A footprint spanning 3,000 kilometres of African coastline
From Mnemba Island off Zanzibar in Tanzania, through the Quirimbas and Bazaruto Archipelagos of Mozambique, to the World Heritage-listed iSimangaliso wetlands and reefs of South Africa, Oceans Without Borders strives to strengthen the conservation status of our sites, expand opportunities for local community development, and contribute to global efforts to protect our oceans.
Postcard perfect Mnemba Island is located off the north-east coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Surrounded by a large fringing reef, deep water channels and some of the best known dive sites in East Africa, the surrounding waters here are home to high marine biodiversity, including Indo-Pacific Bottle-nose dolphins, migrating humpback whales and green turtles.
In addition to its marine ecosystems, Mnemba is an important refuge for the Endangered Aders’ duiker and suni antelope, which were translocated to the island in order to establish breeding populations in a safe environment that can help replenish critically diminished numbers on the mainland.
Its isolation from the mainland also means the island retains some of the most intact, original coastal forest vegetation in Zanzibar, and is a safe roosting and nesting site for numerous land and seabirds.
Oceans Without Borders has several research and conservation projects on Mnemba Island, including sea turtle nest monitoring, terrestrial vegetation studies, and coral reef monitoring, and is planning to expand its existing apex predator movement studies and ocean soundscapes projects to the island in the future.
Nicknamed the ‘Cradle of Coral’ due to its extraordinary coral species diversity and its importance as a source area for reefs up and down the coast, Vamizi Island lies in the northern Quirimbas Archipelago of Mozambique. The archipelago is a designated Mission Blue Hope Spot because of its special significance and importance to the health of our global oceans.
Over 180 different species of coral and more than 400 species of reef fish have been recorded here, with many yet to be discovered. The coral reefs here are also highly productive, with mass coral spawning and fish breeding aggregation sites. In addition, they have a remarkable resilience to coral bleaching thanks to the upwelling of cool water from the nearby depths of the Mozambique Channel.
The waters around Vamizi also play an important role in supporting large marine species such as humpback whales, green and hawksbill turtles, manta rays, and a number of species of dolphin and sharks, many of which aggregate at certain times of the year as part of their breeding cycle. By studying the movement patterns of these species we are better able to design well-targeted conservation strategies to ensure their survival at a local scale as well as contributing to ocean health.
Vamizi also hosts one of the longest, continually running sea turtle nest monitoring programs in the Western Indian Ocean, as well as several other targeted monitoring programs including a focus on whales and dolphins, corals and terrestrial plants and animals.
Nestled in the heart of one of Africa’s most important and recognised marine national parks in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Benguerra Island is the second largest island in the region. It boasts a broad variety of marine and terrestrial habitats ranging from coral reefs, seagrass beds, mudflats and estuaries, to forests, savannah and freshwater lakes.
The Bazaruto Archipelago is also vitally important to significant populations of marine wildlife. It is home to the last remaining viable population of dugongs in eastern Africa, is an important breeding site to several sea turtle species, hosts important breeding aggregations of numerous sharks, rays and other fish species and is an important migration staging point for whales, pelagic fish, seabirds and other rare and unique marine wildlife.
In the Bazaruto Archipelago, our projects include studies of the movement patterns and habitat use of apex predators including sharks and giant trevally, assessing the ecological responses of a fishing exclusion zone, and involving local island communities in our work and marine conservation education initiatives.
UNESCO World Heritage listed iSimangaliso Wetland Park is South Africa’s third largest protected area spanning 280km of coastline south from the Mozambique border. iSimangaliso means ‘miracle’ or ‘wonder’ in Zulu and with its extraordinary natural beauty, variety of ecosystems, high biodiversity and rich cultural heritage it’s obvious why it was so named.
iSimangaliso is located near &Beyond’s Phinda Private Game Reserve
Watch the documentary: Vamizi: Cradle of Coral
Explore the magical beauty and wonder of the coral reefs of Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago of Mozambique in Vamizi: Cradle of Coral – a documentary by renowned National Geographic photographer Matthias Klum, and featuring our own Dr Tessa Hempson.
The waters around Vamizi host the highest coral diversity in Africa, and are vitally important breeding grounds for whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks and other iconic species. Its reefs are the only place in East Africa where “mass spawning” of corals has been observed, meaning the reefs here are healthy and are important source areas for replenishing reefs up and down the coast. This fragile realm however is under threat. Follow as a team of scientists from around the world race to learn more about this unique region and fight to stop the damage before it starts.