Established in the 1960s, Jozani Forest is a protected reserve in Zanzibar, covering an area of 50 sq km. Also known as Jozani Chwaka National Park, the forest reserve was created for the conservation of the endangered species of the red colobus monkeys. The national park is located on the main island of Zanzibar – Unguja Island and it’s the only national park on the island. The red colobus monkeys survive on leaves and live their lives in the bushes and trees. You’ll also find a wide range of wildlife species in the Jozani Forest including the rare Zanzibar Sykes’ monkeys, bush babies, duikers, and a variety of butterfly and bird species. The forest reserve is the only place in Africa to spot the red colobus monkeys, and it’s a must-visit during your holiday on the island.
A tour to the Jozani Forest may begin from the entrance gate where there are a scattering of stalls filled with crafts and a tiny café. There is an information centre at the park headquarters. You can learn everything about this park and the animals inhabited in it. The park opens daily from 7.30am to 5.00pm and entry costs $8. You may tip your guide, but you are not expected to make another payment after your entrance fee.
Jozani Forest has a diversity of woodland landscape, which features tidal water-washed areas between Chwaka Island bays and Uzi, mangrove trees and a variety of marine vegetation. You’ll have the opportunity to view colourful fish species in the water at the bay including mollusks and crabs.
The primary activity in the park is a 45-minute walk that leads you through a nature trail. During the forest nature trail, you can visit the Mama Mtondoo, also called the Mother Mahogany, which is a stately mahogany tree thought to be more than 200 years old. You’ll also discover the twin trees – the strangler fig and the sycamore growing together in one. There’s also a raffia fern tree, which has the largest leaves in the world. There is a boardwalk that will also take you through the creek mangroves and coastal forest to see the butterflies and birds.
Tourists are advised to stay no closer than three metres when observing the monkeys for the safety of the animals and their safety. There is considerable concern about being bitten by the animals or the animals contacting human illness such as cold or flu-like symptoms that could wipe out the population of monkeys.