Wildlife Division: Ramsar Sites in Tanzania

Ramsar Sites in Tanzania

The Malagarasi-Muyovozi Ramsar Site

This is the largest and excellent example of an East African floodplain wetland ecosystem. It is located in the administrative regions of Kigoma, Shinyanga and Tabora, in northwest Tanzania, covers an area of 3,250,000 ha. The site is a vast and complex riverine floodplain wetland in the basin of the Malagarasi River. 

The basin has five main rivers, the Malagarasi, Moyowosi, Kigosi, Gombe and Ugalla which drain an area of 9.2 million hectares (about 30% of the Lake Tanganyika catchment system).  The core area of the site comprises lakes and open water in the dry season covering about 250,000 ha together with a permanent papyrus swamp of about 200,000 ha.

There are large peripheral floodplains that fluctuate widely on a yearly basis depending on the amount of rainfall, but cover up to 1.5 million hectares.  The relatively large Sagara and Nyamagoma lakes are associated with the floodplain.

Additional key wetland types within the site include floodplain grasslands, floodplain woodlands, and riverine and groundwater forests.  The wetland provides an important dry season refuge and feeding area for migratory animals including many waterbirds and large mammal species.

Management of the Site has been funded by DANIDA since its designation in the year 2000. DANIDA funding to Sustainable Integrated Malagarasi Muyovozi Ramsar Site (SIMMORS) was effectively closed June 2007, the Site is now under DANIDA support through the Sustainable Wetlands Management Programme.

Kilombero Valley Flood Plain Ramsar Site

The site is located in the two districts of Kilombero and Ulanga, it covers an area of 596,908 ha. The area is rare and unique because it comprises a myriad of rivers, which make up the largest seasonally freshwater lowland floodplain in East Africa.

The Kilombero Valley Floodplain is of global, national, regional and local importance in terms of its ecology and biodiversity. The site is a key feature in the Selous-Kilombero seasonal wildlife migrations. The valley contains almost 75% of the world's population of the wetland dependent Puku antelope Kobus vardonii.

Kilombero Valley Ramsar Site management has been under the support of the Belgium Technical Cooperation (BTC) since November, 2006.

Lake Natron Basin Ramsar Site.

 It is a representative example of a Rift Valley soda lake in East Africa basin situated in Ngorongoro and Monduli districts within the Arusha region, in northern Tanzania contiguous with the Kenyan border, covers an area of 224,781 ha. It is the only regular breeding area for the 2-4 million Phoeniconaias minor in East Africa.  Detailed aerial counts in 1957 and 1991 indicate about 500,000 breeding pairs/nests. The highly specialized flamingo community must be considered a threatened ecological community. In addition, the site also supports over 100,000 individuals of other waterbird species, including large numbers of migrant species. In January 1995, a total of 105,730 waterbirds were estimated on the lake.  In addition to the fish species, Oreochromis alcalicus appears to be endemic to Lake Natron and Kenya’s Lake Magadi. The lake supports blue-green algae Spirulina platensis that in turn is essential for the Phoeniconaias minor population.

The Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa Marine Ramsar Site

It is a representative wetland of east Africa, as it contains a large diversity of wetland types, which are ecologically interlinked, including the threatened estuarine, coastal and marine wetland habitats. It harbours the IUCN red-listed marine turtles Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata, Caretta caretta, Dermochelys coriacea, Lepidochelys olivacea, as well as the aquatic mammal Dugong dugong. The wetland is important for maintaining mangrove and coral communities. Songo-Songo has a highly diverse and extensive coral assemblage with records of 49 genera of hard and 12 genera of soft corals. The wetland offers reproduction and nesting sites for the turtles Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata. It is also the last stand in Tanzania for the Dugong dugong. The wetland regularly supports over 20,000 water birds (feeding, resting and roosting site), especially during the migration period. The wetland provides habitats (breeding, nursery and feeding ground, and shelter) to commercially important coastal and marine species of fish (e.g. finfish) and invertebrates.

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