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Monday, May 20, 2013

World Turtle Day with &Beyond Mnemba Island

As conservationists around the world prepare for World Turtle Day on 23 May, &Beyond Mnemba Island celebrates the birth of more than 50 000 green turtle hatchlings over the past fifteen years. 

On the globally endangered list, green turtles have been brought to the brink of extinction by the uncontrolled harvesting of eggs and killing of vulnerable egg-laying females. Situated in the Mnemba Island Marine Conservation Area, a protected zone off the coast of Zanzibarformed by &Beyond in partnership with the Zanzibar Department of Fisheries, &Beyond Mnemba Island provides an undisturbed tropical haven for these gentle creatures to nest.

Renowned for its commitment to sustainable conservation and travel, for which it was recently awarded the 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award, &Beyond has trained the staff at this exclusive island getaway to take part in a regional green turtle tagging programme that monitors the animals' movements and documents all breeding activities. Since 1998, turtles nesting on the island have been tagged and measured for size, while their nests have been protected and hatchings meticulously recorded. This information is shared with both local and international conservation organisations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the Department of the Environment in Zanzibar and the East African WildlifeFoundation.

With an average of 34 turtles nesting on the island each year and approximately 100 hatchlings per nest, more than 50 000 turtles have been born on Mnemba in the past fifteen years. As few predators are encountered on the island, more than 90% of these hatchlings reach the sea safely.

Thanks to the close monitoring of all turtle activity by &Beyond staff, thousands of guests have been able to witness turtles laying eggs and their newly hatched offspring taking their first steps into the sea. This unforgettable sight and the remarkable survival rate of hatchlings foster the twin aims of World Turtle Day to increase knowledge of turtles and to encourage human actions that help these ancient reptiles survive and thrive.

The team at &Beyond Mnemba Island has a series of activities planned for their own celebration of Turtle Day, from baking playful and delicious turtle-shaped cookies for afternoon tea to the far more serious business of removing man-made materials from the waters surrounding the island. As sea turtles are particularly susceptible to consuming marine debris and plastic is especially harmful to the species, the team has planned a dedicated clean-up dive to find and get rid of any strayplastic bags or fishing line found in the ocean. Another team will be working on land to collect any debris washed ashore on the island.

In the evening, guests at the lodge will have the option of attending a presentation on sea turtles and their lifecycle. With a turtle nest on the island due to hatch at any moment, the team will be hoping to illustrate the talk with a real life demonstration of baby green turtlesmaking their way into the water.

To see this incredible cycle of nature for yourself, contact &Beyond on +27 11 809 4441 or at


&Beyond is one of the world's leading luxury experiential travel companies, designing personalised luxury safaris in 16 African countries, as well as India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The company alsoowns and operates 32 extraordinary lodges and camps in Africa and India's wilderness high spots. Established in 1991, &Beyond takes exceptional care of its guests in order to make a difference; its commitment to sustainable responsible travel and community empowerment is world renowned.

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places