With some of the most highly acclaimed scuba diving around, Pemba Island will astound you with the rich diversity that abounds both on land and beneath the sea.

Quick facts

Tanzania’s waters are breathtaking, no matter which way you slice it. The startlingly blue waters off the coast of Pemba are so vibrant that it seems almost impossible, but indeed, it is truly that spectacular.

One of the most popular sites on the island is the Swiss Reef, named for the incredible underwater mountain range that graces the region. Drift diving here is sublime, but is recommended for more experienced divers.

Newer divers will enjoy the Shimba Hills and House Reef, where oodles of creatures can be discovered, hanging around the impressive, healthy coral heads.

There are several dive shops on the island, a couple of which are tied in with an island resort. Be sure to check around for the best deals.

What to see

Bright, colorful fish like triggerfish, lionfish, and fusiliers are common sights on a reef dives. Turtles are also common, resting and feeding in the shallow waters. Look closely, you can often find spectacularly colored nudibranchs slithering along the coral.During a wall or drift dive you may encounter a rays and even larger pelagics like dolphins or whales.


Sitting easily off the northeastern coast of Tanzania is Pemba Island. Pemba is also known as the Green Island because of its fertile landscape.

Agriculture has been a vital way of life for the island’s inhabitants for hundreds of years. Clove trees grow in abundance, here, and you can often smell the homey aroma wafting over the hillsides. Fishing, also, is of the upmost importance on the island. The channel running between the island and the mainland is renowned as having some of the best fishing in the region.

Indigenous people practice traditional medicine and Arab immigrants from Oman go about their daily business, together creating a mix of cultures, cuisines, and mindsets.

Other attractions

Tanzania is an incredible country. Don’t miss out on a trek to Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. While on Pemba Island, head to the Jozani Forest Reserve for an in depth look at the isle’s interior. The mangrove forests give way to jungled terrain where you are more than likely to spot a troupe or two of monkeys.

Getting there

Fly to the island or take a ferry. It is highly recommended to avoid the night ferries for safety reasons. Once on the island take the “dala dalas” or minibuses, to get from place to place.

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