Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Pemba Island

Pemba's Underwater World © Bernard E. Picton
Pemba's Underwater World © Bernard E. Picton

The small and unspoilt Tanzanian island of Pemba is becoming a popular alternative for visitors seeking a quieter and less developed alternative to Zanzibar, located approximately 31 miles (50km) to the north. Pemba is known as the 'Green Island' in Arabic 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. This backdrop of cultivated countryside makes for some interesting and fragrant sightseeing. 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 colonisation. 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.