Jozani Forest Day Trip
The protected forest area is the only primeval forest area left on Zanzibar; a few hundred years ago, apparently almost all of Zanzibar was covered by a huge groundwater forest. Although the forest today only covers 10 square kilometres, it consists of many different habitats and is therefore home to many different species of animals and plants. The nature reserve is located about 35 km southeast of Zanzibar City between Chawaka Bay and Uzi Bay.
The Jozani Forest consists mainly of three different areas that you will visit on this trip: a mangrove forest, a mahogany groundwater forest and a jungle that is home to the famous red colobus monkeys, a Guereza species that only occurs in Zanzibar. As soon as you have reached the Jozani Reserve by car, you will start your tour with a visit to this ancient jungle.
Jozani Forest Day Trip
The red Colobus monkeys on the islands are on the Red List of endangered species. About 20 years ago they were almost extinct, when the government had offered shooting bonuses for these monkeys because of their preying on corn in the field and fruit trees. In the meantime, thank goodness they have realized that the animals must be protected and have created a new habitat and a retreat for them by founding the Jozani sanctuary. At the last minute the populations of these monkeys have recovered and the chances are good that they will survive. They are not a bit shy and extremely playful. They nibble at the fruit trees around you and look really funny, almost as if they were in for a prank. They have a reddish brown back fur and a white mop of hair that sticks out on all sides. Their faces are quite human. Sometimes there are baby monkeys, too, playing with their siblings right in front of you, really cute.
After the visit of the Colobus forest area you will go to the mangrove swamp. Through this swamp area a saltwater river winds its way, which comes from the sea about 3 km away. The government has built a wooden footbridge on which you can now explore a part of this mangrove forest. From this footbridge you can watch tens of thousands of small fiddler crabs that have dug their living caves into the marshy ground, where they retreat in the shadow of the mangrove trees in case of danger. Another speciality are the mudskippers, small lungfish that colonize the brackish water and the mangrove forest. They are amphibian living fish that breathe normally through their gills at high tide, but at low tide they go ashore and breathe air like us. The eyes of these fish protrude somewhat from the head and are quite agile. They are so named because they can quickly push themselves off the ground with their curved tail and thus move ashore. The mangroves are quite unique in the way they grow out of the swamp with their stilt roots and aerial roots. Here there are at least three different mangrove species. They continue walking on the wooden footbridge, below you a saltwater mud, in which no progress would be possible. At the end of the wooden footbridge a wooden table is set up, where the guide now gives you a small lecture about the mangroves. For this purpose he climbs down from the wooden bridge to collect three different mangrove seeds, quasi one of each mangrove species. These seeds look like long green sticks in contrast to the small seeds we usually know. Then he will put one of the seeds in your hand and ask you to drop it into the mud. When you drop the seed, it bores itself into the mud with the tip pointing down and in a few months a new mangrove tree will grow there.
After that you will go to the last part of the forest, the mahogany forest. It is a ground water forest with red mahogany trees, teak trees, raphia palms and wild date palms. The leaf canopy of the trees is at an airy height and hardly lets any sunrays through. The forest floor is always a bit humid and therefore covered with many different ferns. Smaller trees and shrubs form different, lower leaf canopies under the one large canopy. This mahogany jungle looks almost like a magic forest. Animals like chameleons, trunk rats and bush babies (prosimians) can be found here. Trunk rats are not easy to spot in the undergrowth, but if you ever see one, you will immediately notice their trunk-like sniffing nose, similar to that of a shrew. White-throated monkeys and green monkeys also swing from tree to tree. An unmistakable sign that monkeys are near you are the rustling branches and leaves, another distinctive feature are their long tails hanging down from the branches and twigs. Again and again the guide will stop to tell you about all the plants and trees. As said before, the forest ground is crowded with humidity and if it rained in between, one sinks a little. This really very beautiful forest is a unique experience and one should not miss this area in any case. After the excursion you return to your accommodation.