LEARN MORE ABOUT PEMBA ISLAND

Pemba is a Tanzanian island in the Indian Ocean which forms part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, lying 56 kilometres off the coast of East Africa, opposite the port of Tanga, Tanzania. The population of Pemba is approximately 400,000 across the 988 km2 of the Island. Chakechake is the main city, other major cities include Wete and Mkoani.

It is believed that people from the African continent began to immigrate to Pemba around 600 AD. They were the first dwellers in Pemba, other races joined from different locations including Persians, who identify as Shirazi people and Arabs from Oman. Pemba’s population today is a mixture of Swahili, Arabs and Shirazi people. The name ‘’Pemba’’ originates from the Arabic words “al-Jazīra al-khadrā which translated into English means the Green Island and was so named because it was once almost entirely covered in forest and is more fertile than its sister island Zanzibar (Unguja).


The island overall is conservative in its culture and adherence to Islam, dressing modestly and respectful of customs is common to its natives. Generally, the people of Pemba are kind, fantastic and welcoming, and it is guaranteed that visitors will have a unique and memorable experience. 


There are very few industries in Pemba that are not related to farming and fishing so Pemba is made up of mostly local fishermen and subsistence farmers that depend on the fertile land and sea for their livelihood.  This is particularly relevant in north west Pemba where most people get by on subsistence living. Getting value added from the sea is increasingly important amongst the poorer local communities – as catches decline over time they need to replace traditional fishing methods with alternative activities like seaweed farming.

In some areas especially in the west, there are extensive clove farms which operate on a commercial basis with proceeds going to government. Formerly, both coconuts and rubber were important parts of the local economy. While some light industry exists in the main town like Chake Chake and Wete, and government institutes and agencies employ many people, this is not a widespread form of livelihood support amongst the villages.


Pemba Island offers an exceptional terrestrial environment as unlike Unguja, Pemba has been isolated from the African continent for several millions of years and is therefore classified as a true oceanic island. This isolation means that Pemba supports a range of plants and animals which are found nowhere else in the world. Pemba is also unique in in the East African region as the island does not support heavy, polluting industry, natural runoff is negligible, and the use of fertiliser and pesticide application there is low, if non-existent. The pollution of coastal waters by human activities is therefore low. 

Globally these habitats face a myriad of threats such as pollution and climate change. Pemba by comparison faces a few, extreme threats such as pollution and land use change, which with proper management can be reduced or even eliminated. 

Below you will find our interactive map!

To get started simply select an area of interest with your mouse to see the more information.

This beautiful island is changing all the time so please check back regularly to follow our progress.

All images property of The Kwanini Foundation ¦ 2021


We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone for the generous donations we have received so far, and we hope you can see what an important impact your money has already had on the wildlife and people of Pemba. We remain as passionate as ever about protecting our beautiful coral reefs and native forests, and helping new generations of local people to understand, appreciate and cherish their environment so that it can support them and their families for generations to come, and your kind donations help us to achieve these goals.

Indeed, at the Kwanini Foundation we rely on your support to deliver our ambitious programme of projects and we guarantee that 90% of all donations is spent on making positive impacts on the ground. The money we raise goes towards not only protecting and enhancing our amazing wildlife, but also towards the development of community support projects across Pemba. You can read more about our environmental projects by clicking here and our community work by clicking here. These are, of course, simply the tip of the iceberg, and we encourage you to fully explore our site to learn about the benefits even the smallest of donations can bring to the people and environment of Pemba Island.

In the interests of transparency, we will be publishing our audited accounts on the website so that you can see exactly where your money goes.

Thank you once again for your continued support.

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