East African Mangroves | WWF

East African Mangroves

About the Area

Compared to Southeast Asia, African mangroves support relatively low species diversity. However, the East African mangroves support the greatest flora and faunal diversity of African mangroves, as well as provide critical habitat for maintaining nearby coral reefs and populations of fish and birds.
The Rufiji River that runs through Tanzania creates an enormous delta containing the largest mangrove forests in the ecoregion. And the islands of the Bazaruto are called the "crown jewels" of the Western Indian Ocean for the many beautiful areas including mangrove and sea grass systems.

The mangrove ecosystem along the eastern coast of Africa contains trees that are specially adapted for life in saltwater. Many migratory bird populations rely on the delta and wetlands as stopover and wintering habitat.

Local Species
In addition to the many fish and invertebrates that find refuge, breeding grounds, and nursuries in mangroves, other local residents include Mangrove kingfisher (Halycyon senegaloides), Dugong (Dugong dugon), and migrants such as Greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), and Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola).

Also found are five species of sea turtles: Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), Green (Chelonia mydas), and Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Mangroves in the region area being lost through conversion to rice farms, salt pans, aquaculture, and urbanisation. They also ultimately receive all untreated wastes discharged upstream, as well as oil and industrial pollution, silt, and pesticides.


15,000 sq. km (5,800 sq. miles)

Habitat type:

Geographic Location:
Eastern African Coast, along Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, Tanzania, and the western coast of Madagascar

Conservation Status:

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