Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pemba from above, part 2

continued from Pemba island from above part 1

Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous district in Tanzania is composed of 2 major islands, Unguja in the South and Pemba in the north. Unguja nowadays is almost exclusively referred to as the “Zanzibar” and is a world apart from Pemba. While Zanzibar is more densely populated and teeming with tourists, Pemba is desolate. Not that Pemba is lacking of natural attractions. Pemba has a greater number of islands, more expansive white sandy beaches and thicker forests. What it lacks sorely are infrastructure and facilities.

the channel at Ngagu
aerial view of the channel at Ngagu, Pemba island, Zanzibar, Tanzania, East Africa

aerial Ngagu
Ngagu, in another perspective

aerial Fondu and Western islands
Fondu and Western islands of Pemba

Pemba has two big “diving” resorts but they operate in rather remote areas that once there, you could not easily leave for lack of access to other points. When you go to Pemba on business, the logical places to stay would have to be either of the island’s 3 centers: Chake Chake which has the airport and the port towns of Mkoani and Wete. In these places, visitors only have a few guesthouses to choose from, and most offer only modest and with basic accommodations. Forget about cable TV, internet connectivity or room service. Save for these hostels, restaurants, at least the ones with waiting service and menus are basically absent too.

East Pemba inlet
a seawater inlet in East Pemba that seems to have eutrophied with algae

dhows in the Kiungoni channel
dhows in the Kiungoni channel, Pemba

aerial of the South channel (tip)
the tip of a reef in the South Channel, Pemba

But like most areas that are remote, the people are eager, friendly and accommodating. There are no commercial touts in the streets that are now plaguing Stonetown, the capital of Zanzibar. Villagers are a curious folk and they easily talk to visitors especially the small children who often don’t see people of a lighter skin.

aerial Northwest Coast
an aerial of the northwest coast of Pemba

aerial North coast mangroves
lush mangrove forest are common in the north

aerial Kiungoni seaweed farms
seaweed farms in Kiungoni

To go: Pemba is a large island north of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous archipelago that is part of Tanzania, East Africa. There are regular fast crafts and flights between Zanzibar and Pemba. Air charters can be arranged from various operators like the one we made with Tropical Air at +255 24 223 2511.

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