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An Insider’s Guide to Visiting Pemba!

An Insider’s Guide to Visiting Pemba!


The heavenly Pemba Island is the second biggest island of the Zanzibar archipelago and is one of the most breathtaking destinations that a travel lover can see in East Africa. The stunning island is remote and private, allowing tourists to enjoy a relaxing vacation away from the crowds. The tranquility and serenity enhances the scenic natural beauty of the isle. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the white sand, crystal clear water, blue sky, lush vegetation, and vivid greenery! Here’s an insider’s guide to Pemba Island for tourists who wish to visit for their vacation. 

  • Getting Around

Tourists can get a flight from Dar Es Salaam or Zanzibar to Pemba Airport or Katume Airport. They can also reach the island via ferry from Stone Town or Tanga. Once they arrive here, they can easily find taxis to get around. Those looking for cheaper options can choose dala dallas which are public minibuses. They are cheaper, and provide an authentic insight into the local lifestyle. Tourists can also rent bicycles to explore the island.

  • Interactions

The locals are generally very friendly, easygoing, and down to earth. Most people are happy to help tourists and will share their knowledge if asked. Interacting with them is a good idea as it can allow tourists to learn about the culture and heritage of the region. Visitors must be respectful to local customs and norms. As the region is predominantly muslim, guests must dress modestly, and avoid public displays of affection, or consumption of alcohol in public spaces. Visitors must not photograph locals without their permission. As tourism is important to the region, most people can speak English, However, it is a good idea to learn a few words of Swahili, which is the local language. Travellers should learn a few basic words and phrases, and carry a translator or phrasebook with important vocabulary! Phrases such as Assalamu Alaikum and Waalaikum Salam which mean “peace be upon you”, are commonly used greetings so visitors may learn them.

  • Where To Go

Pemba is home to a number of scenic locations that tourists should never miss. Chake Chake bay is the unofficial capital of the island. Tourists can visit the fish market to buy fresh seafood, or learn about history at the Old Fort and the walled city. Nature lovers can visit the lush green Ngezi Forest Reserve, which is home to different animals such as the Pemba flying fox (fruit bat), green pigeon, malachite kingfisher, palm nut vulture, colorful corals, African goshawk, crowned hornbill, Pemba Vervet monkeys, deep sea turtles, manta rays, Red Colobus monkeys, miniature antelopes, owls, and violet breasted sunbirds. Kigomasha Peninsula is perfect for a day trip as tourists can enjoy swimming and diving in the cool water. The cast iron Ras Kigomasha lighthouse, built in 1904, is a popular tourist spot. 

Travellers can also go to traditional villages, the Makangale, for cultural visits! Another wonderful must-see spot is the serene Vumawimbi Beach, an untouched stretch of white sand where tourists can relax in the sun, enjoy the sweet smelling air, or swim in the crystalline waters! Tourists can also visit the Ras Mkumbuu Ruins which date back to the 13th-14th Century and include an 11th century mosque, the old chief’s house and several graves.

  • What To Eat

Many visitors want to know what kind of food is available at Pemba. The local cuisine is delicious, and is influenced by Indian, Portugese, African, Arabic, and Swahili tastes. Tourists can enjoy foods such as biryani, spicy curry, date nut bread, spiced potatoes, kebabs, and fresh seafood such as tuna, prawns, lobster, shellfish, calamari, and octopus. The food is flavored with local spices such as pepper, cloves, cumin, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, coriander, fennel, and lemongrass.


  • Staying Safe

Safety tips are important for all travellers. During their trip, tourists must take precautions to stay safe. They must stay alert at all times and avoid travelling alone at night. The island is generally safe, and the crime rates are low. It is also important for tourists to stay safe from the coronavirus, so they should sanitize frequently, wear masks, and maintain safe distance in public. It is advisable not to travel if one is sick, or displaying symptoms.


A trip to Pemba Island can be life changing, and with this guide, tourists can have a safe, enriching, exciting, and fun-filled vacation at Pemba!