Zanzibar Archipelago is a semi-autonomous state in Tanzania, Africa. Thirty miles North-East away from the touristic island of Zanzibar Unguja, you will find the isolated and rural island of Pemba. Unlike its sister island Unguja, which is very popular with tourists, Pemba has remained very authentic, practically ignored and preserved from the rest of the world. On Pemba Island, Mother Nature has reclaimed her rights and her kingdom remains untouched and unlimited. She rules every inch of the island. This generates an amazing amount of energy and creates a very warm and smooth atmosphere.
You will be amazed by the light around here, by all the shades of green and blue reunited in this place.
Whether underwater or on land, the diversity of flora and fauna is incredible, much to the delight of both divers and hikers.
This blue and green island is an adventure on itself, whether you're ready to explore the very much alive seabed of the Indian Ocean or to walk on unspoiled white sand beaches. You can also sail into the vibrant mangrove and discover a rich and bright culture. Pemba is a paradise for everyone looking for inner calm and peace. This place has something magical and very unique. This kind of magic will offer you something that goes beyond your expectations. By exploring Pemba, you will get out of your comfort zone and discover a lot more about yourself.
Now, a question has popped into your mind: How do I get to this paradise?
Many airlines fly directly from Europe or the Middle East to the capital of Zanzibar. Once you are in Stone Town, you have two options to reach Pemba Island:
You can embark on a domestic flight. A lovely small plane will fly you to Chake Chake, Pemba's capital, in only 20 minutes.
Several airlines, such as AS SALAAM AIR, AURIC AIR, or COSTAL, are available. The price can vary, but for non-residents AS SALAAM AIR is the cheapest alternative (around $70 for a one-way ticket).
You can also take a ferry boat from Stone town Port, through AZAM ferry. This big boat will take you to Mkoani sea port, Pemba east-south (around $35 for a one-way ticket). Be prepared for a six-hour trip, during which you might enjoy the nice ocean view, the chill atmosphere and the company of friendly locals.
A fast ferry is also available from Stone town, through FAST ZAN ferry (around $45 for a one-way ticket) and you will reach the second port in Pemba, Wete, within 7 hours.
Kiswahili is the official national language in Tanzania. It is a very poetic language, a true linguistic jewel! In Pemba, the languages spoken are Kiswahili and English. The English spoken on Pemba is very basic, but don’t worry, you will have the chance to learn Kiswahili with the locals! They love teaching their beautiful language to tourists. Besides, Kiswahili is said to be the easiest African language for an English speaker to learn. ASANTE SANA.
Pemba has a population of 406.808. Children literally rule the island. With a mix between excitement and curiosity, they are always eager to meet, interact and play with tourists. This amount of bubbly energy will warm your heart and make you smile.
The size of the island is 428 km². This is a tiny island and you can drive from North to South in about 2 hours.
Chake Chake is the capital of Pemba and its biggest city. The local currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. The exchange rate is US 1$ = 2250tsh.
You can find two ATMs in Chake Chake, but always bring some shillings from Unguja with you. You cannot pay with credit cards anywhere except at the hotel.
Islam is the largest religion in the Zanzibar archipelago, but all cultures and religions are welcome here. In Pemba, it is all about respect, and the locals are delighted to discover new cultures. MUZUNGU!
There are various means of transport available on the island.
Afro Divers can organize all your transfers from the airport or the seaport to your hotels or to the diving centre. We will send you a taxi which will take you to your final destination.
Afro Divers can also provide a car rental service or you can use cheap local transportation, such as DALA DALA (local bus), or BODA BODA (motorbike taxi accompanied by a local).
Afro Divers is located north-west of Pemba, near Makangale village and Verani’s beach.
It is an hour and a half drive from Chake Chake to Afro Divers. You will be travelling on a wonderful road and will discover new shades of green you have never seen before. You will cross astonishing landscapes which will make you love Pemba right away. The diversity of the flora is extraordinary and its green energy will hit you. You can stop for a few minutes to enjoy the landscape and breathe in the fresh air.
You will need to pass Konde, the second biggest town on Pemba, with its great fruits, vegetables and fish market. Then you will have to enter the incredible tropical Ngezi forest. This road is definitely unforgettable.
Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple, as a family, with friends and whatever your budget is, you will find your place on Pemba. You don’t need a lot of money to travel around this island. The locals do not own in quantity, but rather in quality. They do not own a lot of material things, but what they own is more valuable. The word “own” doesn't really matter here, it's more about what people have to offer to each other, to their family, to their friends, to their neighbours or to you. What matters in Pemba is to live in a stable, peaceful and healthy way, all together. People here have a huge heart, and they are always ready to share everything. That’s why inequality isn’t such a big issue here as everybody knows how to live together, in perfect harmony.
The perception of time is very unique here. Different hours of the day are not related to the clock, but to something bigger than us.
The life here is connected to Mother Nature. We are living for her, and with her. The sunlight, the strong power of the tide, the singing of the birds or the strength of the sun. When you live on Pemba, you are totally disconnected from time as you know it. After a few moments here, you will stop chasing and running after the clock. We can take our time, embrace time, breath, live, enjoy, progress and learn. The harmony glows everywhere and gives to this place a very powerful energy. This energy will impact you and it will make you stronger. You will definitely gain something here. The smiles and the kindness of the locals, the power of nature and the energy are very contagious, and after a few days, you will feel richer than before you arrived. The perception of yourself will change, the perception of your own ability and capacities will grow. This island will make you feel different.
And maybe, if you are lucky and you go deep enough, you will finally find in there the most important thing in the world: yourself.