Pemba Island lies approximately 80 km northeast of Zanzibar Island (Unguja) and is about the same distance from the Tanzanian mainland, situated directly east of the of the port of Tanga.
Unlike Unguja, which is flat and sandy, Pemba’s terrain is hilly, fertile and heavily vegetated. The early Arab sailors called it ‘Al Huthera’, meaning ‘The Green Island’. Today more cloves are grown on Pemba than on Unguja; in fact 75% – 80% of all Zanzibar’s clove production comes from Pemba. During the rule of the Sultans, it was Pemba, with its extensive clove plantations and agricultural base, which provided the economic foundation for the archipelago’s dominance. Today, earnings from the clove crop are supported by other agricultural products, cattle raising, and by fishing, which is an important source of livelihood.
Pemba is also renowned for its voodoo and traditional healers. Even today, people come from throughout East Africa seeking cures or to learn the skills of the art from practitioners on Pemba. In addition to its rich history and traditions, Pemba is of interest for its wealth of natural resources ranging from beaches to mangrove ecosystems to natural forests. The coral reefs surrounding the island protect a multitude of marine species and offer some of the best diving in the world. While much of the coast is lined with mangroves, there are a few amazing stretches of shoreline and enough attractive offshore islands with pure, clean beaches and interesting bird-life to keep you busy for quite a while.
The tourism industry in Pemba is still in its infancy and infrastructure is therefore quite basic, although this is slowly beginning to change with a few exclusive resorts springing up on the island. Pemba is def lored.