Both Zanzibar (formally known as Unguja) and Pemba are part of the Zanzibar archipelago, with Pemba lying less than 50km north (141 km by air, airport to airport) of Zanzibar. The 2 islands are the archipelago’s largest at around 400 sq miles each – not big at all.
Zanzibar has been bringing people to the beach long before tropical vacations were in vogue. It began as an old trading port in East Africa and, therefore, offers a “melting pot” of all kinds of enchanting history and traditions. It also boasts the perfect ingredients for a beautiful beach holiday; there are endless beaches to visit with gorgeous, crystal clear waters. As hotels with roof terraces are many, it is possible as well to look out over the expansive beauty of the region from one’s roof top.
Is Zanzibar for Me?
Traveling to Zanzibar is the easiest trip of all to any of the islands. It is a very short flight from Dar Es Salaam. If you are not into spending a lot of time relaxing or swimming on the beach, there are a multitude of other things to do including wandering down the old streets, looking in the shops there for treasures and going out sailing. There are many things you can do here on any budget.
As Zanzibar is very popular, it may seem bustling at times. It is important to know when you are planning your trip. With some self-education, one can plan a trip so that it is possible to include all the scope of your true desires. There are many locations that allow one to relax, enjoy and “take in” the quiet and the beauty of the location.
Pemba Island, a Quieter Choice:
Pemba Island is small, however, a bit more “natural” than Zanzibar. As it is far less developed and an additional ‘hop over the water’ many travelers tend to choose the closer and busier island. Because of this tendency, Pemba Island will be quieter and more private when one chooses what venues or beaches he/she would enjoy traveling to around the island. It will be less busy and ensure that there is more to see without the crowds than if one was heading into the busy city of Stone Town. There are also only a few lodges on the island which ensures a more relaxed and laidback experience. And, the many small, quiet and ancient fishing towns are wonderful for taking in the beauty of the area. The beaches are quiet and undisturbed, and the island is filled with spice, coconut and banana plantations.
Ready to cool off.
Pemba is not Zanzibar; it is simpler and more rustic. One will not find all the beautiful and ornate presentation that is on Zanzibar. Known as the ‘Green Island’ for its natural beauty, Pemba is 100% about nature, beaches, coral gardens, walks and relaxation in paradise.
Choosing between Pemba and Zanzibar is a difficult choice. If time isn’t an issue, consider both!