Mangrove forests, dugong, whales, turtles, corals...
The 8 sites of global importance were selected because of the following main features:
3. Lamu Archipelago
5. Mida Creek-Malindi
- Extensive mangrove formations in delta, creeks and basins (345 km2) with 160 km2 in pristine condition.
- Breeding populations of Olive Ridley, Hawksbill and Green turtles and Dugong.
- Most northerly coral reefs in the ecoregion.
- Colony of 10,000 Roseate Terns and breeding site for Ospreys and Pelicans.
8. Rufiji-Mafia Complex (Rufiji River Delta, Mafia Island and Songo Songo Archipelago)
- High coral diversity (>60 genera)
- Important bird feeding area (including Flamingos).
- Muddy high nutrient bay with sudden drop-off providing a nursery for sharks and globally important feeding area for sailfish, marlin and swordfish.
12. Mtwara-Quirimbas Complex (Mnazi Bay, Ruvuma Delta and Quirimbas reefs to Pemba)
- Extensive and varied coral reef habitats with high coral cover and diversity (>45 genera).
- Rufiji River delta with extensive riverine and deltaic mangroves (53 km2).
- Very important breeding area for shrimp and fish and nesting and feeding site for shorebirds.
- Abundance of top predators including crocodiles.
- Important feeding area for Dugong and turtles.
- Resident populations of Hippopotamus.
15. Zambezi Delta system
- Located where the South Equatorial Current meets the African coast.
- Extensive complex of reefs with high coral diversity (>48 genera).
- Important turtle feeding and nursery site and feeding area for Crab Plovers and migratory birds.
- Unique Ruvuma dunes system with likelihood of rare or endemic flora.
- Important nursery area for Humpback whales.
17. Bazaruto Archipelago
- Part of the largest mangrove complex in the western Indian Ocean (2,800 km2) with a large pristine proportion.
- Terrestrial complex includes floodplains, grassland and palm savanna.
- Important area for globally threatened wetland birds e.g. Wattled Cranes, Pelicans, African Skimmer.
- Concentrations of Risso's Dolphin, Humpback Dolphins and whales including breeding Humpback Whales.
20. Maputo Bay-Machangulo Complex (including Inhaca Island)
- Complex of coral communities with 6 endemic gastropod mollusc species.
- Parabolic sand dunes.
- Populations of 6 bird species regularly exceeds 1% of the global population.
- Largest Dugong population in the ecoregion, plus 5 dolphin, 3 whale, 4 turtle and 4 shark species.
- Unique sand blown island (barrier to cyclones and barrier Lakes).
21. Greater St. Lucia Wetlands
- Important feeding area for turtle, dugong and migratory birds e.g.Whimbrel and Flamingos.
- Extensive marshes and flooded grasslands with endemic fish and plant species.
- Important for Dugong, whales, white and whale sharks.
- Turtles (Loggerhead and Leatherback) nesting area.
- Northern limit of migration for Southern Right Whale.
- Endemic fishes and unique tube-worm reefs.
- Deep rocky formations dominated by gorgonians.
- Longest estuary in Africa.
- Southernmost coral communities in the western Indian Ocean, extending for 80km.
- Narrow coastal shelf with deep canyons, with a resident population of Coelacanth.
- High endemism of soft corals.
- Important for Dugong, seasonal aggregation of whale sharks and raggedtooth sharks.
- Loggerhead and Leatherback turtle nesting area.
- Nesting seabirds, including the White-backed Pelican and Caspian Tern.