et’s have a look at Zanzibar’s wildlife. There is no possibility of going to safari but there are still animals to visit – in general Zanzibar isn’t just about beaches but also history and plantations. When it comes to Zanzibar’s wildlife, most of the people would recommend snorkeling or visiting the Jozani forest. So what can you see there? A lot of monkeys and mangrove trees. It might not sound like something special but the monkeys are a special kind and live only in Zanzibar.
Visiting Jozani Forest
Jozani forest lays about a little bit less than an hour from Stone town and about half an hour from the famous Jambiani beach. It is a national reservation. The main reason for this status is the fact that there are red Columbus monkeys and this is the only place where they live now. Upon your arrival, you will get a guide – it is not allowed to go without him. In my case, he was the one who was leading us through the forest to see all the monkeys.
In general, spotting Columbus monkeys is not a difficult thing to do. They are almost everywhere and it is not because people keep feeding them. So if you are going from Stone town to one of the beaches on the western coast, you may see them running from one side of the road to another. There are about 50 thousand of them in the forest, the general species of Red Columbus monkeys can be found in western Tanzania as well as in Kongo and some other African countries. But there is an under species that is much rarer and lives only in Zanzibar. They are very sensitive to the environment which makes them threatened. In other parts of Africa, they were hunted both by humans and by chimpanzees.
But anyway, here in Jozani forest they have their little paradise.
It will take about half an hour to 45 minutes for the guide to show you around and tell you everything about the monkeys. After that, you will go to see the mangrove trees.
About Red Columbus monkeys
When it comes to monkeys, in Zanzibar, they have several kinds of them. The two more common monkeys are Red Columbus monkeys and Blue monkeys, which you can find in a lot of places in Asia as well.
There are also two kinds of Red Columbus monkeys. One of them is Red Columbus monkey – they are more common and they are the ones that you will see in the Jozani Forest. The Zanzibar red monkeys are close relatives to those monkeys. But they are much rarer. They are the most endangered kind in Zanzibar. There are only 1000 of them and you cannot find them anywhere else than in Zanzibar. However, they are not to hard to find in Jozani forest, where they live in cohabitants with Blue monkeys.
The special thing about Red Columbus monkeys is that they have only 4 fingers. I didn’t quite hear an explanation or if there is any special reason why they didn’t develop another finger like the rest of the monkeys. Another special thing about those monkeys is the fact, that their tail is only there for balancing but not for movement in trees like other monkeys. The tail doesn’t have enough muscles in it, so they cannot hold themselves in trees just by the tail.
Visiting mangrove trees in Jozani Forest
In case you are living south of the USA or if you have ever been there, this might not be as interesting. However, I’m just a European girl, who saw this for the very first time. You can usually find mangrove trees in coastal water. The one that I saw had their roots constantly dipped in the water.
We get to know a lot of things about mangrove trees and how important they are to the local ecology. It was very informative. It took about half an hour and after that, the whole tour was over. Our guide was kind of grumpy and kept asking us for tips. It felt like here they don’t understand the fact that getting tips depends also on your attitude. But otherwise, the tour was quite great and I would very much recommend it to everyone.
Most of the hotels in Zanzibar are offering this tour. Meaning that they will either have a tour bus or your taxi to get you there and back. In case you choose to go to a beach resort somewhere in the north of Zanzibar it is probably recommended. From north Zanzibar, it will take you about an hour and a half to get to the Jozani forest. And in that case, you should probably do something else here as well. For example, you can come to visit spice plantages or snorkel area.
The park is open from 7 in the morning till 6 in the evening. Here is the catch. If you come here very soon, at 7 o’clock, monkeys might be still sleeping. But you will have the whole forest for yourself. If you are coming here from Paje or Jambiani or other beaches like this, I would probably recommend coming here at 9. Monkeys will be awake, there won’t be as many other tourists.
How to get there
For visiting Jozani Forest you can choose different options. If you have a big budget, you can take a taxi. Otherwise, the cheapest option is to take Dalla dalla – local bus – and just go with it. There is a stop right outside of the park, so it is very easy to get there and back.
In case you came here from east or west areas, it doesn’t take that long and you can do it by your self. If you are on the east coast of Zanzibar, just catch Dalla-dalla to Jozani forest. It should cost about 2000 shillings one way. On your way back it should be the same. Dalla-dalla is coming usually every 10 minutes. They might try to ask you for more money if you look like you are not local. It is usually not that big of a difference, perhaps
If you feel like having a day on a scooter, you can rent it for a day for about 15 dollars and stop here and lots of other places around.
Lastly, the prices – Fee to the national park costs about 12 dollars. If you choose to come by taxi, it might cost you from 10 to 30 dollars, depends on where are you coming from. Dalla-dalla will cost you just about 2-3 thousand Tanzanian shillings (2 dollars) one way.
Generally, the Jozani forest is a great place to visit, both for family or just if you don’t know what to do. It is a very informative and very nice piece of nature.
Where to go after the tour
Tour in Jozani Forest takes only an hour including walk-in mangrove forest so there is plenty of room to do something else after. If you have accommodation in Stone Town, I would recommend exploring the western coast.
East coast trips
You can go to the famous Rock restaurant. The one that is literally built on a rock. You can expect there high prices but also a high level of service. To get there, you will need to catch a bus (or taxi). In both cases, you just tell them that you want to go to the Rock restaurant. In the case of a taxi, they will get you right there. For a bus, they will drop you off on a road very close to the restaurant. One important thing here – if you want to eat there, it is better to reserve a table in advance. The restaurant is generally pretty full.
From this restaurant, you have several options. One of them is to go snorkeling, so you can see some more wildlife. If you are planning to go snorkeling, you will need to do it in low tide, so it is better to do it in the morning. You don’t need a tour for it, it is fine just to head to Michambwe and ask fishermen. They are usually doing it for about 20 thousand Tanzanian shillings.
Another tip for what to do after the Jozani forest tour is to enjoy the beaches on the east coast. The East Coast has a lot of beautiful beaches. If you choose to go to Jambiani, it is not too touristy and at the same time, it is possible to bathe there even in low tide, which can be difficult in some other places.
Otherwise, if you are planning to come here in the afternoon, you can go to Paje. In the afternoon the tide is high in Paje and you can either bathe here by yourself or you can try local kite surfing school. The kite surfing school cost usually about 50 dollars per day, but you will spend the whole afternoon with the instructor, just learning how to kite and nothing else. Besides, they have very good trainers and you will learn a lot in one afternoon. If you can kite surf already, they can also just rent you both surf and kite.
Trips to the western coast
On the western coast, you can visit Stone town. I would recommend spending there the whole day as it is better to visit it from the coast for a day, rather than staying in Stone town itself. There is a lot to see in Stone Town. And the local streets are pretty funny to walk around – everyone is getting lost, but that is the part of the fun in it.
Another thing that you can do after the tour in Jozani forest is to go to a spice tour. Zanzibar is well known for its spice plantations, so they have this kind of tour as well. It is another guided tour that you will have to pay for. It cost around 20 dollars with a taxi to get there. It is not too far from Jozani forest, just about half an hour, but it is harder to get a taxi there.
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