Other Islands


Pemba Island

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Pemba Island, known as “The Green Island” in Arabic, is an island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, lying within the Swahili Coast in the Indian Ocean.


With a land area of 988 square kilometres (381 sq mi) it is situated about 50 kilometres (31 mi) to the north of Unguja, the largest island of the archipelago. In 1964, Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. It lies 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of mainland Tanzania, across the Pemba Channel. Together with Mafia Island (south of Unguja), these islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia).

Most of the island, which is hillier and more fertile than Unguja, is dominated by small scale farming. There is also large scale farming of cash crops such as cloves.

In previous years, the island was seldom visited due to inaccessibility and a reputation for political violence, with the notable exception of those drawn by its reputation as a center for traditional medicine and witchcraft. There is a quite large Arab community on the island, who immigrated from Oman. The population is a mix of Arab and original Waswahili inhabitants of the island. A significant portion of the population also identifies as Shirazi people.

The most important towns in Pemba are Chake-Chake (the capital), Mkoani, and Wete, which is the largest city. The centrally located Chake-Chake is perched on a mound with a view to the west on a bay and the tiny Misali Island, where the tides determine when a dhow can enter the local harbour. Pemba is, with the exception of a strip of land along its eastern coast, a very fertile place: besides clove trees, the locals grow mainly rice, coconut, bananas, cassava and red beans (called maharagwe in the Swahili language).

Pemba is home to several dive sites, with steep drop-offs, untouched coral and very abundant marine life.


According to the Arab geographer Yakut, in the mid-13th century there were two independent sultans ruling over parts of Pemba Island.

On 24 June 2016, the Australian Transport Minister, Darren Chester, said that a piece of aircraft debris was found on Pemba Island, possibly being from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.


Pemba is also famous for its rich fishing grounds. Between the island and the mainland there is the deep 50 kilometre wide Pemba Channel, which is one of the most profitable fishing grounds for game fishing on the Swahili Coast.

A large proportion of the Zanzibar export earnings comes from cloves. The greatest concentration of clove trees is found on Pemba (3.5 million trees) as growing conditions here are superior to those on Unguja island. Clove trees grow to the height of around 10 to 15 metres and can produce crops for over 50 years.

More recently with the booming tourism industry in neighbouring Zanzibar, more adventurous travellers are seeking out the less-crowded Pemba, led by dive tourists seeking the uncrowded and un-spoiled reefs the island offers the experienced diver.

For the promotion of tourism the department of Surveys and Mapping at Chake-Chake has published a map with tourist guide since 1992.


Pemba Airport is also known as Wawi Airport or Karume Airport and connects the island to Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.


Latham Island

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Latham Island, known locally as Fungu Kizimkazi, Fungu Mbaraka is a small, relatively isolated island in the Zanzibar Archipelago, Tanzania which is historical under the Government of Zanzibar since 1898.


The island has several local names in addition to Fungu Kizimkazi, the most Notable of which are Fungu la Mbarak after the Arab who had the right to collect wreckage there in the reign of seyid Barghash who was the (Sultan of Zanzibar), Shungu Mbili and Shan jove. The island was featured on an early sixteenth century Portuguese map (Ingrams, n.d) but it derives its present name from the East Indian man Latham which rediscovered it in 1758.

Zanzibar Administration on the Island

The island was annexed to Zanzibar on 19 October 1898, British First Minister Sir Lloyd Mathews under the order of the Sultan of Zanzibar he visited the island and planted Zanzibar Flag on the Island and declared it official the island is under the administration of Zanzibar. Lloyd Mathews arrived on the island on 18 October 1898 with the warship HHS Barawa alongside Captain Arthur Agnew, Zanzibar Port Officer and Dr. Alfred Andrew Spurrier a Medical Officer.

Following the Plantation of Zanzibar Flag on 19 October 1898, 21-gun salutes were performed as a military honor and the island was official annexed to Sultan’s Authority. An iron house was built and the corner stone was laid written, “LATHAM ISLAND, FUNGU KIZIMKAZI UNDER ZANZIBAR SOVEREIGNTY”.


Latham Island is a flat coral island located 60 km (37 mi) south-east of Unguja and 66 km (41 mi) east of Dar es Salaam. It is roughly 300 metres (980 ft) long and 300 metres (980 ft) wide, and has an area of 0.03 square kilometres (0.01 sq mi). The island is surrounded by a fringing reef and is oceanic, as it lies off the continental shelf and is surrounded by deep water.


The island is an important breeding ground for various bird species, namely the masked booby, greater crested tern, sooty tern and the brown noddy. Latham is also thought to be of importance for nesting turtles.

Mafia Island

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Mafia Island (“Chole Shamba”) is part of the Tanzanian Zanzibar Archipelago, together with Unguja, Pemba and Latham Island. As one of the six districts of the Pwani Region, Mafia Island is governed from the mainland, not from the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar, of which it has never been considered to be a part politically.

According to the 2002 Tanzania census, the population of the Mafia District was 40,801. The economy is based on fishing, subsistence agriculture and the market in Kilindoni. The island attracts some tourists, mainly adventure scuba divers, game fishermen, and people wanting relaxation.


The Mafia archipelago consists of one large island (394 km²) and several smaller ones. Some of the smaller ones are inhabited, such as Chole Island (2 km²), with a population of 1415. Chole Bay, Mafia’s protected deep-water anchorage and original harbour, is studded with islands, sandbanks and beaches. The main town is Kilindoni. The stretch of water between the deltas of the Rufiji River and the island is called Mafia Channel. The popular rumours of pygmy hippo on the island were confirmed by the Tanzania Tourist Board in 2013 because of the first documented sighting by two tourists.


Mafia Island’s history goes back to the 8th century. The island once played a major role in ancient trade between the people of the East Asia and East Africa. It was a regular stop for Arab boats. On the tiny island of Chole Mjini, just offshore in Chole Bay, once stood a settlement that constituted one of the most important towns controlling trade from the silver mines of Eastern Zimbabwe, which reached the town via the old ports of Kilwa and Michangani.

In the mid-1820s, the town of Kua on Juani Island was attacked by Sakalava cannibals arriving from Madagascar with 80 canoes, who ate many of the locals and took the rest into slavery.

Under a treaty of 1890, Germany took control of Mafia and constructed the buildings still evident on Chole. Germany paid Sultan Sayyid Ali bin Said al-Said of Oman M 4 million for both the island and part of the mainland coast. On January 12, 1915, Mafia was taken by British troops as a base for the air and sea assault on the light cruiser Königsberg.

The name “Mafia” derives from the Arabic morfiyeh, meaning “group” or “archipelago”, or from the Swahili mahali pa afya, meaning “a healthy dwelling-place”.

In 1995 Mafia Island had financial help from the WWF to make a natural marine wildlife centre which led to establishment of the first Marine Park in Tanzania. The organization continued to provide support to the Island under Rufiji-Mafia-Kilwa (RUMAKI) seascape project to improve socio-economic well-being of the communities through the sustainable, participatory and equitable utilization and protection of their natural resources. Under the current EU-WWF Fisheries Co-management Project, the organization aims at building effective long-term fisheries co-management through establishment of 10 Beach Management Units and to continue supporting Village Community Banks (VICOBA) in the Island to generate optimal, sustainable and equitable livelihood benefits, and which provide a source of lesson-learning for other coastal communities. The WWF Mafia office is under three technical staff – Paul Kugopya (Mafia Fisheries Co-management Officer), Marko Gideon (EU-WWF Fisheries Co-management Project Communication/Awareness Officer) and Renatus Rwamugira (Project Accountant for Mafia).

Tanzania’s first multi-user marine park at Mafia Island was established in 1995 following management recommendations and data from surveys conducted by the Society for Environmental Exploration.

In August 2016, a diver, Alan Sutton, from Seaunseen, who had originally been looking for the remains of an old fort rumoured to have been washed away to sea, but instead he came across the remains of a wall stretching almost 4km off Mafia Island. The discovery was detailed in a blog post by Sutton, with images showing remnants of the wall.



The island can be reached from Dar es Salaam by flights operated by Auric Air.

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