Difference between revisions of "Pemba Island"
Revision as of 09:54, 16 January 2013
Pemba Island is in Tanzania.
Pemba Island is 99% Muslim and 1% Non-Muslim. Though not a safety concern, it is recommended that women travel with long skirts, covered shoulders and a head scarf out of respect for the local tradition.
Pemba is considerably poorer and less developed than its neighboring Zanzibar (Unguja). Public toilets are essentially non-existent, and toilet paper is only found in the high-end hotels. Bring your own if you're staying at a guest house, and always use the restroom before heading out for the day unless you're comfortable joining the locals in public urination.
Swahili. Asalam Waaleikum is an arabic greeting that is used here. The corresponding response is Waaleikum Salam.
There is an often-used airport just outside of Chake Chake that has daily flights both to and from Zanzibar (Unguja) and Dar es Salaam for about 100,000 shillingi one-way. A cheaper alternative is a direct ferry from Dar es Salaam, although it leaves only twice a week and may not be suitable for strict schedules. There is also a direct ferry from Tanga that runs very infrequently and often stops running completely for weeks at a time. Note that the ferries are poorly maintained and have sunk before, resulting in massive numbers of fatalities. If you insist on taking a ferry, do not ride the night ferries.
You can purchase tickets for both the planes and the ferries at ticket offices in Chake Chake and Wete.
By dala dala (the local term for minibuses). There are small bus stations in both Wete and Chake Chake. Bus fare from Wete to Chake Chake costs 1500 shillingi, with shorter rides costing less and longer rides costing more.
Pemba is one of the diving jewels of of the east of Africa. There are at least two dive operators (Swahili Divers and Manta Reef) operating under the PADI and BSAC codes that serve visitors. Diver's highlights include: Extensive plate coral gardens on the west coast which make for a world class drift dive The marine reserve surrounding Misali Island that is threatened by proposed government development, hence now is the time to visit The annual whale migration in July and August when humpback whales have been reported on the east coast.
The food on Pemba is largely the same as the food on the mainland. For breakfast, a flat, dense pancake called chapati can be purchased from street vendors in the larger cities, as well as a thick porridge called uji and a sugared, donut-like bun called kisheti. Fried cassava or potatoes are very common for lunch, though fancier restaurants will offer rice, beans, and other typical Tanzanian fare. Chipsi Mayai (Potatoes and Eggs) is an ubiquitous street food that many foreign travelers find more palatable than the other comparatively bland options, and almost all places with a grill will make it on request. For dinner, you can find street vendors who sell arojo, a thin, tart soup into which potatoes, croutons, salt, and hot pepper is added. Deep-friend pueza (octopus) is also very common on the street at night, along with all the aforementioned Tanzanian fare.
Fresh fruit of one kind or another is almost always available. While all the fruit is seasonal, you will inevitably find something that is in season. Common fruits are jackfruit, breadfruit, mangoes, oranges, and bananas.
As with most developing countries, food (particularly beans and rice) may be inundated with sand or gravel, so eat carefully to avoid the dental misery that accompanies biting a pebble.