Zanzibar and Pemba
Zanzibar archipelago consists of the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. The island of Zanzibar, also called Unguja, is a major holiday destination. Stone Town is located in the heart of Zanzibar and features old Arabian townhouses, narrow alleyways and a busy port.Zanzibar has some of the best beaches in the world with varying sand and surf depending on what side of the island you are on.Pemba is less visited than Zanzibar and this provides for a more laidback atmosphere. Around Pemba are many desert islands and some of the best scuba diving in the Indian Ocean. The main town on Pemba, Chake Chake is fairly modern with tourism in the early stages. From December to February, visitors can also watch traditional bullfighting; a sign from the days of Portuguese dominance in the 16th and 17th C.
Pemba Island is the northernmost island in the Zanzibar archipelago and is the world's major clove producer. The Sultan of Muscat seized Pembain the 17th C and was so enchanted by the Spice Islands that he decided to rule from the region.Pemba is a hilly island with deep valleys so it has become a mecca for mountain bikers who are drawn to the 1,000-meter peaks.The city of Chake Chake is popular with avid scuba divers as visibility is unparalleled. Lush coral gardens, colorful sponges and sea fans are all found in the underwater haven.Pemba is also well known for the juju traditions of medicine and magic. People come from throughout East Africa to learn from the voodoo and traditional healers or seek a cure.
Chake Chake is an Arab settlement with thatched-roof huts that stand beside Moorish stone buildings. As the main town on Pemba Island, it is a base for diving and trips to Misali. Chake Chake is the unofficial capital of Pemba with many government head offices in the town.Southeast of Chake Chake is the Pujini Ruins with the remains of a mosque from the 13th C. West of Chake Chake are ruins at Ras Mkumbuu, an ancient Swahili settlement that was one of the largest towns in East Africa during the 11th C.Pemba Essential Oil Distillery, just outside Chake Chake, engages in the production of essential oils from lemon grass, eucalyptus and cloves.
Misali is an island southwest of Pemba Island. It is the perfect destination for nature lovers because it is a sanctuary for sea birds and turtles. The nesting turtles and breeding sea birds are found on the western side of Misali Island.Mbuyuni Beach with its fine white sand is on the northeast side of Misali Island. Bendera Cave, just south of the beach, is believed to have spirits of ancestors present.The Misali Island Marine Conservation Area was established in 1996 to protect the coral reef. The underwater world can be discovered during diving and following the underwater trails.
Mkoani is the main seaport at Pemba Island, located in the southern portion of the island. Many ferries travel from Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. Mkoani makes an ideal base for visitors traveling to the southern and central parts of Pemba Island.The town of Mkoani overlooks a wide bay and fishermen load their carts from a shallow beach on each side of the landing.The Ibizi Mosque has an impressive carved door and the local bakery prepares bread in traditional ovens that can be viewed by passersby.
Ngezi Forest Reserve
Ngezi Forest is located at the northwestern tip of Pemba Island, it is comprised of ancient coastal forest that once covered all of Pemba. The Ngezi Forest Reserve supports a variety of plants and wildlife including some of its own plant species that are unique to the area.Many of the 27 recorded bird species found on Pemba Island have been seen in Ngezi Forest. Ngezi is also home to the Pemba flying fox, a bat that is unique to Pemba Island.There is a walking trail from the entrance to Ngezi that winds through the forest canopy and takes about one hour to complete.