Zanzibar’s Best Islands
The Zanzibar archipelago with its string of islands is situated off the coast of Tanzania. The main island of Zanzibar features a UNESCO world heritage site as its capital which is known as Stone Town.
Nearby are the islands of Pemba along with many others that offer spectacular diving experiences, coral reefs and are a great place to see whale sharks.
Here are some of Zanzibar’s best islands.
You cannot talk about Zanzibar islands without talking of the main island of Zanzibar. It is the largest among the dozens in the Zanzibar archipelago.
Its main name is actually Unguja. At its farthest length, Zanzibar is 85 km long and 39km wide. Harboring some of the most beautiful white sands, the best-known beaches are Bwejuu, Jambiani, Matemwe, Nungwi, and Jambiani.
Stone Town which is Zanzibar’s capital is a UNESCO world heritage site. Buildings such as the House of Wonders are a testament to the island’s rich history and culture.
- Pemba Island
Zanzibar may be known for producing cloves. However, Pemba island is the largest clove producer in the Zanzibar archipelago.
Getting to Pemba island is quite simple. If you are in Dar es Salaam it is just a 40-minute flight. Pemba island is nicknamed the green island and is more fertile and hillier than Zanzibar.
The island is considered by many to be a tropical paradise due to its rich marine life. One of the other highlights of the island are the 4000 flying foxes, a species of large bat that is native to the island.
- Mafia Island
Technically not part of the Zanzibar archipelago is Mafia island. It derives its name from the Arabic term ‘morfiyeh’ which refers to “group of islands” – the Mafia groups of islands.
Mafia island offers world-renowned diving spots. Its waters are rich with marine life thanks to the fact that they are highly fertile. Whale sharks can often be found here. Humpbacks will come here every year to breed.
- Chumbe Island
Chumbe Island is only a few kilometers from the main island of Zanzibar. It has a tall lighthouse at the center making it quite unmistakable.
This famous lighthouse was built by the British back in 1904. It still works today and casts its light on the ocean guiding dhows as they sail by.
What makes Chumbe island so special is that back in 1994, it was designated as a marine protected area. Together with the surrounding waters, it was named the Chumbe Island Coral Park.
- Mnemba Island
It is known as the millionaire’s island. It a small island at just 1.5km in circumference and only 500 meters in diameter. There is only a single lodge on the island and you will pay as high as $1155 per night of staying here.
Although few can afford such a price tag but the island plays a huge part in conserving the surrounding coral reef.