6 of Zanzibar’s best islands: Luxury retreats and underwater adventures

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Often referred to as the “Spice Islands”, the archipelago of Zanzibar is made up of a necklace of islands that bead their way down the shore of East Africa, off the coast of Tanzania.
There’s the main island, which has a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its capital, sister island Pemba, with its extensive clove plantations and the neighboring Mafia Archipelago, known for its majestic coral reefs and whale sharks.
Others offer luxury retreats, diving adventures and secret sea life.
Here are six of the best islands in and around the Zanzibar Archipelago.

Zanzibar (Unguja)

The largest island in an archipelago of dozens, Zanzibar is actually named Unguja but referred to as Zanzibar colloquially.
Located 35 kilometers from Tanzania’s mainland, it’s 85 kilometers at its greatest length and 39 kilometers wide.

Several islands hug its shores tightly including Chumbe and Mnemba, and while it’s laced with many beautiful salt-white beaches, Nungwi, Matemwe, Jambiani and Bwejuu are considered the loveliest.
The island holds dozens of hotels that cater to every penchant and pocket.

Pemba Island

While Zanzibar’s famous clove industry is commonly associated with the main island, Pemba produces the lion’s share of cloves in the region today.
Nicknamed the “The Green Island” as it’s hillier and more fertile than its sister island, Pemba is a 40-minute flight by light aircraft from Dar es Salaam. It’s 48 kilometers north of Zanzibar and smaller in size.

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