Welcome to Pemba Island
The small and unspoilt Tanzanian island of Pemba is becoming a
popular alternative for visitors seeking a quieter, less developed
alternative to Zanzibar, located approximately 31 miles (50km) to
the south. Pemba is known as
Al Jazeera Al Khadra(the green island), and is
one of several islands that make up the Zanzibar archipelago. The
island trio consisting of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia is
traditionally referred to as the Spice Islands.
This undulating, fertile island hosts a number of small and
large scale farming enterprises. The smaller farms producing mainly
rice, coconuts, bananas¸ cassava and
maharagwe(red beans), while the larger farms
produce cash crops such as cloves (there are over 3 million clove
trees on the island!) This backdrop of cultivated countryside makes
for some interesting - and fragrant - sightseeing.
As a tourist destination, Pemba offers some great dive sites
with abundant marine life, untouched corals and dizzying vertical
drop-offs. The towns of Chake-Chake (the capital), Mkoani and Wete
have some interesting cultural and archaeological attractions
influenced by the local Arab and Waswahili peoples; the island is
recognised as a national centre for traditional medicine and
witchcraft. There are also bullfighting events to watch, a
throw-back of the island's 16th century Portuguese
Getting to Pemba Island isn't too much of a problem - there are
regular domestic flights from Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam to Pemba
Airport (also referred to as Wawi or Karume Airport), located 4
miles (7km) from Chake Chake on the east coast of the island. There
are also ferries to Pemba from Zanzibar.
Information & Facts
Swahili and English are the official languages. Several
indigenous languages are also spoken.
The official unit of currency is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS),
divided into 100 cents. The tourism industry prices everything in
US Dollars and they are the preferred unit of currency. Major
currencies can be exchanged in the larger towns. Foreign exchange
bureaux in the main towns usually offer a better rate on travellers
cheques than do the banks. ATMs are available in major cities only.
Major lodges, some hotels and travel agents in urban areas accept
credit cards, but these should not be relied on and can incur a 10%