Book Flights to Pemba Island

Pemba Island – Tanzania

Pemba Island is one of the top dive locations in the world and it is no wonder most people come here for the excellent dive sites. It is the second biggest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago and famous for its unspoilt coral reefs with visibility often 60m or more.

The variety of life underwater here is absolutely staggering. Large game fish chase the smaller and brightly coloured reef fish, but divers often also see manta rays, giant groupers, lots of different types of shark, turtles, dolphins and even whale sharks.

The island is an excellent place to relax on a beach or participate in one of the many water sports. You can go for a sunset cruise, check out the endemic wildlife and its many birds or book yourself on a spice tour.

Pemba has so far retained a unique character, different from the rest of Zanzibar and Tanzania in its culture and traditions. With few visitors reaching the island, the travellers that do will encounter a truly memorable experience in this off-the-beaten-track destination.

Book your cheap flight to Pemba with Tripindigo today and dive right into the fascinating underwater world of this top dive location.

Why visit Pemba Island?

  • Admire the underwater world at the world-class scuba diving and snorkelling sites all around Pemba Island
  • Try your luck at big game fishing
  • Exploring the different ruins spread over the island
  • Spot the endemic bird and mammal species in the Ngezi forest reserve
  • Take a tour of discovery and learn everything about the spices grown locally
  • Spend the night in an underwater hotel
  • Time zone: UTC / GMT +3
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (TSh, often written as =/)
  • Driving: left-hand side of the road
  • Power Outlets: 220V-240V 50Hz. Plug types are ‘Type D & G (British)’
  • Closest (air)ports: Pemba Airport (PMA), other names are Karume Airport or Wawi Airport. It also has a terminal for ferries from Dar es Salaam and Stone Town.
Best time to visit

Apart from the months April and May, when most of the lodges are closed because of the rains, Pemba can be visited year-round. November is another month with some showers, but usually they are not too long.

January to March is a good time for diving. March is the traditional start of the rainy season but offers a good chance to see whales, sharks, and turtles. May and June are good, but can be windy. High season for diving is from July to September as well as December and January. October is a good month as it generally is the calmest.

Sights and sounds

Pemba Island is as laid back and remote as you can get, greener and hillier than Zanzibar. Visitors mainly want to get away from it all and explore the awesome world under the waves as the beaches are good, but not as good as on Zanzibar. A diver’s or honeymooner’s paradise, you will have the warm, turquoise, bath-like ocean to yourselves.

There are a few different operators that can take you scuba diving or snorkelling. Discover various diverse wall and reef sites that feature incredible corals and a vast array of marine life, from cleaner shrimps and nudibranchs to rays, turtles and giant wrasses.

If you really want to experience life in a fish tank then book the one-and-only underwater room at the Manta Bay Resort.

Ask at the resorts if you want to try deep sea or local line fishing, as well as other water sports such as wakeboarding, windsurfing or kayaking. A visit to the tiny Misali Island is great for a day of swimming or snorkelling on the reef, there are even some walking trails where you can try your luck at bird-spotting.

If you have had enough water-based fun, stroll through Ngezi Forest Reserve. Keep a sharp eye out for animals such as the Pemba scops owls, the Pemba flying fox, vervet and red colobus monkeys amidst the canopy and beautiful orchids amongst the forest floor. The flying foxes can also be found at Kidike.

Pemba Island also has several ruins that are worth checking out, including Ras Mkumbuu and the Pujini ruins. And like on Zanzibar, you can take a spice tour here to learn everything about the local spices, one of them being the humble clove. You might have already spotted hundreds of the drying mats for this spice alongside the roads when you arrived.

Alternatively, with the gorgeous scenery and soothing sounds of nature you can just relax and read a book.

Dining and Dietary Considerations

Pemba Island offers traditional Swahili classic meals in local cafes and bars. The more upmarket resorts will cater for Western diners, with seafood and coconut curries.

During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, it is advised not to eat or drink in public places during the daylight hours. As shops and restaurants will also be closed, it is recommended to replenish supplies in advance and eat in a resort or inside your accommodation.

Religious and Cultural considerations

Tanzania is conservatively religious, in both the Christian and Muslim faiths, which together represent 98% of the population’s beliefs. Pemba Island is particularly conservative and has a 98% Muslim population.

Whilst not extreme at all, there are cultural do’s and don’ts:

  • Shoes should always be removed when entering a home and place of worship.
  • Dress modestly in public, it is recommended that women wear long skirts and cover their shoulders whilst men should not be shirtless.
  • Topless sunbathing and homosexuality is illegal.

In some public places, the consumption of alcohol is not allowed.

When photographing people, always ask permission first and agree on payment if required. As a general rule, ask.

Cost of Living

Pemba Island is a small destination with accommodation, transport, food and excursions for all budgets. Hotels cater for many tourists and range from high-end lodges to basic backpacking hostels.

This is what you can expect to pay in Tanzania for:

  • Domestic beer (0.5-litre bottle) in a supermarket – 2,552TSh
  • Imported beer in a supermarket (0.33-litre bottle) – 3,833TSh
  • Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) – 3,313Tsh
  • A bottle of coca cola / pepsi (0.33-litre bottle) – 1305TSh
  • A small bottle of water (0.33-litre bottle) – 857TSh


  • Pemba is home to the Pemba flying fox bat, the second largest flying fox in the world, with an impressive wingspan of 1.6 metres, dog-like facial features and bright orange fur!
  • The rumour is that the famous pirate Captain Kidd had a hideout on tiny Misali Island, just west of Pemba Island
  • Pemba Island is a huge producer of cloves and you can see them as well as smell them in many places on the island

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