Things To Do At Pemba Island, Tanzania : Here Are the Top 15 Activities on Pemba Island: You have now discovered one of Tanzania’s most picturesque locations, an island of incredible natural beauty and culture, if you have never heard of Pemba Island before. While Zanzibar might be more well-known or, rather, more heavily advertised to tourists, that doesn’t mean you won’t have just as much fun there. Travelers who are willing to make the journey from the mainland will find Pemba Island to be a truly unique experience.
One of the Zanzibar Archipelago‘s lesser-known islands is Pemba Island. However, it is a well-liked honeymoon location. This is the place to be if you’re looking for relaxation, tranquility, and a romantic ambiance. For snorkelers and divers, the coral reefs that encircle the entire island make for an incredible playground. The Pemba Channel is similar to an underwater paradise and has an impressive marine population. You can see a wide variety of vibrant fish here, as well as sharks, dolphins, and even whales. Don’t forget to look into the variety of watersports available. You have the option of going kayaking, kitesurfing, or windsurfing, or taking a traditional sailing boat out for a romantic sunset cruise.
THE GREEN ISLAND
The green island is another name for Pemba Island. The main factors are the area’s fertile soil, rolling hills of lush greenery, and dense vegetation. As a result, there are numerous forests, mango trees, and extensive clove plantations on this undeveloped island. A third of the population relies on fishing and small-scale farming (rice, cassava, cloves, cinnamon, and bananas). Not to mention, Pemba’s wildlife is amazing below sea level. The island is also home to vervet monkeys, flying foxes, and bush babies!
You could stay on Zanzibar Island, Mafia Island, or go on a safari in Tanzania while also visiting Pemba Island. For specific guidance on how to include Pemba Island in your safari itinerary, get in touch with us.
HOW TO GET TO PEMBA ISLAND
To get to Pemba, travel 40 kilometers north of Zanzibar’s main island (Unguja). Pemba Island is slightly smaller than Zanzibar and has a much more rural atmosphere than Zanzibar.
Pemba’s hills and escarpments are green and picturesque, colored by the rich greens of the ten different types of mangoes and numerous clove trees that have historically supported the fortunes of this island of spices. Zanzibar is relatively flat in comparison.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON PEMBA ISLAND
The island is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef and clear waters, making it ideal for snorkeling and pretty much any other type of water sport. While its shores are greeted by dense mangrove forests and breathtaking, remote beaches that may require some searching and traveling, be ready to work for your beach time.
With only a few luxurious lodges, Pemba has largely escaped the attention of beachgoers. Instead, most visitors to the island come to dive and snorkel the coral reefs and channels.
WHEN SHOULD YOU VISIT PEMBA ISLAND?
The best time to visit Pemba is from late July through the dry season. In general, Pemba is still great through March, but if you happen to miss that prime time, you might experience a few showers in November. Be cautious when traveling in April and May, as the Island may experience heavy rains during this time and many lodges will likely be closed.
WHAT CAN YOU GET UP TO ON PEMBA ISLAND?
Pemba Island is a great vacation spot in East Africa for people who want a little more seclusion and freedom from tour groups. How about the exciting stuff now that you’ve been properly introduced to Pemba? What activities are available while you’re there? This list was created specifically to address that query.
ACTIVITIES ON PEMBA ISLAND: FOR THE FOODIE IN PEMBA
We suggest some of the following if your stomach is growling or you simply want to take your taste buds on a little adventure:
- Treat your taste buds with a visit to the ZSTC Clove Oil Distillery.
The distillery where the clove stems are converted into essential oil is located in Pemba, a region well-known for its clove industry. The Zanzibar State Trading Corporation (ZSTC) runs the distillery.
The distillery is located in the Machomane neighborhood, about one kilometer east of the main road and north of the town center. You can travel there by taking a Dallas-Dallas to the junction, where you can either walk there on your own or arrange a tour.
Regarded as a straightforward dining establishment with no frills. Ahaabna specializes in providing evening meals, which typically only have one option, like rice with chicken or fish. It’s worth checking availability in advance if you intend to eat here. Ahaabna is situated on the top floor of a contemporary concrete structure, which you can access by a staircase after working up an appetite.
- Times Restaurant
The Times’ menu offers a variety of meals, including pizza and chicken curry, as well as standard fare like fish and rice. It is advised that you call during the day to check on availability if you intend to eat in the evening because it can get quite busy. The Times Restaurant is located on Bomani Street in the Wete neighborhood.
ACTIVITIES ON PEMBA ISLAND: FOR THE EXPLORER IN PEMBA
Off the coast of Tanzania, Pemba Island is one of the best places for diving and snorkeling because of the coral reef that encircles the entire island. The Pemba Channel, which separates the island from the Tanzanian mainland, shelves off to depths of more than 2,000 meters. Pemba is known for its seriously large sea fish, including barracuda, tuna, sharks, and even whales. For skilled divers, this is a beautiful playground. In general, there is excellent visibility, and there are some breathtaking pinnacles. Pemba has strong currents, making it unsuitable for novice divers.
- Grab some sun at Vumawimbi Beach.
The road leading to Vumawimbi, which runs north of Ngezi Forest Reserve and along the east side of the Kigomasha Peninsula, can be solitary. With all the hotels on the west side, there won’t be many outsiders to stifle your style. It’s a fairly secluded location, so bring some company and end the day with a covert picnic while taking in some picture-perfect scenery that is almost as good as heaven.
- Visit Misali Island.
It is possible to arrange a boat from Wesha to Misali, but it is simpler to book excursions through hotels or travel companies. The entire west coast of Pemba is covered by this region of the island, which is a part of the Pemba Conservation Area. The entrance fee is required of all divers, snorkelers, and beachgoers here, but it is more than worth it.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be surrounded by clear waters and gorgeous coral reefs. Misali offers some of the best diving in East Africa, and the beach is a great place to go snorkeling. On the western side of the island, there are beaches where nesting turtles can be seen.
- Kidike Flying Fox Sanctuary
About 2 kilometers to the east of the new main road connecting Chake-Chake and Wete, Kidike is located close to the village of Kangagani. The Pemba flying fox, or popo in Swahili, is a large bat that is native to Pemba, and it has a spectacular colony there, which is the highlight of the Kidike Sanctuary’s wildlife population.
- Ngezi Forest Reserve
The dense and gorgeously lush Ngezi is one of the last remaining areas of the indigenous forest that once covered much of the island and is as close to the rainforest as you’ll find anywhere in the region if you travel to the far north-eastern side of Pemba. A 1476-hectare reserve guards this sanctuary, and the forest is filled with vines that the raucous vervet monkeys use as swings.
You are welcome to explore the two nature trails that wind through the forest and allow for off-trail walking, but please note that every visit requires a naturalist guide. While the designated birdwatching and bat-watching walks, as well as the night walks to see bushbabies and for serious birdwatchers to spot the endemic Pemba scops-owl, are for bird enthusiasts, they offer a treat by taking an easier route.
- Pemba Channel Conservation Area
There is a small entrance fee for divers and snorkelers to enter this area, which is typically covered if organized by a tour operator, but once you see these gorgeous beaches and clear waters, you’ll quickly forget about that.
Be cautious when entering the conservation area because the Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA) officially protects the entire west coast of Pemba’s waters and islets. The goal of the conversation area is to benefit locals, wildlife, and the environment.
ACTIVITIES ON PEMBA ISLAND: FOR THE SITE SEER ON PEMBA ISLAND
- Dive Into The History of The Island At The Pemba Museum
Visit the Pemba Museum for a few hours to learn more about the past of Pemba Island. This little museum has interesting exhibits on the history of the island. The museum fills an Omani fort from the 18th century, which might have been constructed on the foundation of a Portuguese garrison from the 16th century. If you intend to visit the ruins at locations like Ras Mkumbuu, it is advised that you visit the museum to get a better understanding and context for the area.
- Chwaka Ruins
Take the main road between Konde and Chake-Chake, which follows the east coast, and turn east onto a dirt road about 3 kilometers south of Tumbe to get to the ruins. The Chwaka Ruins are made up of two distinct sites: the Mazrui Tombs, which date back to the 17th century, and the main Haruni Site, which contains the ruins of a town that was in existence from the 11th to the 15th century.
When you’re finished with your trip into the past, the area also makes a lovely spot for a walk through the fields on a patch of high ground with views over the bay. The ruins are very popular with historians and site-seekers.
- Check out the views from Ras Kigomasha Lighthouse.
This lighthouse, which is still being actively maintained by its keeper, was built by the British in 1900 and is situated on the headland of Ras at the very northern tip of the Kigomasha Peninsula. For stunning views of the sea and back across the island, climb the staircase and work up a sweat.
- Take a trip through time with a visit to the ruins in Chake-Chake.
From Chake-Chake, you must travel south for about 10 kilometers to reach Ras Mkumbuu. When you arrive at the headland at the end of the thin strip of land jutting into the sea to the northwest of Chake-Chake, Ras Mkumbuu will greet you. It is also the name given to the remains of a long-gone civilization from the eighth century, known as Qanbalu, which by the early tenth century had grown to be one of the most important cities along the East African coast. The main remains, which include a sizable mosque, a few tombs, and some houses, date from the 14th century.
- Mkame Ndume Ruins
The ruins are 10 kilometers southeast of Chake-Chake, close to Pujini village. You can take a taxi, a Dala-dala bus, or rent a bike to get there. The route will then take you to Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman’s ruined palace, which is a moving location. Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman ruled Pemba from the late 15th to the early 16th centuries before the Portuguese arrived.
Rahman was referred to as Mkame Ndume (Milker of Men) and had a history of cruelty. The main attraction of the ruins today is a sizable stone staircase that leads from the site’s kilometer-long channel to the ocean.
- Spice Farm and Rainforest Tour
The Pemba region of Zanzibar is where 70% of the world’s cloves are grown, earning it the nickname “spice islands.” You can discover Pemba Island’s authentic flavors and aromas by going to the spice farm. The next activity is a 45-minute walk through the Ngezi Rainforest. The forest ranger will also point out all the protected fauna and flora in this protected reserve, which is home to endemic bird species, vervet and black colobus monkeys, and other primates.