The Mnarani turtle sanctuary, opened since 1993, is a sanctuary that raises awareness and protects sea turtles from being hunted. Here you can see different species and sizes of turtles.
The entrance fees are modest and support an educational project through which local children learn about the benefits of turtle conservation.
Located a few steps from the beach at the far north end of the island, the sanctuary is actually a large, natural tidal pool created in coral rock.
The center’s original mission was the study and rehabilitation of marine turtles caught in fishermen’s nets. The mission has expanded to include the protection of baby turtles and turtle eggs that local residents bring to the aquarium.
The center isolates baby and juvenile sea turtles in several small enclosures. Volunteers also treat and care for injured or sick animals in separate areas.
In addition to the care of sea turtles, the sanctuary keeps other indigenous wildlife in large vivariums, allowing them to study these species under controlled conditions in native habitats.
Every year on February 20, hundreds of turtle hatchlings are released on their journey across the beach into the sea. Locals, tourists, and conservationists, with support from hotels and dive centers, participate in this program.
Center volunteers have a nest monitoring program and when turtles begin to nest on Nungwi Beach, they mark each site and monitor them until the eggs hatch. After hatching, the babies are brought to the aquarium where they stay until they reach 10 months of age, at which time their chances of survival increase.
A visit to the Mnarani Aquarium Turtle Sanctuary is fascinating because you get to see the turtles up close. The knowledgeable staff helps you learn about the turtles and can answer all your questions.
All funds raised support the project, which demonstrates the value of turtle conservation to the local population and ensures the species’ survival.