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Pemba Island

Practical information on Pemba Island

  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Island
  • Museums
  • Place or Historical Monument
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
30 min plane from Zanzibar or 1 h from Dar Es Salaam. The boat is strongly advised against (many of them sink).
When to go
All year round
Minimum stay
3 to 5 days

Reviews of Pemba Island

Camille Griffoulieres Seasoned Traveller
111 written opinions

Pemba is an island that is part of the Zanzibar archipelago, but is not very touristic. It is not overrun with hotels like its neighbour and has remained very authentic.

My suggestion:
Expect to find accommodation of bad value for money in Pemba, unless you put up at the two hotels of grand luxury or the eco-lodge in the south of the island.
My review

Personally, I really liked Pemba, as it is more African than Zanzibar, more wild and more authentic. Over here you really have to cover yourself up (no bare legs or shoulders), for, unlike its neighbour, this island does not see tourists often, as everything is expensive here and those who seek to laze on the beach will be disappointed.

There is a lot of mangrove, one must take a boat or improbable dirt tracks to get to beaches (Missali Island is exceptional for snorkeling)... That is exactly what I liked! When you arrive at the northern tip of the island you feel as if you are at the end of the world, on an empty, windswept beach. Lots of divers come to explore the sea bed here.

The highlight was Ngezi forest, where I went on a lovely daytime walk with a park guide. Here I saw amazing flying-fox, the biggest bats in the world! They hang from the trees by the dozen, which is very impressive (however, they are totally harmless). I would have loved to have seen them active at nightfall (they sleep in the daytime).

Pemba's capital, Chake Chake is also a highlight of the visit, for the market and the small museum, definitely interesting even if it isn't much to look at on the outside. 

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