Pemba

About Pemba

The island of Pemba, also known as ‘Al Jazeera Al Khaddar’ (the green island – in Arabic), is an island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago, lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is situated about 50 kilometers to the north of the Unguja (the island proper of Zanzibar). In 1964 Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. Pemba lies 50 kilometers east of mainland Tanzania.

The most important towns in Pemba are ChakeChake (the capital), Mkoani, and Wete, being the largest city. The centrally located Chake-Chake is perched on a hill with a view to the west on a bay and the tiny Misali island where the tides determine when a dhow

can enter the local harbour. Pemba is, with the exception of a strip of land along its east coast, a very fertile place: beside clove trees, the locals grow mainly rice, coconut, bananas¸ cassava and red beans called maharagwe in Swahili.

Together with Mafia Island (south of Zanzibar), these three islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). In 1988, the estimated population was 265,000, with an area of 980 km². Most of the island, which is hillier and more fertile than Zanzibar, is dominated by small scale farming. There is large scale farming of cash crops such as cloves — there are over 3 million clove trees on the island.

There is a quite large Arab community on the island who emigrated from Oman. The population is a mix of Arab and original Waswahili inhabitants of the island. A significant portion of the population also identifies itself as Shiraz people.

For those travelers who find Zanzibar too crowded, Pemba is the right island to go to. Accommodation is limited to just a few small guest house style accommodations and very nice lodges right on the beach

Pemba is also becoming well-known for its dive sites, with steep drop-offs, untouched coral and a very abundant marine life.

What to do on Pemba?

Also well worth visiting are the Pujini Ruins situated south-east of Chake Chake, Pemba’s largest town. These overgrown ruins are the remains of a 13th century Swahili town ruled by a despotic king. Opposite the Pujini Ruins you will find the well-preserved ruins of Ras Mkumbuu, which are located at the tip of the long peninsula.

Don’t miss out on Pemba’s natural wonders, such as the Ngezi Forest in the north, a protected rain forest which is home to an endemic species of bats, known as the Pemba flying fox. Another gem just off the western shore of Pemba is Misali Island. Together with its surrounding reef it has been incorporated into the Misali Island Conservation Area and is world-famous for its beautiful corals and beaches. Furthermore, the conservation area is a breeding site for green and hawks bill turtles.

Pemba Island

About Pemba

The island of Pemba, also known as ‘Al Jazeera Al Khaddar’ (the green island – in Arabic), is an island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago, lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is situated about 50 kilometers to the north of the Unguja (the island proper of Zanzibar). In 1964 Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. Pemba lies 50 kilometers east of mainland Tanzania.

The most important towns in Pemba are ChakeChake (the capital), Mkoani, and Wete, being the largest city. The centrally located Chake-Chake is perched on a hill with a view to the west on a bay and the tiny Misali island where the tides determine when a dhow can enter the local harbour. Pemba is, with the exception of a strip of land along its east coast, a very fertile place: beside clove trees, the locals grow mainly rice, coconut, bananas¸ cassava and red beans called maharagwe in Swahili.

Together with Mafia Island (south of Zanzibar), these three islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). In 1988, the estimated population was 265,000, with an area of 980 km². Most of the island, which is hillier and more fertile than Zanzibar, is dominated by small scale farming. There is large scale farming of cash crops such as cloves — there are over 3 million clove trees on the island.

There is a quite large Arab community on the island who emigrated from Oman. The population is a mix of Arab and original Waswahili inhabitants of the island. A significant portion of the population also identifies itself as Shiraz people.

For those travelers who find Zanzibar too crowded, Pemba is the right island to go to. Accommodation is limited to just a few small guest house style accommodations and very nice lodges right on the beach

Pemba is also becoming well-known for its dive sites, with steep drop-offs, untouched coral and a very abundant marine life.

What to do on Pemba?

Also well worth visiting are the Pujini Ruins situated south-east of Chake Chake, Pemba’s largest town. These overgrown ruins are the remains of a 13th century Swahili town ruled by a despotic king. Opposite the Pujini Ruins you will find the well-preserved ruins of Ras Mkumbuu, which are located at the tip of the long peninsula.

Don’t miss out on Pemba’s natural wonders, such as the Ngezi Forest in the north, a protected rain forest which is home to an endemic species of bats, known as the Pemba flying fox. Another gem just off the western shore of Pemba is Misali Island. Together with its surrounding reef it has been incorporated into the Misali Island Conservation Area and is world-famous for its beautiful corals and beaches. Furthermore, the conservation area is a breeding site for green and hawks bill turtles.