Pemba, Tanzania

Diver exploring the wrecked steam freighter off Pemba
Diver exploring the wrecked steam freighter off Pemba


LOCATION The island of Pemba is in the Indian Ocean, 30 miles (50 km) from the African mainland SCUBA DIVING Coral-ringed islands dot the western coast and steep walls lie on the eastern coast

DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 82°F (28°C); Apr: 80°F (26°C); Jul: 75°F (24°C); Oct: 80°F (26°C)

A little piece of Africa that time almost forgot, Pemba was once a spice-growing center run by the Sultans of Oman. Today, the island is known for its clear water and vibrant marine life. Its east coast, which drops away sharply from mangrove- lined shores, has deep walls.

Strong currents on this side might restrict the growth of corals, but they also attract big pelagic species, such as grey reef sharks and hammerheads. On Pemba’s west coast, which is much calmer, you’ll find masses of tiny islands that create nooks and crannies for divers to explore.

The coral here is richer and larger, and the reef fish more plentiful. To the south of the island lies the eerie but well-preserved wreck of a steam freighter that sank in a storm in 1967.

Practical Information

Getting There Fly to Pemba from Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, or fly to Mombasa in Kenya and reach the island by car and boat across the channel.

When to Go This is a year-round destination, although the rainy season is between March and May.

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