5 Best East African Islands for a Tropical Vacation

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East Africa is one of the most beautiful, exotic, and natural places to visit. Whenever you think of Africa, you can picture the action-packed adventures and safaris, surrounded by mother nature and wild animals. East Africa is a thrilling vacation spot; however, it can also be calming, romantic, and serene. East Africa has a collection of vibrant, magical, and fun islands. With pristine waters and the sea breeze during the perfect months, these Islands in East Africa will provide you with the tropical vacation of a lifetime.


Zanzibar is probably the most well-known island in the region, and it is as mythical as it is tropical. Surrounded by beautiful waters, sandy beaches, and a seeped-in history, Zanzibar is the perfect destination for a fun-filled, exciting, and peaceful vacation. Zanzibar offers many activities and sights to see, including the architectural beauty of Stone Town and the party culture during the night. One moment you may be relaxing on the beach, and the next moment, you may be dancing the night away with the locals. Zanzibar is full of music and culture that will surely make you want to extend your stay.

Pemba Island

Pemba Island is just as beautiful and exotic as Zanzibar. Pemba is a breath of fresh air and a fun-filled island where you can escape to the beaches while also indulging in exploring the unique and incredible wildlife of East Africa. Furthermore, the island itself is lush and beautiful, with stunning landscapes. Some of the places you may want to visit while in Pemba include the Ngezi Forest Reserve, the Historical Mkame Ndume Ruins, and the Flying Fox Sanctuary.

Changuu Island

Changuu Island is one of the many private islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago. Also known as Kibaniko, Prison Island, or Quarantine Island, Changuu served as a prison for slaves back in the 1860s. However, after being acquired by Lloyd Matthews, it was converted into a prison; although, no prisoner was ever taken to the island. Because of its structure and isolation, the island soon became a quarantine center for yellow fever.

Today, the government owns the island and is now used as an attraction for tourists due to its history, beauty, and architecture. Apart from this, Changuu Island is also famous for its Aldabra Giant Tortoise Sanctuary, where you can witness and interact with turtles over 100 years of age.

Misali Island

Misali Island is in the Pemba Channel Conservation Area. It is a beautiful island with magical coral reefs and crystal clear waters. Many snorkelers and divers visit the island solely to see and explore the marine life. The breathtaking beauty of the underwater world will leave you mesmerized.

Mnemba Island

Mnemba Island is not as commonly known as the other tropical islands you will hear about in East Africa, and it is ideal if you are looking to spend time away from the crowded beaches. Mnemba Island has an aura of its own, and it is calm, collected, and the perfect getaway from life. If you find relaxing all day on a peaceful beach next to the waves while letting the wind blow through your hair a bit boring, then you may want to head on over to one of the many scuba diving service providers. Mnemba Island is a diver’s paradise and has an exotic and breathtaking coral reef.  The only setback for this island is a private island and may cost you more than $1,000/night.


There are many other tropical islands you can also explore in East Africa. To learn more about the region and the mystical Maasai Mara, check out 8 Things to Know Before you Visit the Maasai Mara.

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