Turtle hatching has started on Mafia Island!
Sea turtles have been nesting on Tanzanian beaches for over 150 million years.
They can be dated back to the Late Jurassic period, where they once shared our world with the likes of the Stegosaurus and other large herbivorous dinosaurs. Juani Island which makes up part of the Mafia archipelago is the most important Green turtle nesting site in Tanzania.
Between June and September, hundreds of baby turtles will make their instinctive scramble from the white sandy beaches to the warm Indian Ocean.
Our excursion, in collaboration with Mafia Island Diving Center
The adventure starts with a lovely dhow trip across Chole Bay, landing on the shielded Western side of Juani Island. On arrival, a 45 minute walk across Juani reveals the islands true beauty in the form of towering trees and acres and acres of green foliage up until the very last minute before our attention is turned to the turtle nest hidden amongst white grains of sand.
The little hatchlings emerge from their sandy burrow, scrambling out of their nest, flapping their fins vivaciously, racing to reach the surf and start the next step of their incredible journey. It is a truly heart wrenching experience to watch these ancient reptiles fight for survival in their first moments among the living. After witnessing one of nature's most harrowing hurdles, we make our way back to our dhow, settle back with a cup of tea and daydream of what these little turtles will be up against next.
A turtle hatching excursion is an outstanding experience, but one that means nothing, if people haven't grasped the desperate truth behind their current situation. Marine turtles are endangered for reasons both natural and man-made.
As part of this excursion, Mafia Island Diving Center offers all guests an informative powerpoint briefing on turtle biology, distribution, threats and much more, as well as a guide throughout the experience to answer any questions you may have.
Our aim is for our guests to have a beautiful moment with these turtles, to learn something new, but also to become ambassadors for this iconic species, to spread what they have learnt to give turtles a fighting chance, so that they can exist for 150 more million years.