Reasons to Visit Pemba Island
Located in the beautiful Indian Ocean off the east coast of Africa and 50km east of Tanzania, Pemba Island is the northernmost island of the archipelago. Unlike its sister islands, however, Pemba has an incredibly fertile landscape and hilly terrain, which explains its success with harvesting everything from clove to coconut and mango. With a history steeped in mystery and intrigue, this breathtaking island has somehow managed to escape the heavy tourism that others in the area are prone to, making it refreshingly uncrowded and delightfully unique. While there are plenty of reasons to visit Pemba Island, here are five of the most compelling.
The Diving and Snorkeling
Surrounded by luscious tropical waters and with a terrain that features breathtaking drop-offs, it’s no surprise that Pemba Island is the perfect destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. There are multiple dive sites throughout the island that vary in difficulty, from simple to challenging. Certified divers even have the opportunity to upgrade their specialty dives, such as drift diving. Those who enjoy snorkeling will delight in the untouched coral reef and abundant tropical fish species that are found off the shores of Pemba.
The Big Game Fishing
If fishing is your pleasure, then the waters off of Pemba Island are your playground. With species like Billfish, tuna, king fish, barracuda, Dorado, large wahoo, giant trevally and a number of good sized sharks, including mako, tiger and hammerhead, all making their homes in the surrounding waters you’re poised to make the catch of a lifetime. In fact, there have been recent catches of giant trevally that have broken records. During peak seasons, many of the fish make their way right up to the coast line making a fishing expedition off the shores of Pemba an exhilarating addition to an already fantastic trip.
The Incredible Sand Banks
While the entire island of Pemba is breathtakingly beautiful, the scene at low tide is nothing short of amazing. As the waters recede, large white sand banks begin to appear and seem to stretch on for miles. Walk along the sandy stretches and enjoy the brilliant blue waters that surround you, or grab your snorkeling gear and see what incredible underwater discoveries there are to be made. You can even enjoy a delicious island meal on one of the sandy banks. It’s certainly something to experience!
Shopping and Dining
One of the greatest things about a visit to Pemba Island is meeting the friendly and unique people who call it home. Many of them set up shop in street markets which offer a variety of hand-crafted treasures, from paintings to Kangas (colorful wraps) and Kitenges (traditional sarongs) and even some of the delectable spices used in preparing the delicious island cuisine. And speaking of cuisine, the local dishes made of fresh seafood are absolutely mouth-watering. Shop, eat and get to know the friendly locals for a truly authentic island experience.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of Pemba Island is the fact that it remains so untouched by the outside world. In fact, it receives less than 1% of the visitor traffic its neighboring islands experience. Pemba Island boasts a refreshing, albeit unusual lack of infrastructure and facilities and transportation is limited to the public bus service and a small number of taxis and private cars. The fewer visitors mean its landscape and beaches have escaped exploitation and provide a fantastic authentic island experience without the hustle and bustle of touristy destinations.
Pristine, uncrowded beaches? Check. Endless water sports? Check. Divine dining and exceptional shopping? Check. Unique and breathtakingly beautiful landscape? Check. That’s Pemba Island in a nutshell. There’s simply no better place to relax, unwind and experience the allure of the islands. What are you waiting for?