Unguja | Private Safaris East Africa

Explore Unguja

Unguja (also referred to as Zanzibar Island or simply Zanzibar, in Ancient Greek Menuthias, Μενουθιάς – as mentioned in The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea) is the largest and most populated island of the Zanzibar archipelago, in Tanzania.

 

Unguja is a hilly island, about 85 kilometres (53 miles) long (north-south) and 30 kilometres (19 miles) wide (east-west) at its widest, with an overall area of about 1,666 square kilometres (643 square miles).[1] It is located in the southern half of the Zanzibar Archipelago, in the Indian Ocean, about 59 kilometres (37 mi) south of the second largest island of the archipelago, Pemba. Unguja and mainland Tanzania are separated by the Zanzibar Channel.

 

Unguja is surrounded by a number of smaller islands and islets, with only two of them, Tumbatu and Uzi, being inhabited. Other minor islands around Unguja include Bawe, Chapwani, Changuu, Chumbe, Kizingo, Kwale, Latham, Mautani, Miwi, Mnemba, Mwana wa Mwana, Nianembe, Popo, Pungume, and Ukanga.

Unguja is the island of the Zanzibar Archipelago that has the most developed tourism industry. This accounts for a substantial part of Unguja’s economy. Agriculture (including the production of spices such as cloves) and fishing are other relevant activities. All along the east coast, most villages also rely on seaweed farming.

Diving / Snorkeling – Pemba Channel

Pemba Island is one of the top diving and snorkelling locations off the coast of Tanzania with the entire island surrounded by coral reef.  Between the island and mainland Tanzania the Pemba Channel shelves off to depths of more than 2,000m, and Pemba is famous for seriously large sea fish, which include barracuda, tuna, shark, and even whales.  This is a glorious playground for experienced divers.  Visibility is generally very good and there are some spectacular pinnacles. Currents are strong at Pemba so it’s not ideal for first time divers

Ngezi Forest Reserve

The Ngezi Forest Reserve is a forest reserve located in Pemba Island, Tanzania. It covers an area of 1,440 hectares (3,600 acres), mostly comprising primary forest. The reserve was established in 1959. It’s Ngezi Reserve is located in the north-western tip of Pemba, the second largest island in the Zanzibar Archipelago. It borders on the villages of Kiuyu Kwa Manda (south), Tondooni, Verani and Makangale (north), Msuka (east) and Kipangani (west); to the west, it also borders on the Pemba Channel.

Mkame Ndume Ruins

The ruined palace of Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman, who ruled Pemba prior to the arrival of the Portuguese (late 15th to early 16th centuries), is an evocative spot. Rahman had a reputation for cruelty and was known as Mkame Ndume (Milker of Men). Today the ruins’ primary feature is a large stone staircase that led from the kilometre-long channel (now dry) connecting this site to the ocean.n The ruins are located 10km southeast of Chake Chake, near the village of Pujini. Dalla-dallas from Chake Chake to Pujini (Tsh1000, one hour) are infrequent and the ruins are poorly signposted. A taxi from Chake Chake costs about Tsh30,000 return. Or rent a bike; head south of Chake Chake, past the airport road then turn left (southeast) onto the dirt road by a sign that says ‘Skuli Ya Chan Jaani’

Stone Town Zanzibar

Stone Town, also known as Mji Mkongwe (Swahili for “old town”), is the old part of Zanzibar City, the main city of Zanzibar, in Tanzania. (The newer portion of the city is known as Ng’ambo, Swahili for ‘the other side’). Stone Town is located on the western coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Former capital of the Zanzibar Sultanate, and flourishing centre of the spice trade as well as the slave trade in the 19th century, it retained its importance as the main city of Zanzibar during the period of the British protectorate. When Tanganyika and Zanzibar joined each other to form the United Republic of Tanzania, Zanzibar kept a semi-autonomous status, with Stone Town as its local government seat. Stone Town is a city of prominent historical and artistic importance in East Africa. Its architecture, mostly dating back to the 19th century, reflects the diverse influences underlying the Swahili culture, giving a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian and European elements. For this reason, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Due to its heritage, Stone Town is also a major visitor attraction in Tanzania, and a large part of its economy depends on tourism-related activities

Prison Island

Prison Island might not sound like the most appealing place in the world but this tropical paradise is the perfect place to escape the crowds of main Zanzibar and relax in the sunshine. Taking its name from the fact that it was a former prison for slaves, this patch of natural beauty holds all kinds of delights, not least the numerous giant tortoises that wander freely around the island. The island can be reached from Zanzibar in about 30 minutes by boat and once there you won’t be able to resist jumping in the water. It is best to come with snorkelling equipment in tow as the water there is crystal clear and teeming with exotic marine life. Once you’ve made the most of the shoreline, head to the interior of Prison Island and look out for butterflies before exploring the ruins of what was once the prison building.

House of Wonders

The House of Wonders or Palace of Wonders (in Arabic: Beit-al-Ajaib) is a landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. It is the largest and tallest building of Stone Town and occupies a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town’s seafront, in Mizingani Road. It is located between the Old Fort and the Palace Museum (and former Sultan’s Palace). It is one of six palaces built by Barghash bin Said, second Sultan of Zanzibar, and it is said to be located on the site of the 17th-century palace of Zanzibari queen Fatuma. The House of Wonders currently houses the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast.