Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium

Nungwi Mnarani Aquarium


Mnarani, meaning ‘place of the lighthouse’ in Swahili, is located at the northern tip of Zanzibar Island in the small village of Nungwi near the lighthouse that marks this landmark. The pond is actually a large, natural tidal pool in the coral rock behind the beach. It was originally set up to rehabilitate and study marine turtles that had been caught in fishing nets, and the project developed to ensure that local baby turtles were also protected.  


> Lagoon

The Sea Turtle lagoon is a natural lagoon separated from the Indian Ocean by a few meters of old reef rocks… but the tide within the lagoon is a clear indication that the connection with the Ocean is open.
A wooden pier was built on one half of the lagoon, allowing a better access to the Sea Turtles, offering a second information pavilion as well as a small interaction platform

The center also offers several smaller pools to keep the baby and juvenile Sea Turtles, to treat injured or sick Sea Turtles, as well as some other large vivariums to keep other indigenous wildlife.

“Trash to Treasures” creative recycling/up cycling project
In Zanzibar, waste is a problem of growing concern, as there are no functioning waste management systems in place. Since June 2016, The aquarium has been working with World Unite under the direction of the team member Lisa by running several activities in Nungwi that have the aim to raise awareness amongst the local population about the waste problem and to support them in the creation of useful items for everyday life from recycled materials, which might even generate a small additional income to them.

Volunteers are creating useful and decorative everyday items from waste materials. At the marine turtle bungalow accommodation you will find some furniture and decorative objects which were made by volunteers,

They include the use of “bottle cutters”, which allow the cutting of strings from plastic bottles that can then be used to weave curtains, nets for chairs and many other things. Lisa and the volunteers are also making “ubuntublox”: Soft plastic such as plastic bags and foil material are pressed in a self-made compactor to form blocks that can be used to build inexpensive and resource saving walls.
This made the expansion of the lagoon as an extra of the working tour guided by our experienced local guides.


> Volunteer

On your arrival the transport to and from the airport in Stone Town can be organized upon request at extra 50 US$ each way
No previous knowledge is required the tasks anything you need to know, will be introduced by our volunteers supervisor. You will join the activities at the marine turtle sanctuary for 2-4 hours per day.

The following tasks are requested from you:
• Our first priority of the day is to ensure that the premises in and around the aquarium are clean and make sure the turtles are well fed
• We go and collect seaweed which is the natural food of Green Turtles breeding in our area
• Cleaning the tanks of the baby turtles and checking for the injured Turtles, then refill the tanks
• Twice a month we do beach cleanup during the low tides
• Once every two weeks we do visit the nestling beach. In order to be familiar with our village.
• To provide tour to the visitor – you will be doing guided tours around the aquarium – you will be offered resources to enable you to do that and a brief course

Note that you are entitled to two days (Saturday and Sunday) off every week

Included in the volunteer internship is accommodation, the bungalows which belongs to the sea turtle sanctuary in our local community, with a double bed in each room and proper shower. When the bungalows are fully occupied, accommodation is arranged at further houses at the village.


Meals prepared by our experienced local chefs are served for all participants on the terrace in front of the turtle sanctuary with an amazing beach view, 3 times per day.

Your contribution to volunteer at the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond covers your costs for room and board, and benefits the project:
• 1’000 US$ for the first month,
• 900 US$ for the second month,
• 800 US$ per month thereafter.

Moreover every volunteer is expected to donate 50 US$ to the local community. This contribution is helping various projects to support the local community, among which the local childcare nursery.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information

Complete the following application form if you are interested in joining the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond

Release day

> Release day

May 23, the whole World is celebrating Turtle day in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to saving turtles caught on highways, to research activities. Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects teaching about turtles in classrooms and encouraging human action to help them survive and thrive.
Every 20th of February at Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond, we celebrate the Turtles release day, a special event organized by the locals and volunteers of the lagoon by inviting and involving different people, tour operators, diving centers and hotels around Zanzibar.
The program starts with different activities, opened by invited guest of honor and followed by community entertainments groups like music dancing, acrobatic shows, traditional drumming to make the day more fun and finally the speech from the guest of honor who is mostly the high profile people from the government of Zanzibar.

The volunteers and locals put tags on number of turtles which are supposed to be released. The boat leave from Mnarani aquarium mostly depend on the tides of the ocean, where big turtles are released just outside the reef and the baby turtles released from Kendwa beach, then the boats return back to Mnarani Aquarium.

Would you like to be part of this day?