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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. Mangos in piles over 6 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.

Diving

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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Audley Travel Specialist Tom

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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.

    • Fundu Lagoon, Pemba Island

      Fundu Lagoon

      Deluxe

      This beautiful beachfront property has a charming ‘shabby-chic’ style and a secluded location that’s only accessible by boat. While peaceful relaxation is a given here, there are also plenty of activities on offer that make the most of the coastal location.

    • Manta Resort, Pemba Island

      Manta Resort

      Medium

      The Manta Resort is a stylish, 20 bedroom property located on the northern tip of Pemba Island. It includes a spa, pool area and beach bar.

    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.

    • Dolphin, Pemba Island

      Dolphin Safari

      Pemba Island

      You leave Fundu at around seven thirty and head off in a speed boat to look for spinner and bottlenose dolphins you spend some time with the dolphins and then return to Fundu for breakfast.

    • Diving around Pemba

      Diving in Pemba

      Pemba Island

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