Animals You’ll Meet In Jozani Forest, Zanzibar’s Most Famous National Park

Officially called Jozani Chwaka Bay National Forest, the area more commonly known as Jozani Forest is Zanzibar’s most famous (and only) national park. Conservationists and tourists are drawn to this Tanzanian forest for its unusual collection of wildlife and plants that happily reside on the island. The vegetation of the forest is extremely moist and swamp-like, creating a wealth of tropical plants and mangroves. So it makes sense that the area would attract its permanent residents. Put on your hiking boots and get ready to go on the adventure of your life. Here are the animals you’ll find in Jozani Forest in Zanzibar.

colobus monkey

Courtesy of Olivier Lejade/

Red Colobus Monkey

Jozani Forest’s most famous occupants are the red colobus monkeys. It’s believed there are approximately 1,000 of these black and white animals with reddish backs. We’ve all heard of how monkeys are the closest relatives to humans, thanks to their opposable thumbs, but colobus monkeys actually don’t even have thumbs.


Courtesy of Marc Veraart/

Over 40 species of butterflies

You’ve probably seen pinned butterflies in glass displays showing off their brilliant colors of emerald green, translucent blue, or fiery red wings. If you’ve wondered where these butterflies are from — chances are, they’re found in eastern Africa, especially in this forest. Expect to find a cluster of strikingly beautiful butterflies of many colors on this island. (Note: We do not support the capturing of wild butterflies.)


Courtesy of missy/

Sea Turtles

Jozani Forest is surrounded by the ocean and sea turtles love to rest up in the area. It’s common for tourists and locals to feed the turtles. In fact, the sea turtles are so treasured that there’s a dedicated sanctuary in the park where visitors can go on a tour to learn more about them.


Courtesy of Theo Crazzolara/

Tree Hyrax

The colobus monkeys aren’t the only ones looking down at you. Tree hyraxes look like a mixture of a rat and a wallaby rolled in one but, they’re actually most closely related to elephants (darn, we should’ve guessed that). They are nocturnal so it’ll be rare to spot them during the daytime. However, there have been reports of people seeing them in the daylight, so you just might be one of the lucky ones.


Courtesy of Meaduva/


These slothy lizards are fantastic to see in the park as their eyes rotate clockwise and counterclockwise like machinery while the rest of their bodies move at a snail’s pace. Not to mention, the park is full of plenty of other species of lizards to check out. So if you see one slithering nearby on a leaf, say hello.


Courtesy of Lucianf/


It’s not rare to spot dolphins frolicking in the sea from the park. The island attracts marine life of various species, but dolphins just can’t seem to stay away from Zanzibar. Keep your gaze toward the ocean and you’re bound to find one of the smiling creatures staring back at you.


Courtesy of Mr. Martineau/

Zanzibar Leopards

They haven’t been officially reported seen since the early 2000s and are believed to be extinct on the island, but locals swear that Zanzibar leopards are still roaming around, hidden out of sight. They were hunted to extinction when locals believed the animals were sent to their area by witchcraft to harass them. Unfortunately, they’ve never been properly studied and those who wish to see what a genuine Zanzibar leopard looked like can see one of the last known living species mounted in the Natural History Museum in London.

More from AFKTravel:

The Best Family Friendly Activities In Zanzibar

15 Things To Do In Zanzibar Besides Sitting On The Beach

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