Jozani Forest, also known as Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, is the only national park on Zanzibar Island. It is very small (only 50 kilometers square) but beautiful and tranquil place to visit. It is one of the must-see tours.
The forest is a natural pharmacy and truly an amazing source of natural remedies. Every plant or tree cures something. The beautiful thing about the Jozani forest tour is that the height of the trees and palms are just outstanding.
Red Colobus Monkeys
The place is also famous for rare Red Colobus Monkeys and even harder to spot – Zanzibar Sykes’ monkey, a very rare monkey species unique to Zanzibar. Apart from the Red Colobus Monkeys, you may see Bushbaby, 50 different species of butterflies and 40 species of birds are available. The forest is one of the last remaining sanctuaries in the universe of the red colobus monkeys. The forest is 6,207 acres in size. It was declared a nature reserve in the 1960s.
The species were endangered but their numbers have been increasing in recent years. It is estimated that there are now 2,000-2,500 monkeys. They are wild but it is possible to get close to them and they carry on their usual activities as though human visitors do not exist at all – are incredibly relaxed and un-bothersome. The elusive Zanzibar leopard is said to feed here at night – maybe this is the reason for the reserve to only be opened during the day!
It is not permitted to walk off the paths without an official guide so as to protect the wildlife. There is a network of various nature trails leading visitors through the forest. The main trail begins at the park entrance and takes at a leisurely stroll for one hour.
There is a mangrove area on the other side of the park. There are various plants and trees that are medicinal and are used as natural remedies. There is no need for a guide on mangrove swamp boardwalk as you cannot 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 could be enjoyable. Jozani forest is a good place to recharge and is the closest you can get to nature apart from other attractions on Zanzibar.
In order to save on time and money, Jozani Forest Tour can be done en route to Paje and southeastern places on Zanzibar. If you are coming from northern or North Eastern villages, the ride will be longer and more expensive to carry on.
Booking your trip
Independent travelers can do it on their own very easily. You have to hire a taxi driver to take you to Jozani. Even more adventurous and easygoing people may hop on dala dala but it will take you much longer to get there. Dala dala costs around 2000 – 3000 shillings.
The entrance fee is $7.30 if you go by yourself including a guide.
Some of you want to just enjoy vacations. In this case, you can book it online or at the hotel, make sure what is included in the price. Tour operators and many hotels that sell Jozani Forest tour on Zanzibar forget to tell you what is actually included in the price you pay.
What to wear on Jozani Forest Tour
This is a relatively short tour. You can dress appropriately as local guides are Muslims, therefore, no too revealing clothes for females. Flip flops and any other summer shoes are good to wear as paths in Jozani forest are nice and the boardwalk is made of wood.
What to Do Afterwards?
The whole tour takes only about 2 hours in total, therefore, you can continue to the South-Eastern part of Zanzibar. The closest village is lively Paje having wonderful beaches then a little bit further quiet and remote, Bwejuu.
If you are dying to see a famous Rock Restaurant, spare an additional hour and a half and head to Michamwi Village either for amazing sunsets or a (highly priced) meal in Rock Restaurant or just a selfie in front of the Rock!
Jozani forest is worth your visit to see the amazing Red Colobus Monkeys!