The Difference between Pemba & Zanzibar Islands
Most tourists after their arduous safari journeys or trekking Mount Kilimanjaro feel the need to rest and relax before proceeding further. The best options in Tanzania are Zanzibar and Pemba islands. They are considered to be the best and each of them has their advantages. If you have a hard time deciding then read on, as you will be able to decide which island to go to.
Zanzibar is about 15 minutes flight (2 hrs by ferry) from Dar es Salaam, with Pemba a similar distance from Zanzibar.
Zanzibar is the most famous island in Tanzania. It is actually an archipelago; a group of islands and it is semi-autonomously governed. The main island is known as Zanzibar, the official name is Unguja, and is easily accessible from Dar es Salaam and other places. You can also get cheap flights from Zanzibar Island to Pemba Island too.
Zanzibar is one of the oldest trading ports in East Africa. It is a leading spice route as well as the route where slaves used to be shipped. In fact, Prison Island near Zanzibar is the place where slaves used to be stationed before being shipped onward. It is in ruins now, but you can visit it and watch giant tortoises there as it is a natural reserve now. Stone Town is the leading town in Zanzibar and you can take a tour of the town and admire the architecture there. Also, you can take a spice tour. The spice tour is world famous and you will be taken around by trained guides who will show you how the spices are harvested, and you will also be treated to dishes made using those spices.
The world-famous The Rock restaurant is also in Zanzibar. The restaurant located on a rock in the off the shore in the ocean can be accessed by foot during low tide and by boat during high tide. The food is also wonderful. Zanzibar is also a premier snorkeling destination and many great snorkelers visit the place to snorkel. There are islands nearby that are renowned for kite surfing. If you like to kite surf then you will love Zanzibar. You can also travel on the dhows and view the sunset too.
As Pemba is more remote than Zanzibar, it is less developed for tourism. This is one of the best islands in Tanzania. It is around 75 kilometres from Zanzibar. The island is also known as El Huthera by Omani sailors. It means green as the island is emerald green in colour. It is entirely unspoilt, and visitors just love it. The white sands of the beach and the turquoise waters are enchanting.
Scuba diving and snorkelling are famous here. Scuba divers from around the world visit Pemba Island to dive and watch the marine life that abounds among the corals here. Snorkelers around the world also love to snorkel here. If you are a beginner to snorkeling or scuba diving you can learn here as there are places for beginners to learn here.
In short, both the islands are great for rest and recuperation. It all depends on your choice, you can visit both too if you have the time.