Tortoise Sanctuary
V5J8+5JQ, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tortoise Sanctuary
Review №1

Tragedy, trash and torture. By promoting conscious traveling, I will not allow my participants to watch it again.Heres what we witnessed:- the whole reserve is filled with rubbish, the staff swear that they clean it every day, and you can see that the rubbish is very old and lies for a long time.- a turtle swallowing a plastic bag in front of our eyes ... we drew the attention of the park staff who ignored the topic. One of the two employees was involved in an extremely important project - lying face down on a wall in the reserve, the other was watching over and counting donations - his reaction was too late, he did not help the turtle, he cleaned up 3 plastic bags around him, leaving the rest of the garbage (caps). plastic, foil, cookie wrappers, bills ...)- in the park, on the ground, there is an abandoned metal frame, which apparently can hurt turtles ..- you can write a lot more about what a prison with a cage for small turtles is, how some look barely alive ..It is sad that people give 5 stars for such places, only because the tortoise will eat everything out of their hands and they can take a photo with it.I sincerely hope that changes will come, that this place will be a real sanctuary for turtles.

Review №2

We were extremely disappointed. The turtles have to live next to / with plastic, metallic wires or dirt. In addition to that, they want an entrance fee od 4$… also when you leave they are asking you for a donation. This is ridiculous- please spend the money on the turtles and renovate the enclosures :/

Review №3

Not a sanctuary.I was quite excited to see the tortoise but was really disappointed with how they were looked after.Considering around 500 people visit the island a day, each paying entry, drinks and food costing 10x what they do on the mainland, youd think theyd invest some of that back into making a humane environment for these incredible animals.Theres a small concrete and metal cage with a hundred hatchlings crammed in like sardines.A couple of tortoise were mating which I found entertaining from a distance but it was ruined by a group of tourists loudly stomping over to pet and force cabbage in their faces while they were at it.I saw a child stood ontop of another tortoise while her parents clapped and took photos.The fenced off grounds to the sanctuary is huge but mostly barren apart from a small area by the entrance.They should invest in developing the area to make it more comfortable for the animals and to spread out visitors. A real nursery should be made for the hatchlings and staff should be scattered around to make sure everyone is being safe and respectful instead of all sitting in the enterance lobby.This is the polar opposite of the experience I had at the turtle sanctuary which I found very professional and ethical.

Review №4

Please look after these tortoises more. We were so sad to see how they were treated. our guide told us when we went in not to feed the tortoises at the front because everyone feeds them andthey never move. As we went in, everyone was feeding a handful of tortoises at the front who looked over weight and no staff were telling them not to despite being sat 2 meters away. There were not any staff walking around the enclosure checking on the animals and making sure they were not being mistreated. Tour guides were tickling them under the armpits to get them to stand up and pose for photos. The enclosure is baron, there appeared to be only one small muddy pool of water down in a pit, that was really difficult for the tortoises to get to, and a small puddle. There was plastic on the floor that they could eat. All the babies are kept in a tiny cage to stop people stealing them. There was no space, they were crawling all over each over and we were told they spend about 3 years in there until they are big enough not to be stolen.It wouldn’t take much to make this into a real sanctuary - a clean environment, plenty of fresh water, rules on how tourists and guides interact with the tourists and welfare officers enforcing them and making sure the animals are healthy.The animals welfare must come first ahead of pleasing tourists. Please invest more in making this a responsible tourist activity.

Review №5

Nothing special to see…small island with a lot of turtles, living in bad conditions…

Review №6

Great to see ,perhaps not worth the money we paid. The tortoise were wonderful. A pity the island is so neglected.Thanks

Review №7

Great expirience ;) especcialy when you will catch some huge turtle love:D

Review №8

Very big and nice turtles :)

Review №9

It is a beautiful island to visit. There are soo many old turtles that you can feed them with cabbage. This island was originally a prison but now prison was converted to a restaurant. I found a boat for 40 thousand tnz shilling. We were just 2 person. You can also pay 8 thousand shilling for entrance. U spend like 1 and half an hour in the island. I recommend you to visit that island.

Review №10

Nice place with lot of turtles that you can feed. Just be careful. They have sharp teeth ☺️

Review №11

Loved visiting the sanctuary! The turtles are so sweet and love to be pet and fed. Incredible some are over 160 yrs old. You need no special gear and there are great picture opportunities. Must do if you are in Zanzibar. You are able to rent a boat on the Zanzibar shore near Tembo House Hotel and bargain a price that includes the entrance fee of the sanctuary. 2 of us paid 30,000 tsh each to the boat guide (at 1st they wanted 45,000 tsh, if you have a bigger group could probably get it even cheaper) This price includes the boat ride, tortoise sanctuary entrance, and snorkeling gear for snorkeling off the shore before the ride back. We used the Gladiator company. The sanctuary will ask for donations as you leave and it is always nice to tip the boat driver.

Review №12

Very cool expérience seeing the turtles but seems like they are confined and living in mediocre environment. It was extremely smelly because they are living in their own waste sometimes.... Besides the turtles on the island, theres really not much else to see.

Review №13

It is awesome place. The entrance fee on Prison island, where the tortoise sanctuary is located, is 4$ per person. It was amazing how friendly these creatures are. You can pet them all over the place. They really enjoin neck massage 😋

Review №14

Tortoises Island:-(Amazing place)Changuu Island (also known as Kibandiko, Prison or Quarantine Island) is a small island 5.6 km north-west of Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar. The island is around 800m long and 230m wide at its broadest point.[1] The island saw use as a prison for rebellious slaves in 1860s and also functioned as a coral mine. The British First Minister of Zanzibar, Lloyd Mathews, purchased the island in 1893 and constructed a prison complex there. No prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever cases. The station was only occupied for around half of the year and the rest of the time it was a popular holiday destination. More recently, the island has become a government-owned tourist resort and houses a collection of endangered Aldabra giant tortoises which were originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles.

Review №15

Surprisingly, we did not plan to visit Changuu commonly known as Prison Island because we thought we wouldn’t have enough time to go there. When our guide suggested us to go, he mentioned that it will take less than 3 hours to reach the island, do the visit, and come back to Stone Town right on time for the sunset. We were so enthusiastic to visit this place because we heard about the giant tortoises, so without any hesitation, we accepted to go!The island was originally used to detain slaves. Later, the site of a prison was built but only served as a quarantine station for people infected by Leprosy. Today, visitors can enjoy the delightful beach for swimming and snorkeling. On top of that, the most interesting part is without doubts the tortoises’ sanctuary. Meeting those giant tortoises was definitely the highlight of our visit to Prison Island. Find more pictures on my Instagram (kelledstyle) and info on my blog :)

Review №16

Too many turtles in a very small space overwhelmed by tourists coming! The baby turtles were in a very small cage all walking over each other.

Review №17

Good opportunity to see centenary turtles getting very close to them. They seem to be well taken care of, but not sure if they are there as a zoo or as a recovery place and they get released afterwards.

Review №18

Amazing place! You can feed and pet the giant tortoises and see them at their natural habitat. You can see also some other aninals if you are lucky. Not the most exciting place to visit but as an animal lover, good place to visit while being in Sansibar!

Review №19

Great opportunity to get up close to giant tortoises. Many are over 100 years - so they are doing well.

Review №20

Super nice island with history too! You can feed turtles on the island and make pictures with them!!

Review №21

The turtles are amazing but I regret going. It suppose to be a sanctuary. Nothing about sanctuary. The turtles are laying in a space full of plastics, not enough green and water for them. When I went to ask why they don’t clean it, the guys said they do it every 2 days, which I didn’t believe as the plastics was everywhere and it looked like it was not cleaned forever. Also baby turtles are locked on the concrete ground with no water nothing in there. It’s horrible. Would be better for them to be out in nature no matter of the cost.

Review №22

Great to see the giant turtles and very nice beach to enjoy the ocean...

Review №23

Interesting place to visit. Rich in history too. The boat trip and island beach is half the fun.

Review №24

Very nice island. The water of the seo so clear like the glass.

Review №25

Need to get a boat here. Definitely worth a visit. Amazing to see so many Tortoises

Review №26

Made some good memories and their tortoises up to 100 years of age 😳

Review №27

The tortoises are incredible. However the large crowds of tourists standing over them, knocking on their shells and touching them was upsetting for me to see. No staff or guides tried to prevent these idiots from tormenting the animals, which are obviously just used as a tourist draw/money magnet and not particularly well cared for. Depressing.

Review №28

Who are these people giving 4 and 5 stars?! Yes the tortoises are incredible but their conditions are abhorrent. Strings of plastic from disintegrated woven sandbags, bits of wrappers and other rubbish is literally EVERYWHERE. You can watch them eat it! You can scoop it up by the handful. The staff absolutely don’t care and rolled their eyes when I asked why. Hideous tourists abusing the animals and again, staff doing nothing. By staff, I mean one thug at reception hoping for a tip for doing nothing. Tour guides from the boats leading the animal abuse for their tip. Young tortoises (about 100!) are locked in a concrete 10x 6 cage for their first 5 Year’s....maybe to avoid theft?! No folliage or soft surface for them. I’d bet anything a sizeable enough tip would get you the key. I’d also bet anything a biologist, vet or animal nutritionist has never been invited to site and should one happen along by coincidence I’m sure they’d assess the operators of this attraction are clearly so disinterested in welfare that their efforts no matter how altruistic would be met with silence. Perhaps at have tried and that’s exactly what happened.You should definitely go because the tortoises deserve your financial support and they are incredible in spite of their Environment but then use your voice and speak up!

Review №29

The beach is one of the cleanest you will ever find. It is about 40 mins boat ride from Zanzibar stone town. Tortoise as old as 200 years old are being taken care of. There are also a lot of peacocks roaming around the island. There is also a restaurant and swimming pool. Nice beach scenes for those who would like to take pictures of the clean waters. A place you must visit when you come to Zanzibar

Review №30

Nope, not me. I love animals too much to think putting them in a concrete cage is a life. I dont support animal tourism and I regret going.The island is beautiful no doubt, though the tortoises are imported.

Review №31

The giant tortises are amazing, but the tourists suck. Get off the animals! An amazing opportunity to see a very rare creature, but I strongly suggest you slide past the crowd and walk the enclosure a bit. Lots of tortises out amongst trees. Just be careful as they are more shy.

Review №32

In 1919 the British governor of Seychelles sent a gift of four Aldabra giant tortoises to Changuu from the island of Aldabra. These tortoises bred quickly and by 1955 they numbered around 200 animals. However people began to steal the tortoises for sale abroad as pets or for food and their numbers dropped rapidly. By 1988 there were around 100 tortoises, fifty in 1990 and just seven by 1996. A further 80 hatchlings were taken to the island in 1996 to increase the numbers but 40 of them vanished. The Zanzibar government, with assistance from the World Society for the Protection of Animals (Now known as World Animal Protection) built a large compound for the protection of the animals and by 2000 numbers had recovered to 17 adults, 50 juveniles and 90 hatchlings.The species is now considered vulnerable and has been placed on the IUCN Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. More tortoises, mainly juveniles, continue to be brought to the island from other locations for conservation.  There is a dedicated foundation on the island which looks after the tortoises welfare. Visitors are able to observe and feed the tortoises.

Review №33

I visited this sanctuary during my vacation in Zanzibar.Turtles are really great fun. All in all, if you have a few days available, I recommend you visit another: too much confusion!

Review №34

The island is cute and the tortoises are impressive.

Review №35

Amazing place and a must visit!

Review №36

Pretty impressive place. Over two hundred large tortoises spread across the island. A 30 min boat ride from mainland Zanzibar, and a must visit.

Review №37

Nice, cute turtles, but its not a must

Review №38

Tortoise Sanctuary - also known as Prison Island. Great to see giant tortoises also used to be Portuguese quarantine for prisoners with transmittable diseases.I dont mind undergoing prison sentence on this island. 😁😁😁😁😁

Review №39

Great great great! I never has the chance in my life to touch tortoise and to feed them. Well I have done this there 😁

Review №40

Giant turtles, seemed to be happy with tourists.

Review №41

110+ years old tortoise and authentic buildings. A lot of history lock at a prison. Now a days beautiful one.

Review №42

Awesome place to visit

Review №43

A great place with a magnificent beach

Review №44

Plenty of big tortoises, which are found only on a few islands. They have free reign of the sanctuary.

Review №45

An ok place to visit to see the Tortoise! Bewary of the local guide. Tend to Over charge tourists.

Review №46

Nice place to spend 30min.and feed turtles :-) entrance only 5$

Review №47

Little Island with Tortoise and little beach. Good place for snorkelling for first time.

Review №48

Amazing....very old and big tortoise can be found....

Review №49

Very nice and interesting! Lots of nice tortoises

Review №50


Review №51

Amazing place with lot of cool tortoises!

Review №52

Beautiful place you can see them nearly

Review №53

Amazing to see some 100+yo tortoises

Review №54

Natural place where you can find a living tortoise in town.

Review №55

Definitely worth the trip

Review №56

A very nice place to visit with the Childs

Review №57

Nice place to meet with nature :)

Review №58


Review №59

Wow - what a unique experience

Review №60

Its a place one must visit

Review №61

Loved it.

Review №62

Plenty of tortoise interactions

Review №63

Bring your kids

Review №64

It need more attention

Review №65

They are amazing

Review №66


Review №67


Review №68

Great place!

Review №69

Unique Experience

Review №70

Amazing experience

Review №71

Amazing experience

Review №72

Wonderful Places

Review №73

Nice place

Review №74

Nice place

Review №75

Prison Island is just 20-30 minutes by boat from Zanzibar. Slaves were kept on this island and later turned into a mortal camp where people suffering from deadly diseases were deported. But now the island of prisoners with a deep history fascinates everyone with a nature reserve with huge turtles and prison ruins. The oldest turtle living on the island is about 196 years old. We met a turtle that was over 150 years old. It is one of the largest turtles in the world, weighing up to 150 kg😉

Review №76

The turtles are definitely worth a look. Huge, majestic, almost tame. The staff allows almost everything, feeding, touching turtles, taking photos and videos. There are peacocks and outside the fence I saw some kind of animals, passers-by on deer cubs. But it is clear that they are adults. Only small ones. Prison is nothing. In the courtyard there is a cafe where drinks are sold, in another room there is a toilet, and in another there is a useless exposition ... There is nothing to look at. The passage to the vast majority of prison buildings is closed. During the time allotted to visit the island, you can have time to buy and look at the beautiful bright crabs running along the coral reef near the water.

Review №77

Turtles have been in color for almost 200 years. It is worth it, very special pexperience. Close contact with turtles :) they can be petted and fed.

Review №78

A huge tortoise farm on Prison Island, you definitely have to take part, costs 50 dollars per head with transfer, I did it 2 times, the guide for 10 dollars explains the history of the island and the turtles 🐢. Its worth it

Review №79

Lots of giant turtles!Well-fed, they don’t really want to take food from their hands, but that’s good.They mate very loudlySeparately, small recently hatched turtles grow in the fence.Interesting place.It is very important that your guide can tell you something

Review №80

A wonderful park. Quite a large number of turtles, of different ages and sizes, quite friendly and peaceful, willingly make contact with visitors. They love to massage the paws and neck and take poses for a joint photo. You can also observe natural behavior and see baby turtles. For a walk, it is better to wear coral shoes, since walking along the paths alone will not work. At the exit, you can leave donations on the turtles. In January, the island was sold and it passed into private ownership. The hotel is not working.

Review №81

On the island of Canggu, also known as Prison Island, there is a nursery for giant Seychelles land turtles. These turtles were donated to Zanzibar by the Governor of the Seychelles in the early 20th century and have since bred in large numbers. The oldest turtle that I have seen here is 150 years old (the age of the oldest individuals is indicated by paint on the shell, it is periodically updated). These are very cute and not too agile creatures, you can feed them with fallen leaves or cabbage, you can also scratch the bottom of the neck. Entrance to the nursery costs 10,000 shillings per person. You can get to the island by renting a boat at Stone Town Zanzirab. I really liked it there, a must-see place.

Review №82

Boarding the boat immediately behind the cafe. Freddy Mercury (not to be confused with the house). It makes sense to wait a bit for tourists and then bargain. Tourists agreed before us for 30dol for 3, and after that we bargained for 14, too, for three ... to swim to the island for about 20 minutes. You need to visit, there are a lot of turtles and they are really huge. Right at the entrance there is an inconspicuous cage, there are newborn small turtles. Be sure to take more cabbage leaves issued for tickets purchased at the entrance. Turtles eat fast and a lot and cabbage will end quickly)) Log 4dol per person. There is no sense in going to prison at all. There is absolutely nothing to watch. Better stay with the turtles.

Review №83

Well, its huge ... Giant turtles are free. You can move between them, you can simulate them, you can feed them. Dont miss this if youre in Zanzibar! You have to pay $ 4 to enter the island, but ... HERE

Review №84

Such a cluster of huge turtles have never been seen! They crawl, do not pay attention to people, are busy with their own affairs, tame! You can touch, feed. We got great pleasure from communicating with these giants)It is worth going to Prison Island only because of the turtle park and go. The buildings on the island were not impressed.

Review №85

Very beautiful island with impressively large tortoises. The trip there is offered for 15 U $ D per person, the entry to the island again 8500 Tsh. It is definitely worth it! The oldest turtle is 192 years old. You can also visit the former prison on the island and snorkel on the way to the island. A fresh water shower is right next to the jetty.

Review №86

Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, is located right next to Stone Town, and to reach it you have to take a boat ride of about 30 minutes. In 1893, Lloyd Mathews built the prison that was used to retain the slaves before being transported to places in the Middle East or Europe.After that, the island was transformed into a quarantine center for people with deadly diseases such as yellow fever. Currently, the island is a natural reserve, and a beautiful place where giant tortoises live that were imported from Seychelles in the late nineteenth century, making it the perfect place for lovers of turtles. You can walk among them, feed them and even touch them. (Cost per person about $ 35)This island is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef, ideal for snorkeling, where there is also a small white sand beach with turquoise waters for sunbathing

Review №87

Nice to visit the turtles and feed them. You must have a guide who knows more about these animals or you need to know English to read the signs. Furthermore, there is not much to do on the island unless swimming in the sea.

Review №88

Here for the first time I saw live large turtles, and turtles of a very huge size. Impressive! In general, the island and the park will be interesting for both children and adults.

Review №89

Very interesting tourist place. Turtles are about two hundred, from palm-sized and a week old to huge specimens of 196 years old. From it is possible to feed and iron. Entertainment for an hour, no more. The territory is small.

Review №90

Turtles 🔥🔥🔥 impress the oldest 195 or 195 guides are confused in the testimony смотрите, look at your feet, the turtles are pooping, the biggest one is hard to find, but it really surpasses the rest, the turtles are not local, but those are imported from Seychelles, to prison in the catacombs were not allowed in, they were disappointed, there are a lot of visitors, a must-see place

Review №91

Definitely worth a visit. On the island, slave ships were compulsorily landing before entering Zanzibar because of the infection. However, the main attractions are turtles ...

Review №92

Impressive!Giant tortillas, they are really very big. Until you see it live, you dont understand how much.These turtles are one of the main attractions of the island, although they come from the Seychelles.You can touch, feed and the children will ride.

Review №93

Such big turtles! Definitely worth a visit, better in the morning! Turtles like to scratch their neck)

Review №94

Nice experience with turtles up to more than 150 years.You can feed them and receive information in English from the caregiver

Review №95

Beautiful place, the prisoners island.Giant deer are amazing. Feeding and stroking them. Do not sit or stand on them.Long and amazing pier.

Review №96

Lots of big turtles, loved it

Review №97

There are a lot of giant turtles. You can stroke them, scratch their necks, feed them. It is unlikely that anywhere else you can see them so close

Review №98

After a boat trip by the sea, supposedly 20min, which took us about an hour in larger waves, we had a nice hour among the terrestrial turtles. You can walk, feed, touch. Pleasant trip if you spend time in Stone Town.

Review №99

The famous park of giant turtles. Be sure to visit all the tourists of Zanzibar.

Review №100

Hello to youIf you can, taking a boat and taking a tour on the one also called Prison Island is great.I advise you to go there in the late afternoon, you will have fewer people knowing that many locals go to this island. You will be able to see magnificent terrestrial turtles and some other animals as well as superb flowers. A small beach will allow you to swim where your boat has dropped you off and will pick you up.

100 Photos
4.4 Rating
  • Address:V5J8+5JQ, Zanzibar, Tanzania
  • Tourist attraction
  • Animal park
Working hours
  • Monday:9AM–5PM
  • Tuesday:9AM–5PM
  • Wednesday:9AM–5PM
  • Thursday:9AM–5PM
  • Friday:9AM–5PM
  • Saturday:9AM–5PM
  • Sunday:9AM–5PM
Similar organizations