The 10 Best Islands in Tanzania to Consider Visiting

The 10 Best Islands in Tanzania to Consider Visiting

A List of the Best Islands in Tanzania

There is no better place than Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago, popularly dubbed the ‘Spice Islands’ because of its centuries-long cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg trade. Consider soaking up the equatorial sun on palm-fringed white-sand beaches close to the most transparent ocean you’ve ever visited.

Although it is not the only cluster of islands, the Zanzibar archipelago is Tanzania’s most well-known. Mafia Islands, floating national parks, and peaceful beach retreats off the coast of Dar es Salaam are some of the other lesser-known destinations in Tanzania. Each one has something special to offer, whether it’s world-class scuba diving, breathtaking snorkeling, mouthwatering seafood, or a fascinating historic town to visit in Tanzania.

The Changuu Island in Tanzania

Stone Town, Zanzibar’s historic capital, is located north of Changuu, a small island. As a slave prison and yellow fever quarantine facility in the nineteenth century, Changuu, also known as Prison Island, was a popular tourist destination among the Islands in Tanzania. Changgu Private Island Resort guests now have exclusive use of the island’s vast majority.

Aldabra tortoises, imported from Seychelles over a century ago and still thrive on the island, can be viewed in the island’s old jail cells amongst other fascinating swimming and snorkeling activities.

The former estate of General Lloyd Matthews can also be seen on Changuu Island.

The Chumbe Island

Chumbe Island
Chumbe Island

Chumbe is a tiny, uninhabited isle off the coast of Zanzibar that is privately owned. An abundance of marine life and a beautiful coral reef make this place a must-see. It’s a pity that boats and divers can’t access it.

The reef is in fine shape because of its military past. Chumbe Island Coral Park, a privately owned nature reserve, was established in the late 1990s to protect the island and the coral reef.

Because of the absence of fishing and damage to the corals, the reef is now home to hundreds of species of coral, hawksbill turtles, tropical fish, and the endangered dolphin. Yet, the island’s 50 bird species, including the critically endangered roseate tern, are well worth visiting. Bring your binoculars with you!

The Mnemba

An island off the coast of Tanzania. Off the shore of Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja, is Mnemba Island, a smallish, triangular-shaped island. The extravagance & Beyond beach hideaway is located on a privately owned island. Guests have exclusive access to the island. There is no restriction on non-guests using the reef, but they must keep a safe distance from the shoreline.

Mnemba Atoll, a spectacular coral reef located on the island’s northeast shore, is the island’s crown treasure making the Mnemba a rare gem of the Islands in Tanzania. The reef has been designated a marine reserve because of its abundance of marine life. Scuba divers will feel completely at home here. Give yourself plenty of time to take in the wonders of this underwater paradise, which is home to stingrays, lionfish, moray eels, turtles, and barracudas, among others.

Whales, green turtles, and dolphins can frequently be seen from the shores of the palm-dotted island.

The Rubondo Island

Rubondo is among the largest islands in Tanzania and the only one with a national park in Africa. It is found in Lake Victoria’s southwest corner. While the deep subtropical rainforest covers most of the island, the remaining wetlands, reeds, and liana are home to a wide variety of alluring fauna.

In addition to the island’s native wildlife (such as the amphibious sitatunga antelope and the black-and-white colobus), the lake acts as important breeding habitat for several exotic species (such as tilapia and Nile perch).

More than 300 species of birds can be seen on Rubondo Island, which is a birdwatcher’s paradise, including marabou storks, white egrets, and fish eagles. With today’s semi-adventure experiences, guests can get up and personalize with the island’s spectacular wildlife.

The Island of Mbudya

The deserted island of Mbudya lies to the north of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital city. Mbudya Island, one of four islands in the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve, is a popular day trip from the city for people looking for a quiet beach vacation. It is only a short boat ride from the capital.

You can take a dhow to the reserve and spend the day away from the city’s commotion. Take advantage of the ocean’s bounty by dining at a beachfront hut and ordering fresh seafood straight from the water. Aside from the usual beach activities like sunbathing and swimming, the island has some fantastic wildlife paths where tourists can learn about snakes and unique coconut crabs.

The Island of Kilwa Kisiwani

The Island of Kilwa Kisiwani
The Island of Kilwa Kisiwani

Tanzania’s southernmost island, Kilwa Kisiwani, translates to “Island of the Fish.” It served as Kilwa Sultanate’s capital for many years and was an important trading post among all the Islands in Tanzania for precious metals and spices. Indeed, Kilwa Kisiwani was one of East Africa’s most formidable empires between the 9th and 19th centuries. It was so successful in its prime that it even retained its currency.

Only the Great Mosque, the oldest mosque on the East African coast, and the Husuni Ndogo, built in the 16th century, survive today (Little Fort) once the largest building in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Palace of Husuni Kubwa (the Great Fort) is another remarkable attraction. The historic hamlet can only be visited by tourists with a permit from the Antiquities Department of the local government.

The Island of Bongoyo

Near the Msasani Peninsula lies Bongoyo Island, a little tropical island that has remained desolate. A portion of the Dar es Salaam Marine Reserve can be found there. The capital’s proximity and the ease of getting there by boat (30 minutes).

Picnicking, swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and eating seafood while sinking your toes in the sand are just some of the activities available at the marine reserve. Kitesurfing is a fun and energetic activity for folks who like to get out and about.

The Island Pemba

Tanzania’s Zanzibar archipelago includes Pemba Island, also referred to as the Green Island. A lesser-known member of the group, it boasts pink and white sand beaches, lush mountaintops, mangrove forests, clove plantations, secluded coves and lagoons, and vivid coral reefs. It is a hidden gem.

Pemba Island’s scuba diving and fishing are now world-famous. Reef sharks, barracuda, turtles, swordfish, and yellowfin tuna are just a few marine animals found in the ocean.

You’ll learn about the region’s past on your return adventure. The remnants of an 18th-century fort and a museum uncovered in Chake Chake’s major town. The Fischer’s turaco, an endangered species, lives on Misali, an outlying island indeed.

The Island of Mafia

Known in Swahili and Arabic as “the group, or a restorative residence,” Mafia Island is a serene outpost of the Mafia archipelago. On Mafia Island, off the coast of Dar es Salaam, sits one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets of the Islands in Tanzania drifting in the Indian Ocean.

The Mafia Island Marine Park preserves much of the island’s shoreline and coral reefs dotted with coconut trees and stretches for kilometers. It’s all about scuba diving, snorkeling, and the relaxing atmosphere here.

Spend your daytime exploring the ocean below, from endangered whale sharks and sea turtles to hundreds of tropical fish species. The jungle-clad interior’s nature trails have more than a hundred bird species to discover, so you would be tempted to leave the water. Visit Juani Island’s famous 850-year-old Kua Ruins while exploring.

Zanzibar Island in Tanzania

The Island of Zanzibar, also known as Unguja, is the jewel in the crown of all the Islands in Tanzania. One of East Africa’s wealthiest commercial centers was once known as Spice Island. It’s the most populous and accessible island in the group. It’s a popular destination for tourists, especially in the summer months, because of its white-sand beaches and historic traditions.

Allow plenty of time to stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of Stone Town, the island’s westernmost borough, and a fascinating melting pot of African, Indian, Arabic, and European cultures. Book a tour of the local cumin, vanilla, turmeric root, and lemongrass farms while you’re here to experience these world-famous spices firsthand.

Zanzibar Island’s other activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming in the stunning coral gardens just offshore, and touring the Old Fort of Zanzibar, the Sultan’s Palace, Dharajani Market, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral.


How many islands in Tanzania?

Tanzania has several islands, with estimates ranging from around 100.

Are there islands in Lake Victoria Tanzania?

Yes, there are five islands in Lake Victoria:

  • Nabuyongo Island
  • Ukerewe Island
  • Ukara Island
  • Saanane Island
  • Rubondo Island

What is Aragua island in Tanzania?

Aragua is not an island in Tanzania. 

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