Mangrove Forests

Mangrove forests are found all along the Kilwa coastline. They cover around 20,000 Ha, making it one of the most densely populated areas on the whole eastern seaboard of Africa.

These salt water forests act as breeding, nursery and feeding areas for a variety of coastline species, from small crabs to huge waders. It is estimated that the number of species relying on a mangrove forest is greater than an equivalent area in the rainforest.

With such high biodiversity clearly mangroves are a significant ecosystem and are among the most productive natural systems found in the world.

Larger animals that feed in the mangrove swamps include hippopotamus, crocodile, green turtle (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and internationally important populations of the endangered dugong.

Mangroves also act as important feeding grounds for a large number of migratory birds including the Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea), Little Stint (Calidris minuta) and Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia).

We offer guided walks nearby these forests, however due to the high bacteria content of the soil we don’t recommend walking amongst the mangroves. It is possible to go on a small boat to see the mangroves and this also gives the opportunity to admire the amazing bird life of the area.


For centuries mangroves have been harvested, the wood is straight & long and also insect proof due to its high salt content. All along the Tanzanian and Kenyan coast many thousands of acres of mangrove forests have been destroyed and new problems including pollution run-off from large cities are affecting the forests further.

Many mangrove forests in Tanzania have now been awarded National Park status and it is through the KIYODEA research stations work that we hope in the future Kilwa will also be a designated Marine Park.


Safari Jones’
Kilwa Tip

“Guided walks throught the mangroves are on offer, however due to the high bacteria content of the soil we don’t recommend walking among them.

It is possible to go on a small boat to see the mangroves and this also gives the opportunity to admire the amazing bird life of the area.”