Bongoyo Island near Dar es salaam 

Bongoyo Island is a beautiful place. Any time you want to take a day's trip from Dar es Salaam, Bongayo Island is a great option. It is a small uninhabited island just off the coast.

Bongayo Island, Tanzania
Bongayo Island, Tanzania

How to reach Bongoyo Island

Take a taxi from the city to Slipway by paying about TSH 10,000. Slipway is in Msasani Peninsula in the Kindoni District of the city which is north of Dar-Es-Salaam. Go to the end of a long pedestrian causeway to a small wood motorboat which will take you out to a larger ferry. There are daily 4 boat trips from Dar to this little island, provided there are a minimum of four people for each trip. (Timings: 9.30 am, 11.30 am, 13.30 pm and 15.30 pm.)It is fun going in these motorised dhows,which will take you just 30 minutes to reach there. In the speed boat it will take just 10 minutes from Msasani Bay.

We had reached Slipway hotel complex without knowing about this island, and a boat at 11.30 am. was just ready to leave. We immediately bought the tickets and got into the boat. Being a Sunday, the boat was almost full, but we had enough seat to sit comfortably, to enjoy the journey. Some of them were frequent travelers to Bongayo Island on weekend, with the family, and for them it was a picnic spot. They had come well prepared with their food.

Since we hadn't taken anything with us, we had no other option, but to buy from there. "It will be very expensive there," said one of our co-travelers. But fortunately, to our surprise,we didn't find the food very expensive there.

Bongoyo Island is described as bush land, with emergent trees. There are about 59 plant families found in this tiny Island.

It is a great place for snorkelling and sunbathing. Both tourists and Tanzanians frequent here for daytrips. There are two beaches in this island and the shore is very rocky. The entire island, except the two beaches, is covered with dense forest.

The underwater habitat range from shallow gently sloping coral reefs, sandy expanses and sea grass beds. The main coastal habitats around Bongoyo Island include sandy beaches (beach I and II), coral reefs, sea grass beds, rocky shores, lagoons (shark lagoon) and algal beds. Sand dunes of these islands are colonized by pioneer species such as Cyperus crassipes, Crotolaria laburuodes, Tephrosia pumila var aldabresis, T. pumila var dumesis, Asytasia gangentica and Ipomoea pesi-caprae.Octopus is a typical marine creature to be seen at Bongoyo inter-tidal pools.

Facilities at Bongoyo Island

The following facilities are available on the island such as shades (palm thatched structure bandas), rope net lounger (for a small fee), nature trails, small restaurant with food and drinks, sign board with dos and don’ts of the island and information board. This small restaurant, (a thatched structure with muddy floor) provides some tasty food, such as chips and fish. You can also get freshly caught fish and crabs grilled and served.

From the white powdered sandy beach you can get into the crystal clear water and swim amidst thousands of small silver fish. Though we didn't swim there it was a pleasure watching others swimming.

For bird lovers, there is Birds paradise trail loop, which can be better visited between July and September.

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