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Pemba Island, Tanzania

Pemba Island, Tanzania

"Known as "the green island." This untouched and pristine gem offers an incredible and exclusive travel destination with tropical rainforests & sparkling blue oceans. Far away from the tourist crowds"

About Pemba Island

Pemba, often known in Arabic as the Green Island, is an island located north of Zanzibar. Pemba is a massive coral island that differs greatly from the flat sand islands of Zanzibar and Mafia.

Pemba has a lush, steep landscape that is teeming with life. Pemba is still relatively unknown to tourists, and if you want to experience an unspoiled island, Pemba is the one. Compared to Zanzibar, Pemba Island provides a more intimate and in-depth experience, allowing tourists to enjoy a private paradise holiday. An ideal destination for honeymooners and couples. 

Contact us for personalized guidance on integrating Pemba Island into your safari itinerary. Combine your stay an incredible safari on the main land or visiting one of Tanzania’s other islands: Zanzibar and Mafia Island. 

Pemba Island: Exclusive, Untouched Tranquility

The biggest draw of Pemba Island is definitely it’s exclusivity and authenticity. The island is largely undeveloped, especially if you compare it to some of Tanzania’s other islands; it is quiet and more remote. On the island, agriculture is still the main source of income. It is the perfect destination for travelers that are looking for a relaxing experience, away from all the tourism. Because of this, it’s often a great destination for honeymooners or couples that are looking for a exclusive and authentic holiday together. 

Ask us for a quote on one of our ready-made safaris or enquire about your tailor-made travel proposal.

What to do on Pemba Island?

Pristine Diving & Snorkeling Location

Pemba Island is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, where both the land and the sea are teeming with life. While its lush forests are home to captivating wildlife such as red colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and a variety of bird species, the underwater world surrounding the island is a treasure trove for divers, offering a plethora of diving sites that showcase the remarkable marine biodiversity of the region. 

Here, you can explore a variety of underwater landscapes, encounter fascinating fish species, and dive into the depths of the Indian Ocean. Whether you’re an avid snorkeler or a certified scuba diver, immerse yourself in the vibrant marine life surrounding Pemba Island. Dive into the coral reefs, discover hidden caves, and encounter these magnificent fish species that add to the allure of this tropical paradise.

Pemba's diving spots

Misali Island
Pemba Channel
Fundu Gap
Njao Gap
Shimba Reef

One of the highlights is the Misali Island Marine Conservation Area. This protected marine reserve is a haven for marine life, featuring stunning coral formations and an abundance of fish species. As you descend into the crystal-clear waters, you’ll be greeted by schools of vibrant fish, including the colorful butterflyfish, the sleek barracuda, and the curious angelfish.

For a unique diving experience, head to the Pemba Channel. Known for its deep drop-offs, this site attracts pelagic species that thrive in the open ocean. Keep an eye out for the majestic manta rays gliding through the water with their graceful movements. The Pemba Channel is also home to large schools of tuna, jacks, and snappers, creating a breathtaking spectacle for divers.

If you’re seeking encounters with larger marine creatures, the Fundu Gap is an ideal spot. This channel between the main island and the Fundu Peninsula is frequented by gentle giants such as whale sharks and humpback whales during their migratory seasons. Swimming alongside these magnificent creatures is an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of the ocean’s wonders.

Exploring the Njao Gap offers a different diving adventure, with its dramatic underwater topography and an array of marine life. Here, you’ll have the chance to witness the mesmerizing dance of the mobula rays. These majestic creatures gracefully glide through the water, performing their acrobatic leaps and flips, creating a spectacle that will leave you in awe..

Another notable diving location is the Shimba Reef, known for its rich biodiversity. As you descend into the depths, you’ll encounter a vibrant tapestry of corals and sponges but if you’re seeking encounters with larger marine species, head to the Manta Point dive site. As the name suggests, this is where you have the opportunity to encounter magnificent manta rays up close. These gentle giants, with their impressive wingspans, gracefully glide through the water, captivating divers with their elegance.

Other activities on Pemba Island

  • Snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Visit the Jambagome Ruins on a boat safari
  • Kayaking through the mangrove forest
  • Sunset cruise on Dhow Boat
  • Visit plantations (spices, vegetables & fruit)
  • Watersports activities
Explore some of our pre-assembled safari itineraries

Pemba Island information

Everything you need to know about Pemba Island
Best time to visit
Weather & Climate

The best time to visit Pemba Island is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. During these months, the weather is generally warm and sunny, with lower chances of rainfall. This makes it ideal for outdoor activities and exploring the island’s natural beauty.

The dry season also offers excellent conditions for diving and snorkeling, as the visibility in the crystal-clear waters is at its best. The calm seas make it easier to spot marine life and enjoy underwater adventures.

If you’re interested in experiencing Pemba Island’s cultural events and festivals, such as the Mwaka Kogwa festival celebrated in July, or the annual harvest festivals in August and September, planning your visit during these months would be a great choice.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Pemba Island depends on your preferences and interests. Whether you’re seeking sunny beach days, thrilling water activities, or cultural immersion, Pemba Island has something to offer year-round.

Pemba Island enjoys a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year. The island experiences two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season.

The dry season in Pemba Island typically occurs from June to October. During this period, you can expect warm and sunny weather with little rainfall. The average temperatures range from 25°C (77°F) to 30°C (86°F), making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and exploration.

The wet season in Pemba Island usually takes place from November to May. This season brings higher humidity and increased rainfall. The showers are often short-lived and followed by sunny spells, but it’s advisable to be prepared for occasional heavy downpours. The temperatures during the wet season remain warm, ranging from 25°C (77°F) to 28°C (82°F).

The ocean waters surrounding Pemba Island remain warm and inviting throughout the year, ranging from 25°C (77°F) to 29°C (84°F). This makes it a great destination for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, regardless of the season.

Overall, Pemba Island’s climate offers pleasant and favorable conditions for travelers seeking a tropical getaway. Whether you visit during the dry season or the wet season, you’re sure to be captivated by the island’s natural beauty and warm hospitality.

Pemba Island Map

Accommodation on Pemba Island

Discover the broad variaty of stunning accommodations on the tropical island

Pemba is largely undiscovered by tourists. In the area, you can find a few hotels, including high-end options such as The Manta Resort. This resort is situated at the far northern tip of Pemba, near the Ngezi Forest and beautiful beaches. Another noteworthy choice is the magnificent Sharook Guest House, located in Wete, offering breathtaking views, particularly at sunset. The setting of this guest house combines the charm of a town with the allure of the jungle. For a mid-range option, consider Pemba Lodge, an ecologically built and managed lodge situated in Shamiani, the southern region of Pemba.

FAQ - Pemba Island

What diving Licence to I need to travel to Pemba Island?

Luckily, you do not need a diving license to enjoy yourself on Pemba Island. There are many beautiful and shallow spots accessible by snorkeling. If you prefer to go a bit deeper, you can try a dive without a diving license under the guidance of an instructor.

However, if you want to explore the various walls around Pemba Island starting at 5 meters and going down to 18 meters, you need a minimum open water certification. To truly make the most of the underwater world around Pemba, you need an advanced diver’s certificate, as there are many beautiful sights to explore at depths ranging from 5 meters to 40 meters. Pemba Island offers sheer walls, underwater mountains, and beautiful corals.

Do I need to bring cash and is there an ATM option?

It is critical to keep adequate money on hand for daily needs including meals, transportation, and activities. ATMs are present however they may occasionally fail or there may be a temporary cash shortage. 

How to do get to and get around on Pemba Island?

To reach Pemba Island, most travelers typically fly into Dar es Salaam, which is the main international airport in Tanzania. From there, you can take a flight to Pemba Island. The flight duration is around 30-45 minutes.

Getting around Pemba Island is fairly easy, it is not a large island and there are a few transportation options to help you explore its beauty.

One way to get around is by hiring a taxi. Taxis are readily available and can take you to different destinations on the island. Just flag one down or ask your hotel to arrange a taxi for you. It’s important to agree on the price before getting in, so you know how much you’ll be charged for the ride.

If you prefer a more adventurous and flexible option, you can rent a bicycle or a motorbike. This allows you to explore at your own pace. Keep in mind that some areas may have rough roads, so be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Another popular mode of transportation on Pemba Island is the dhow, a traditional sailing boat. Dhows can take you to nearby islands or along the coastline, providing a scenic and authentic experience. You can negotiate with local boat operators for a trip or join organized tours.

For shorter distances within towns or villages, you can simply walk. Pemba Island has streets and paths that are perfect for leisurely strolls.

What language do they speak on Pemba Island?

In Pemba, the languages spoken are Kiswahili and English. The English spoken on Pemba is very basic.

What is the religion on Pemba?

The dominant religion on Pemba Island is Islam.

Fun Fact

For decades, Pemba Island has remained isolated from the rest of Tanzania and Zanzibar, preserving its unspoiled and pristine state.

Can you imagine yourself on Pemba Island yet?

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