Sea turtles have been nesting on Tanzanian beaches for over 150 million years.
Between June and September hundreds of baby turtles make their instinctive scramble from the white sandy beaches to the warm Indian Ocean waters. Here in Mafia we are fortunate enough to be able to witness this natural spectacle from the Eastern beach of Juani, an island bursting with nature from the tiniest of butterflies to the giant baobab trees.
This experience is made possible for us by an NGO called Sea Sense. Set up in 2001, they have been working in partnership with the local communities to promote the importance and protection of marine turtles and their habitats through various projects.
The adventure starts with a lovely dhow trip across Chole Bay, landing on the shielded Western side of Juani Island. On arrival, a 45 minute walk across the island passes through hundreds of trees, a quaint village and offers the chances to spot local wildlife such as monkeys. During this walk natures true beauty becomes more apparent in the form of towering trees and acres and acres of green foliage up until the very last minute. Attention is then turned to the turtle nest hidden below African sand.
The little hatchlings emerge from the sand, scrambling out of their nest, flapping their fins vivaciously, racing to reach the surf and start the next step of their incredible journey. With the image of baby turtles crawling across the beach still fresh in our minds, we make our own way back to the dhow.
Wind allowing we sail back to Mafia’s shores with a cup of tea or coffee in hand and incredible scenery all the way.