Pemba

In striking contrast to its neighbor Zanzibar, Pemba is only thinly visited resulting in a very laid back atmosphere. This has its drawbacks for upmarket travel, as there are no luxury or tourist class lodges on the island (there are several fairly bleak government hotels, leftovers from the days of socialist planning), although backpackers will have no problems finding comfortable lodgings.

The main town, Chake Chake, is relatively modern, with little of the distinctive architecture of its southern neighbour. The main reason for going to Pemba, besides getting away from the tourist hordes, is its unspoiled beaches and superb diving.

From December to February, you can also watch traditional bull-fighting, a hangover from the days of Portuguese rule in the 16th and 17th centuries (they donít kill the bulls here, so you donít have to be too squeamish). The island is dominated by the enchanting smell of cloves, with over 3,5-million clove trees flourishing in the deeper soil and higher rainfall that Pemba enjoys over Zanzibar.

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