fishing is a cause of weakened rubble fields and unbalanced coral rubble, as well as a deterioration of the number of fish species in the affected area.
Other factors that affect coral include, boat anchors and groundings, unlawful removal of coral and coral harvesting, quarrying, dredging, and pollution.
What can I do to help?
If you are looking to help and don’t know how you’ll be pleased to learn that many things can be done!
For starters, global warming and its effects can be combated by each individual who simply chooses to live a greener, healthier lifestyle.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Living in a way that reduces your carbon footprint will immediately and effectively ensure that the impact you have on the environment is minimal.
Those with a green thumb should research environmentally friendly fertilizers and pesticides, as the products that you use in your garden eventually find their way into the ocean.
When fishing, it is important to ensure that you do not leave lines or nets in the water.
Using quality gear and keeping it in good condition is important.
For example, making sure you have the best saltwater baitcasting reel in your kit can help prevent losing lines, so when on your next trip, take a look at upgrading your gear!
Donate To a Good Cause
Donating to the planting of new coral reefs is another, very direct way to help.
Organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy and the Coral Reef Alliance use donations to plant and restore the coral reefs affected by the aforementioned factors.
The quickest way that you can help is to share awareness, which is why I ask that you share this information on your social media so that we can begin to help coral reefs today!
Planning to Experience the Amazing Marine life Found in Tanzania?
Now that we’ve covered the basic information on sea life in beautiful Tanzania, I hope your tour to Tanzania to enjoy the amazing life found in our Ocean is coming into a clearer focus.
Yes, there are many little pieces to put in place—like the best times to visit, where to stay but the end result is most definitely worth the effort.
Why not take the first step today to make your trip a reality? Just complete this brief form and one of our travel experts will be in touch to help you start planning your Tanzania tour.
Marine life in Tanzania is absolutely amazing in the summertime, you know