written by Anika Totzauer from Germany
… with the sea turtles.
Hi, I’m Anika from Germany. My boyfriend and I spent one week (September 3-10, 2012) at the Mnarani Marine Turtle Conservation Pond in Nungwi during our stay in Zanzibar.
First to say: It was really amazing. We arrived here – overwhelmed by the fantastic view, our accommodation close to the beautiful beach and the friendly people around here. And not to forget the delicious food we have been offered. Besides living in “paradise” it was fun working at the Aquarium. We helped cleaning the Aquarium every day at 8 o’clock - that means changing the water for the little baby turtles and the small hatchlings, cleaning them and of course also the tanks. Furthermore we swept the bridge of the natural lagoon, the entrance and the paths.
According to that there were different activities in which we joined the team: like collecting seaweed on the beach to feed the turtles or cleaning the beach, which means removing plastic and all kind of waste people like to throw away.
We also went to see the nesting places of the sea turtles in Zanzibar. The team took us to Tumbatu Island by boat and told us that the turtles stopped coming to the coast for nesting because of the hotels and tourists near Nungwi. I hate that fact. They took us on a trip to see some ruins of the Arabic colonial time, which I thought would be boring and that I should take some photos of the turtles instead, but I didn’t regret it. There were amazing caves filled with fresh, clear water and an adventurous walk through the palm forest which made you feel like being directly in the jungle.
And luckily we were able to help the team guiding tourists through the Aquarium- especially the german ones. We learned a lot about the life of the sea turtles and the Zanzibarian lifestyle as well.
I don’t know if every volunteer gets the opportunity to go swimming with the big green turtles in the pond – but we went for it. Simply an incredible experience we don’t wanna miss.
Instead of just saying it was a great time for us, we got some advice for the future volunteers in Nungwi: Feel free to ask everything you want to know – it doesn’t matter whether it is about the african way of life in general or about the life of a single person from the team. Get to know each other and become interactive!
Thanks so much for having us as volunteers and hopefully we’ll be back at the Aquarium one day.
Anika and Severin