Once occupied by the Sultan of Muscat in the 17th century the Arabs called it ‘Pemba’ meaning Green Island, and as Zanzibar’s more undiscovered sister in its archipelago it has remained pleasingly unspoilt with an abundance of greenery, fertile lands for growing cloves and diving sites rich with corals and marine life.
Just 50 kilometres north of Zanzibar and one of the three ‘Spice Islands’, Pemba is considered to have more of an island profile than its siblings with lush rolling hills covered in dense forests, creeks coursing through steep green valleys, mangrove-knotted shores and beautiful flour-white beaches.
Largely off the beaten track, Pemba is an authentic Swahili experience and where villagers are sometimes still taken by the sight of a visitor.
When to go
Zanzibar is year-round destination with an average monthly temperature of 30°c (86°f).
What to do
- Very good diving in Pemba thanks to deep drop-offs
- Traditional boat trips
- Fishing trips
- Watersports (kitesurfing, windsurfing)
- Visit ancient ruins dating to the 14th and 15th centuries
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Accommodation in Pemba Island
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