Zanzibar fauna on the ground: much more than Red Colobus


1 discover zanzibar wildlife colobus monkey


When you organize a trip to Zanzibar, one of the first interesting points in all guides is the visit to Jozani-Chwaka Bay National Park. There you can spot the last free specimens of the famous Red Colobus, an endemic species of monkey. And let’s face it: you cannot leave Zanzibar without saying hi to our red little friends!

But the fauna of the island has much more to show you, underwater and above. Today, we’ll keep on the ground to discover many other species and interesting mysteries about Zanzibar wildlife.

Colours in the air

Zanzibar sky is as full of colour as the ground is. The reason: hundreds of different bird and butterfly species that live here, in Africa, and many of them only in Zanzibar.

Let’s begin with our feathered pals: behold more than two hundred different species, and get amazed by their colours, their chirps and chants and their behaviour. In your naturalistic trips you’ll see the gracile black heron forming a canopy with its wings when fishing; you’ll see the intense yellow of the eastern golden weaver or the green turacos enjoying a banana feast. There’s so much to see here for bird lovers!

And what to say about butterflies? You’ll find dozens of different, colourful species of butterfly anywhere in Zanzibar, but we also recommend you to visit the Zanzibar Butterfly Centre at Pete town. There you’ll see how local farmers breed and raise local species of these delicate and astonishing animals. 


2 butterfly centre at pete town


Amazing creatures

Animal life in Zanzibar is quite special. Species have evolved to adapt themselves to the islands of the archipelago, and so you can find interesting variations of African fauna.

Meet Antelope Neotragus Pygmaeus. This small and cute forest-dwelling antelope always surprise visitors with its barely 30cm tall and those little horns.


4 antelope neotragus pygmaeus in the natural wildlife


Invertebrates? Behold the Coconut crab, or “tuu”, climbing the trees to feed on the hanging fruit, mainly in Pemba; the giant centipedes in the forests of the islands; the astonishing Achatina reticulata, the giant snails, crawling over the lowland forest.

The whole island is a hotbed of life, you just have to look in the right direction.


5 giant coconut crab


Animal mysteries in Zanzibar

Sadly, human action usually turns against animal wildlife, and thus some endemic species have disappeared, or are on the brink of extinction.

There are just a bit more of two thousand specimens of Red colobus left in the world, all of them here in Zanzibar. You’ll enjoy watching their behaviour, and taking pics of them is easy because they’re used to human presence. But we bet it will be harder for you to catch the Blue colobus, a very elusive species almost disappeared.

Although the greatest mystery in our jungles and forests is the Zanzibar leopard. It is the largest and more dangerous predator of the island, and it was considered extinct for many years due to persecution by local hunters and farmers in order to protect their cattle. But some people reported sightings both in the 80’s and the 90’s, and finally, on 2018, the biologist Forrest Galante managed to film a living specimen, renewing hopes for the survival of the species.

The truth is it’s unlikely you’ll meet the Zanzibar leopard. But you’ll sure meet all those other fascinating animal species, making a new unforgettable experience on your trip to Zanzibar.

And it will be as easy as giving us a call to arrange a trip to our natural parks. You won’t regret it!

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