Monkeys, Mangrove and Medicine Jungle
Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park or shorter – Jozani Forest is the only national park on Zanzibar. Very small, only 50 km2 (19 sq mi) but a beautiful and tranquil place to visit! If you have never been to Zanzibar, Jozani Forest tour is one of must see tours on Zanzibar.
Jozani forest is a natural pharmacy, an amazing source of natural remedies! Every plant or tree cures something. What is so beautiful about Jozani forest tour, that height of the trees and the palms are just outstanding! Jozani is also famous for rare red Colobus monkeys and even harder to spot – Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey, a very rare monkey species unique to Zanzibar. Along with Red Colubus Monkeys you can expect to see Bushbaby, 50 different species of butterflies and 40 species of birds.
To protect the wildlife it is not permitted to walk off the paths without an official guide. A network of various nature trails leads visitors through the forest. The main trail begins at the park entrance and takes about an hour at a leisurely stroll.
When I visited, a resident Jozani forest guide was assigned to us after paying the entrance fee. With a little bit grumpy and tired attitude he lead us through the paths in the forest and later in mangrove area on the other side of the park. With broken english he introduced briefly various plants and tress and their medical use as natural remedies. On mangrove swamp boardwalk you actually don’t need a guide, as you can’t get lost on the boardwalk leading to only one direction.
A mangrove boardwalk gives tourists the possibility to have a view into the special mangrove habitat which was really enjoyable.
I cant say I was utterly impressed with Jozani forest tour on Zanzibar, but it was well worth a visit. I saw red colobus monkey, didn’t notice any butterflies, as for birds am not such an enthusiast and wasn’t paying attention to them.
Apart from other attractions on Zanzibar, Jozani forest is good place to recharge and is the closest as you can get to the nature.
To save on time and money, Jozani Forest Tour can be done en route to Paje and south eastern places on Zanzibar. If coming from northern or North Eastern villages, the ride will be longer and more expensive.
How to Book Jozani Forest Tour
Well, independent travellers can do it on their own easily. All you have to do is hire a taxi driver to take you to Jozani. Even more adventurous and easy going people can hop on dalla dalla, but it will take you much longer to get there. Dalla dallas cost around 2000, 3000 TSH.
And some of you want to just enjoy vacations. In this case book it online or at hotel, just make sure what is included in the price.
Many hotels and tour operators that sell Jozani Forest tour on Zanzibar forget to tell you what is actually included in the price you pay. In my case, advertised “Jozani tour ” included only transport to the national park without entrance fees and guiding.
If I knew this beforehand would save some money on a cost of transport as I could find it for cheaper price rather than paying for Jozani tour from Stone Town without entrance fees. But we travel and we learn on our own mistakes.
As I mentioned, my guide to Jozani park was a little bit grumpy, very bored with life. Of course tips are expected no matter the quality of service. He was even more grumpier when my tip didn’t meet his expectations. (Relationship between service quality an tipping is something some locals still dont understand, not only on Zanzibar)
What to Do After Jozani Forest Tour
Since the tour takes only about 2 hours in total, you can continue to South Eastern part of Zanzibar. Lively Paje is the closest village with wonderful beaches, then a little bit further quiet and remote Bwejuu. If you are dying to see famous Rock Restaurant, spare additional hour and half and head to Michamwi Village, either for amazing sunsets or an overpriced meal in Rock Restaurant. Or at least a selfie in front of the Rock!
Since this post was published I got several emails from readers asking me what to wear on Jozani Forest Tour.
Nothing special really. Its relatively short tour. Make sure you are dressed appropriately as local guides are Muslims, so no too revealing clothes for females. Flip flops and any other summer shoes are ok, as paths in Jozani forest are nice and the boardwalk is made of wood.
Does this post make you want to visit Jozani forest on Zanzibar? Or if you’ve been before, share your experience in the comments!