On Safari in Southern Tanzania – Discover the Mnazi Bay Marine Park

In Tanzania travel, the country’s South coast has become a popular vacation destination especially among those visitors out to avoid the large crowds of tourists in the northern game reserves and national parks. Some of the ideal places to visit in South Tanzania include the quiet Mnazi Bay Marine park, and Mtwara, a small Swahili town surrounded by beautiful beaches that rival many beach travel destinations in the North.

A tour of the Southern Tanzania is a huge adventure. Here you will get the rare opportunity to explore the Indian Ocean coast and the Swahili ruins ” all by yourself with no tourist in site – an incredible privilege that makes for an unforgettable experience. In deed, the beaches of southern Tanzania have much that is unexplored, thus offering the chance of exploration to the adventure-loving visitor.

Most business and leisure travelers to Southern Tanzania pass through Mtwara town, which is easily accessible by both flight and boat from Dar es Salaam. Occupying a vast area just near the Mnazi Bay Marine Park, the town is an ideal stop-over for visitors to the marine park. Diving enthusiasts will find ideal and isolated diving sites near Mtwara.

Some time in the past, Mnazi bay was the take-off port for sea travel to Mozambique, by dhow. Today however, the main attraction is the white sand beaches, and the coral reefs which provide very memorable snorkeling experience. Visitors can explore the coral reefs even when the tide is low.

The marine park abounds in bird life with several water birds species present. Waders are the most abundant including the mangrove kingfisher, the greater sand plover, crab clover, the Zanzibar black-bellied glossy-starling, and brown-headed parrot.

Mnazi bay and the surrounding area has an international reputation for its biodiversity. The abundant sea grass beds, the coral reefs, and a variety of mangroves are a source of livelihood for the local community. The bay lies north of Ruvuma river and is generally shallow.

The Rawira peninsula lies on the seaward side of Mnazi bay at the south, while on the north are several small islands. The Tanzania government has plans to open up the area more for tourism, considering that it is ideally situated as a place for resting and unwinding after a Tanzania safari in the southern safari circuit. Since the neighboring communities actively participate in managing the park, they stand to benefit even more from tourism in the park.

For international travel to Southern Tanzania, Dar es Salaam is the main entry point. This city, also known as a Haven of Peace, is accessible by flights from Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa. A number of airlines also operate flights to Dar es Salaam airport from other airports in Tanzania including Dodoma airport and Kilimanjaro international airport, which are also points of entry for several international flights to Tanzania. Dar es Salaam can also be reached by sea from Mombasa, Kenya through the daily ferry service between the two cities.