Pemba is best described as a sleepy backwater that experiences only one percent of the tourism traffic of Zanzibar. The island has been separated from the mainland Tanzania and Unguja for decades, leaving it an untouched and pristine area of great beauty and fertility. The mosaic of forests, swamps, mangroves, hidden beaches and lagoons is scattered with the ruins of mosques and tombs mostly reclaimed by the forest – sites that date back to Arab domination when the island was seized by the Sultan of Muscat in the 17th century.
Whilst the Island is surely a place of untouched beauty, it is certainly not for those who are looking for constant adventure or the hustle and bustle of city life. But for snorkelling and scuba diving enthusiasts, the island offers the most breathtaking, uncrowded and un-spoiled reefs imaginable. The untouched coral reefs surrounding the entire island make Pemba one of the top diving sites in the World, with water temperature averaging at 26ºC and the best visibility in East Africa. The area is best known for its big pelagic dives, huge drop-offs and strong drift currents, as well as its dolphins, turtles, mantas, sharks and whales.
The small island is renowned for hosting some of the best luxury beach resorts and exclusive lodges in Zanzibar. From the stunning, secluded lagoon of Pemba Eco Lodge to the luxurious Underwater Room at Manta Resort, Pemba aims to please even the most discerning travellers.
Pemba’s inhabitants are predominantly Muslim. It has a culture that is even more traditional than mainland Zanzibar and as the island receives far less visitors, it sees much less of the outside world. Thus, tourists are asked to please respect the local culture by covering up one’s legs (either with trousers, a sarong or a long skirt) and shoulders (either with a shirt, drape or shawl).