Accommodation on Chumbe Island is - in many aspects - something really special. It's what Robinson Crusoe could only have dreamt about!
First, the bungalows themselves are so brilliantly designed that they provide both privacy and a sense of freedom of living in the open (see "Eco-bungalows" for more information). Many of our clients find these bungalows exceptionally romantic (honeymooners love them), but any individual with a passion for natural beauty will find these bungalows captivating beyond measure. All bungalows overlook the sea and it takes just 30 seconds to stroll from the comforts of your bungalow hammock to feeling the warm tropical ocean lapping at your feet. All bungalows are equipped with:
Double or twin beds in the sleeping area under the palm-thatched roof,
Self-contained bathrooms with hot & cold shower,
Large living rooms, equipped with handmade furniture and
Decorated with African art and colorful fabrics... (And very comfortable hammocks).
Since there are only seven bungalows, the island never gets crowded, even when we are fully booked.
That - second - makes sure that our team find the time to give you all the service and attention that you deserve on your peaceful and relaxing holiday away from traffic, phones, TV, faxes, loud music...
Thirdly our prices include everything
except alcoholic drinks. All the food, soft drinks, snacks, park fees,
park ranger services like forest walks, guided snorkeling on the reef
(with all equipment provided), scheduled boat transfers back and forth to
the island, etc... Everything is included. And, if you're not quite sure
about your snorkeling skills: our experienced rangers provide excellent
Last, but not least, dining takes place under the impressive roof of our visitor's centre, which overlooks the sea between Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania. Our chefs provide an abundant supply of mouth-watering dishes that are a mixture of Zanzibarian, Arabic, Indian and African tastes and satisfy both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Being a Marine Protected Area (MPA) the focal aim of the Chumbe Island Coral Park Project is to preserve Chumbe Island's exceptional environment. Therefore we have built accommodation based on the state-of-the-art of eco-architecture and eco-technology. So - What is so special about these Eco-bungalows?
As there is no ground water source in the rocky substrate of the island, each bungalow collects its own freshwater supply from rainwater (captured from the specially designed expanse of roof) during the rainy season. This rainwater passes through a complex filtration system and is stored in spacious underground cisterns (under each living room). The water is then hand-pumped (by either Ali, Juma or Yussuf on the Chumbe Team) through a solar-powered heating system into hot & cold-water containers for the shower and hand basin in the bathroom.
The used water from showers and basins is filtered through particulate filters, ending in specially sealed plant beds so that no polluted water will seep into the Reef Sanctuary. These beds are planted with species that are demanding in water and nutrients, and therefore easily absorb any remaining nitrates and phosphates.
To deal with sewage we have also installed composting toilets. These eco-toilets prevent sewage (from septic tanks) seeping through the porous ground into the Reef Sanctuary, (as this would lead to pollution of the fragile reef ecosystem, encourage algae growth and finally kill coral communities and organisms depending on them). Instead, human waste is quickly decomposed to natural fertilizer when mixed with compost (aerobic composting) in the compost chamber. To ensure the experience for the client is the same as with any regular toilet, specialized designs have been implemented with wind powered vent pipes and gradient storage so that it feels no different to using a regular toilet; except that composting toilets need no flush water at all, thus they also effectively economize on water.
Lights are powered by photovoltaic panels on the roof that provide ample environmentally friendly 12V energy for normal usage.
The open design of the bungalows, with minimal barriers to the open air, allows for maximum through draft for cooling of the bungalows; a form of natural air-conditioning. To enhance this louvers are in place that can be lowered or closed depending on the desired temperature.
Other features of operations on Chumbe that ensure minimal disturbance to the environment include:
Organic soaps produced by a local women's co-operative in Zanzibar are provided for guests.
In the process of purchasing supplies, non-organic products are avoided (i.e., plastic bags) and any unavoidable non-organic waste produced by the island is removed and incinerated in a specialized incinerator constructed by the project on the main island Unguja.
Drinking water is provided by advanced filters (made in Switzerland) located on the island. These effectively clean readily available tap water from Unguja, avoiding the need for mineral water in plastic bottles (which are still available for purchase, but are not readily encouraged, as plastic bottles are a problematic environmental hazard recently introduced into Zanzibar).
The walkways, nature trails and beach areas are not artificially illuminated at night. This protects feeding and breeding patters of nocturnal animals, and also helps preserve and view one of the most stunning attractions of Chumbe Island: the rare giant Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro). Instead, individual solar powered torches are provided for all guests that recharge each day for use each night.
These are some of the features that make Chumbe Island the globally recognized leading example of true ecotourism to be found anywhere in the World.
Chumbe Island has been awarded:
*** GREEN HOTELIER OF THE YEAR 2001***
Independent Environmental Award from the International Hotel and Restaurant Association (IH&RA)
*** WORLD WINNER 2001***
Ecotourism Destination Award of the Condenast Traveler Magazine,
*** GLOBAL 500 LAUREATE 2000 ***
Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
*** EXPO2000 PROJECT AROUND THE WORLD ***
Selected to represent Tanzania at the EXPO2000 World Exhibition, Hannover, Germany,
*** GLOBAL WINNER 1999 ***
British Airways TOURISM FOR TOMORROW Award
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