Pemba Island – Tropical African Island Perfection

07 Jun 2024

If you are looking for tropical perfection, Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania offers a lush green oasis with an underwater world that makes for some of the world’s best diving and snorkelling. The undulating hills of the island are covered in coconut, mango, and other fruit plantations and with powder soft beaches and secret coves the island’s beauty is unparalleled. Pemba is still vastly undiscovered by tourists and with only a handful of places to stay, this spectacular hidden gem offers visitors a tranquil and secluded slice of paradise.

Pemba Island

Where is Pemba Island

Pemba is a Tanzanian island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, lying within the Swahili Coast in the Indian Ocean. Pemba is an Arabic name that translates to the ‘Green Island,’ which is an apt moniker because although it forms part of the Zanzibar Archipelago the island is quite different from its neighbouring islands. Instead of the typical palm-fringed beaches and azure waters, you’ll find a lush seaside escape set against thickly vegetated hills. The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of four major islands and numerous other small islands and tiny islets, the biggest being Unguja and Pemba, along with Mafia Island forming Tanzania’s 'Spice Islands'.

Things to see and do on Pemba Island

There is plenty to do if you would like to explore all that Pemba Island has to offer, whether you are spending long lazy days worshipping the sun, enjoying a family picnic, or taking a romantic stroll at sunset, the beaches on Pemba are a delight to experience. Pemba's dive sites range from shallow coral gardens to dramatic drop-offs which means that diving and snorkelling the crystal-clear waters surrounding Pemba Island offer an underwater adventure like no other where you can expect to encounter, colourful fish of all sizes, majestic sea turtles, and the occasional manta ray. The island is a sanctuary for nature lovers, with guided forest tours through winding trails amidst towering trees and vibrant wildlife, and if you are looking to explore by bike, there are biking routes that will take you through villages, forests, and along the coast. Kayaking the mangroves is also popular choice If you are craving a bit of action, and dolphin safaris to inspire and engage all your senses. No stay on Pemba is complete without visiting its capital, Chake Chake Town where you will discover a mix of local markets, historical sites, glimpses of everyday island life and the warm hospitality of its people. The island's warm and vibrant culture is a treasure to experience, visiting the local spice farms and festivals are an absolute must, as you connect with the friendly islanders who are always keen to share their stories and traditions.

Typical Pemba Island activities include guided excursions, picnics, cycling adventures, scuba diving, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing, fishing, and windsurfing.

Getting to Pemba Island

There are two ways to reach Pemba: by air or water.

Water: If you prefer the scenic route and have time to enjoy the open water, you can take a ferry to Pemba. It takes around 5 hours and arrives in Pemba’s capital, Chake Chake Town.

Air: If you can’t bear the anticipation and want to get to your holiday destination as soon as you can, then flying to Pemba is the best option. You can get to Pemba from any major airport in Tanzania in as little as 15 minutes!

Best time to visit Pemba Island

With sugar soft sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, the beaches on Pemba Island are exquisite year-round, but the best time to visit is during the dry season, from July to the end of April. The weather during this time can only be described as the perfect combination of mild and sunny, with clear and calm sparkling waters.

Where to stay on Pemba Island

While the biggest island Unguja (also known as Zanzibar) has 150+ hotels, Pemba has only a handful and they are utterly fantastic. Our top three recommendations are:

Manta Resort

Known for offering a unique blend of privacy, romance, adventure, and world-class diving the Manta Resort is situated on an idyllic stretch of powder white sand with opulent island-style rooms, dotted throughout the resort’s lush gardens with spectacular sea views. Rooms are traditional in style with thatched roofs, tiled floors and antique furniture offering a truly luxurious stay in an exclusive East African island sanctuary.

Billed as one of the most stunning hotel rooms in the world, the Manta Resort’s underwater room might be pricey, but the experience is truly priceless and worth every penny. In fact this underwater sea room should be on everyone’s bucket list! Comprised of three levels, this floating structure features a top floor where you’ll spend your days on comfy daybeds lazing in the sun or stargazing at night, with a lounge and bathroom clad in local hardwood underneath. Below sea level is the submariner bedroom, where you’ll find yourself encapsulated in an incredible turquoise blue bubble watching shoals of colourful reef fish glide past.

Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon is a small, private hotel located on a beautiful mangrove fringed beach on the southwestern shores of Pemba Island, situated where jungle meets the ocean and is only accessible by boat. The hotel has a range of twelve private hillside and beachfront suites as well as wonderful communal spaces that include four bars, a jetty, fusion spa, a stunning infinity pool, five-star dive facilities and a spacious open sided restaurant serving a wide range of delicious cuisine. The resort layout makes the most of the natural environment to give each room a sense of privacy alongside stunning ocean views. All of Fundu's rooms have their own terraces furnished with sun loungers while suites have private plunge pools, chill out areas and wide decking.

The Aiyana

Aiyana boasts 30 secluded luxury-style villas, each set on a beautiful beach with picturesque panoramas of the Indian Ocean. Picture whitewashed walls with beach chic interiors, carefully positioned driftwood and pops of colour coming from the soft furnishings. With a sparkling pool and a pampering full-service spa this tropical beach retreat has been carefully crafted to provide a sense of indulgence, comfort, and escapism.

If you are craving barefoot beach luxury on the African shores of the Indian Ocean, Pemba beckons with the opportunity for you to relax, unwind and discover the many delights of the island. From your first step onto this enchanting island, you’ll find yourself captivated by its unique blend of culture, nature, and adventure. If you are looking for a truly authentic and unforgettable tropical escape Pemba is just waiting to be explored. Contact us today and we’ll create a bespoke itinerary that exceeds your wildest African island dreams.

Call UK 01233 80 27 27 or visit our website


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