Quirimbas Archipelago and Pemba

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Quirimbas Archipelago and Pemba

Activities and Highlights
Region Map


"Along the glittering coastline of Pemba, deep shades of blue, turquoise and azure colours the crystal clear waters of Africa’s largest bay. This coastal city embodies a laid back yet rundown feel, and is infused with the charm of history and the allure of local culture.

Pemba is a historical town which is surrounded by forests of baobab, wooden village huts and many national monuments that embraces the heritage of a turbulent past. Village life is vibrant and the traditional markets of Pemba are bustling centres which boasts some of Africa’s most creative arts and crafts. The city’s skyline outlines the colonial architecture which still stands barely erect, telling the tail of days gone by when Portuguese and Arabs sailed the waters of the Indian Ocean to reach the coastal town of Pemba.

Rich in both history and alive with local culture, Pemba is the gateway to the magnificent jewels of the Indian Ocean that is the Quirimbas Archipelago. Consisting of 31 islands, the allure of a tropical island paradise is the ideal setting for an exquisite ocean vacation.

Offering visitors exclusivity, privacy and luxury; the coastal areas of Pemba and its Quirimbas Archipelago are increasingly becoming popular as a seaside vacation and an ocean adventure. The beautifully multicoloured coral gardens are said to be listed as some the best diving sites in the world, attracting a myriad of majestic sea creatures. From seahorses to whales, dolphins, turtles and even the very rare dugong have been spotted in the protected waters of the Quirimbas National Park.

Visit Pemba and allow yourself to be transported as far back as pre-colonial Mozambique, embrace the country’s turbulent history or enjoy the tropic breeze as you sail through the unexplored which surround the remote islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago. "

Access Details

Pemba International Airport has flights to Johannesburg, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and Dzaoudzi. Domestic flights from Maputo may also be chartered.

Suggested Stay Details

The area is ideally a holiday destination, as such we suggest 4 to 10 nights to fully take advantage of the remote islands and its many splendid adventures that it may offer.

Type of Experience

"Pemba and its surrounding islands are steeped in history, culture and heritage. The islands of Ibo, Quisiva and Matemo hold the remains that predate Portuguese rule and have been deemed a Natural and Cultural World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Step into a forgotten time and explore the ruins of a Swahili stone village. Largely isolated during the war, these islands preserve the influences of the Arab, Indian and Portuguese.

The Slave Trade Fort at Ponte Romero Lighthouse remains as a monument during the country’s dark times when slaves were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Visit the Nacole Baobab which is a forest of ancient baobab trees and the hiding place for refugees during the civil war. The forest is now home to many species of birds as well as some eerie bats.


Pemba is a balance between old dilapidated buildings and modern world-class infrastructure. The charming colonial architecture represent the old city and the modern port, international air and newly-repaired roads form the cosmopolitan city of Pemba.

The accommodation range from award winning lodges with scenic views of the ocean to the romantic setting of Quirimbas' island lodges.

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The subtropical landscape rolls into hills, across baobab and coconut forests and savannah vistas. Mangroves, multi-colour coral reefs and floating sea grass beds surround the powder-white sanded beaches.


The town was founded by the Niassa Company in 1904 as Porto Amêlia, after a queen of Portugal, at the peninsula's south western tip and has grown around a port. The city is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture. It was renamed Pemba at the end of Portuguese rule, in 1975.

Activities & Highlights

"OCEAN ENCOUNTERS: The Quirimbas National Park is believed to attract more than 375 species of fish, including the endangered seahorse, the rare dugong, and the threatened pipefish. The high coral density is an underwater spectacle, sustaining and attracting many fish within its crevices. Swarming with angelfish, fat-lipped potato bass, firefish, lionfish and scorpionfish, the protected waters are big on game fishing but maintain a strict catch and release policy. Sharks such as the Zambezi and hammerhead, as well as dolphins have been spotted frequenting the waters too.

OCEAN ACTIVITIES: The surrounding waters of Pemba and the Quirimbas Archipelago are ideal for seaside thrills. Diving is increasingly becoming popular and the surrounding reefs have been included in some of the world’s top 10 diving sites. Snorkelling, kayaking, jet skiing and fishing are all offered within the area. Unwind and enjoy sunset cruises, or sail across the Indian Ocean the way the ancient Arabs have centuries ago in a traditional dhow."

Season Travel Details

Pemba and its islands have a tropical to subtropical humid climate. Expect the rainy season between December and April and a drier season from May to September. Average daytime maximum temperatures of about 30°C (86°F) may be expected year round, with minimums of around 22°C (71°F).

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