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About 80 kilometers northeast of Zanzibar Island, Pemba is quiet and undeveloped.

It is smaller than Zanzibar Island and has a gentle hilly landscape. It is also more densely vegetated than Zanzibar and has always been seen as a more fertile place. The early Arab sailors called it 'El Huthera', meaning 'The Green'. Today, more cloves are grown here than on Zanzibar Island.

Local culture of Pemba Island

Traveling across Pemba you are immediately struck by the number of rural farming and fishing villages. At harvest time, great swathes of cloves lie drying in the sun and filling the air with their scent. Mangoes in piles over six feet high wait by the roadsides to be trucked to the port at Mkoani and then shipped over to the mainland. Emerald fields are dotted with women in bright kangas attending to crops whilst over the turquoise seas, wooden pirogues and dhows glide gently. It's a peaceful and relaxing island, full of exciting things to explore.


Pemba has very few lodges and nearly all of the beaches are deserted. Offshore, coral islands have sugar white sand and nesting turtles at night. The deep Pemba Channel is rich with coral reefs and offers some of the best diving in East Africa.

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Map of Pemba Island

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Pemba Island

    Accommodation choices for Pemba Island

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Pemba Island. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Pemba Island

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Pemba Island, and which use the best local guides.

    • Diving in Pemba
      Diving around Pemba

      Diving in Pemba

      Diving in Pemba

      A conservation area was set up around Misali Island in 1998 following El Niño which had a bleaching effect on corals elsewhere in the Indian Ocean. Misali retained its dense coral cover and coupled with its dramatic drop-off reefs have made it a fantastic location for diving.

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    • Dolphin Safari
      Dolphin, Pemba Island

      Dolphin Safari

      Dolphin Safari

      You leave Fundu at around 7.30am and head off in a speedboat to look for spinner and bottlenose dolphins. Spend some time with the dolphins and then return to Fundu for breakfast.

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