Pemba Island

By ~ Lindo Travel

Pemba Island

Located about 80km from Zanzibar Island, about the same distance directly east of Tanga on the Tanzanian mainland. With its hilly landscape, its highest point is less than 100 meters above sea level, by size Pemba is smaller than Unguja.

Arab sailors once named Pemba as 'El Huthera', meaning the Green, due to her dense and lush vegetation. There are more natural forests and plantations than on Zanzibar Island, and Pemba grows more cloves than her Zanzibar. Today, earnings from the clove crop are supported by other agricultural products, cattle raising, and by fishing, which is an important source of livelihood.
Pemba is also popular for its voodoo and traditional healers. People come from throughout East Africa seeking cures or to learn the skills of the art from practitioners on Pemba.

The interesting point about Pemba is its wealth of natural resources ranging from beaches to mangrove ecosystems to natural forests. The coral reefs surrounding the island protect a massive amount of marine species and offer some of the best diving spots in the world. While much of the coast is lined with mangroves, there are a few amazing stretches of shoreline and enough attractive offshore islands with pure, clean beaches and interesting bird-life to keep someone busy for quite a while.

‘’The beauty of Pemba is bewitching. The epitome of a tropical paradise, Pemba has green valleys with rice paddies and palm trees and clove plantations that shade the roads’’. Alternatively, leave the better-known island of Unguja behind and set sail for Pemba, which is smaller, lusher and hillier than its neighbor. The island retains an air of unspoiled beauty, with lush green valleys of clove plantations and dark, mysterious tropical forest giving way to vast stretches of virgin beach at the coast.

At night the wind that whispers through the clove plantations which cover most of Pemba might bring the sound of distant drumming. But don't be tempted to set off toward the noise in the 1930s Pemba was famous the world over for the power of its sorcerer and magicians, with devotees of the black arts coming from as far away as Haiti to be initiated into the rites of Pemban witchdoctors. By all accounts, Pemba is still a center of witchcraft today, but visitors will be unlikely to see any hint of the occult. Instead, you can float across spectacular coral reefs, laze on those untouched beaches and explore the winding hills and dense vegetation of the interior.

The tiny number of visitors to Pemba every year means that the island has little in the way of tourist infrastructure which for alternative travelers is the main attraction. Small guesthouses are dotted around the island, and there are a couple of upmarket diving hotels and resorts. Visitors may be surprised to find that bullfighting is a popular local sport, supposedly imported by Portuguese invaders in the 17th century.

The Pemban version, however, simply involves testing the skills of the bull in a series of bold moves by the matador, after which the bull is loaded with flowers and praise, and paraded around the village. Misali Island, to the west of Pemba, is reputed to have been used as a hideout by the notorious pirate Captain Kidd, who is even said to have buried treasure here. Today a conservation program has been established, and visitors can come for the day, snorkel off the beach and walk in the forest. Locals believe the Island is holy, having been used by the prophet Hidara as a prayer mat. Visitors to the island are asked to respect local customs and beliefs.

There are many historical sites and ruins explore on Pemba including a number of old mosques and tombs and the old town fort of Chake Chake. The Pujini ruins south-east of Chake Chake are the remnants of a fortified town built around the 13th century. The Ngezi Forest is a protected area in the northwest corner of the island. It is home to endemic flora and fauna species such as the Pemba flying fox (a big bat) and the Pemba palm, which is found only in the region of Ngezi Forest and is known locally as Mapapindi palm.

The beauty of Pemba is bewitching. The epitome of a tropical paradise, Pemba has green valleys with rice paddies and palm trees and clove plantations that shade the roads. Vistas of the Indian Ocean are breathtaking as they appear through the peaks and depths of Pemba’s terrain. It is a sight not to be missed.

Activities to do:


Visit Misali Island.

Ngeze forest reserved.

Visit Vumawimbi beach.

Chwaka ruins.

Mkame Ndume ruins

Spices farm and Rain forest tour

Visit Clove oil distillery

Scuba diving

Old building sightseeing

Best time to visit:
Pemba Island is located on the Northern side of Zanzibar. Its temperature varies from nighttime lows of 20C (68F) to 25C (77F) to the day time highs of 28C (82F) to 32C (90F). It has two wet seasons that is long rains initiate from March, April, and May as dual peak months dusting off by June. The short rain period being through the months of November and December. But some of the water activities are limited during the wet seasoning.

Its recommend that the best time to visit Pemba is during the cool dry seasonal month that’s between the month of July to October which typically sees temperature weather condition and also the humidity is hot dry seasonal months of January and February, where this month are better to do tour due to the fact that it is winter season on America and Europe.

How to reach there: There are only two means of transport to reach Pemba that’s is through airplane and ferry.

Airplane transport:

From Dar es Salaam Via Zanzibar to Pemba

From Zanzibar to Pemba

From Tanga to Pemba

From Dar es Salaam to Pemba

Ferry’s transport:

From Zanzibar to Pemba

From Dar es Salaam to Pemba (it's only applicable twice a week)

From Tanga to Pemba (however it runs rarely)

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