Exploring a crocodile infested river estuary

Harriet James

Funzi Island is one of the magnificent islands at the South Coast. It is renowned primarily for its serene beaches as well as seclusion and is best suited for people who love a quite and relaxed atmosphere.

One can explore the meandering estuary of River Ramisi and discover Funzi comprises four mangrove-covered islands. The main island Funzi is inhabited by a permanent population of Shirazi community.

After taking a heavy breakfast at the resort, we headed off to our boat where the coxswain ensured that the first aid kit and the life jackets were in order.  My tour guide, Abbas Abdi and I took off, armed with bottles of water and the spirit of adventure.

The river —whose tributaries are mostly, springs flowing from aShimba Hills— flows through Ramisi town before emptying into Funzi Bay. As we sailed deeper into the river, we saw the small islands that surround Funzi island, such as Mlimani .  These islets are inhabited by people who occasionally move away due to lack of water. We caught glimpses of fishermen earning their daily bread, some whom were friendly and allowed us to take their photos. I was amazed by their ability to adapt in this crocodile- infested river.

The sight of a croc’ as we headed deeper into the mangrove forest made me scream with  fear that they could attack our boat just like in the horror movies. Nile crocodiles  can grow up to six metres in length, weigh 700kg and live for 45 years!

Abbas said as long as we were in the boat, nothing would happen . “The crocs only attack when a person is in the water.  There is a weird story on the resilience of the villagers based on their belief in a medicine that makes them invisible to crocs.  They have black medicine that makes the crocodiles not touch them,” explained Abdi.

His brother who once caught by a crocodile while he was out fishing. Despite the almost fatal accident, he is still fishing in  the same river. We spotted exotic birds such as the heron, the paradise fly cat and the mangrove king, which have made this magnificent river their home.

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