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Pemba Island – Snorkeling, Swimming, and Sailing Guide

Pemba Island is a beautiful and pristine island, distant from mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar and away from all the overcrowded prime locations that tourists tend to visit. The island is a magical place with many greenery, hills, swamps, mangroves, and secret beaches scattered across the island. The island also has many valleys where you can explore beautiful vegetation. Pemba Island is also an excellent destination for snorkeling, swimming, and sailing. Pemba Island is a well-kept secret. Even though it may not get that many tourists, the locals are very welcoming and hospitable.


If you want to go snorkeling in Pemba, you should plan your trip in August and September. These are the best months when the waters are clear, and you can explore the marine life. There are two fantastic snorkeling hidden spots on Pemba Island. However, knowing that Pemba Island is largely untouched by tourists and travelers, it may be difficult to find these two spots, especially with the tricky landscapes on the island. Furthermore, the roads are not as developed as in Zanzibar, so you might need to struggle to reach your destination. However, you will not regret coming to Pemba Island once you arrive.

Vumawimbi Beach will be easier to reach because of Pemba Island’s most famous beach, and locals will happily guide you in the right direction. The beach stretches to the Kigomasah Peninsula in the east and the Ngezi Forest to the north. The first hidden beach, perfect for snorkeling, is located in the northwest corner.

The second destination is Misali Island. Misali Island is inhabited and is remarkably beautiful. The waters are perfect for snorkeling. You can reach Misali Island through a boat ride from Vumawimbi Beach.

The more common and better-known locations for snorkeling on Pemba Island include:

  • The House Reef at the Manta Resort offers snorkeling expeditions in The Kwanini Conservation Area. The House Reef is 5 meters deep. You will come across octopuses, nudibranchs, squids, and many tropical fish.
  • Njao Gap is located in the north between Njao Island and Pemba Island. The water depth varies from point to point, ranging from 5 meters to 40 meters. The biodiversity at this point is extraordinary, with opportunities to see trevally, dogtooth tuna, napoleon wrasse, and green turtles.
  • Fundu Gap is another great place to go snorkeling. The Fundu Gap is between Fundu and Njao. Like the Njao Gap, the depth varies from 5 meters to 40 meters. You may even get to see eagle rays here.


The water conditions for swimming are ideal throughout the year, with the best months being July and August. Water temperatures vary from 25.5 degrees Celsius to 29.4 degrees Celcius.

However, you must pay attention to any warning signs before jumping into the water. Not all the places are safe for swimming. Some safe places you can visit for swimming include Uchozini beach and the Aiyana


Going on a dhow cruise tour is the perfect way to discover Pemba Island and its many surroundings. You can book a dhow from the port at Chake Chake, Pemba Island’s primary and most populous city. Furthermore, you will be relying on dhows to get to many places on the island. Some of the many places you can discover by sailing include:

  1. Misali Island
  2. Shamiani Island
  3. Mtambwe Mkuu
  4. Pujini Ruins


Pemba Island is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. It is also the perfect getaway adventure to explore with your significant other. Make the best of your trip by reading our Guide to Air Travel in Tanzania and learning more about the region.