Just to be clear: This is a remote island off the east coast of Africa, and probably as far away from civilisation you might ever find yourself. The Manta Resort is not a 5 star luxury resort and certainly different to what you might find on other tropical islands. If you’re expecting bling bling bling you will be disappointed. If you however are looking for serenity, close encounters with nature and a close knit family of people we look forward to sharing our island with you.
The Island of Pemba lies approximately 50 km off the Tanzanian Coast, and forms part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. Sitting be-tween the latitudes 04º 50’S and 05º 30’S and bi-sected by the longitude 30º 45’E, it is about 45 km north east of Unguja Is-land. It is isolated from the continent by a deep chan-nel, and is classified as a true oceanic island. The island is about 62 km long and 22 km wide at its broadest point, covering an area of around 1,040 square km with a tropical climate that can be broadly divided into two monsoon periods. The Northeast monsoon with trade winds blowing from the northeast generally between Decem-ber and April, and South-east monsoon with winds blowing southeast between May and November. The former is generally characterised by lower wind speeds, calmer seas and higher sea surface temperatures while the opposite is expected dur-ing the Southeast monsoon. The mean rainfall is estimated to be c. 1860 mm per annum, which falls mostly between March and May (‘masika’) and between October and December (‘vuli’).
Pemba is still the predominant global producer of cloves yielding around 70% of all the world’s cloves, but now plays its more traditional role of being an island paradise with small inter-island trade. Pemba Island also has a strong reputation as a ‘magic’ island, a centre for ju-ju traditions of medicine and wizardry.
Pemba Island has been separated from the mainland of Tanzania and Zanzibar for decades, leaving an untouched and pristine island of great beauty and fertility. The mosaic of forests, swamps, mangroves, hidden beaches and lagoons is scattered with the ruins of mosques and tombs mostly reclaimed by the forest – sites that date back to Arab domination when Pemba Island was seized by the Sultan of Muscat (Oman) in the 17th century. He loved the Spice Islands and established his court in Zanzibar and ruled Muscat from there.
Chake Chake harbour
Chake Chake harbour is mainly used for swimming & fishing. When the Western Colonial powers came to East Africa the British forced the Sultanates of Muscat and Zanzibar to separate and then administered the Spice Islands in the name of the Sultan.
Pemba is a magical island. Unlike Unguja (Zanzibar), Pemba is hilly. Gentle, undulating hills and deep verdant valleys are all covered with a dense cover of clove, coconut, mango and other fruit and crop plantations. A more fertile land is difficult to imagine.
Pemba Marine Environment
Pemba is part of the wider East Africa Marine Ecoregion (EAME) which is defined as an area of relatively homogenous species composition, clearly distinct from adjacent systems and dominated by a small number of ecosystems and/or distinct suite of oceanographic or topographic features. Its ecosystem is considered to be highly productive with the various habitats that include coral reefs, seagrass beds and extensive mangrove strands closely linked and functionally connected. It also forms part of the migratory routes of many endangered species like sea turtles, dolphins and whales, thus giving it regional and global significance. The island contains the only oceanic reefs in the EAME with high diversity and coral growth in excess of 64 meters depth, among the deepest seagrass beds and four species of sea turtles out of the five found within the Western Indian Ocean. Its uniqueness has prompted the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to consider it as a potential area for World Heritage listing.
With a coastline of 450 km, made up of numerous bays, islets and deep channels, the Island boasts a diverse range of marine and coastal habitats. The eastern side of the island is dominated by deep reefs and a more uniform coastline where as the western side is heavily convoluted and forms the basis of intricate and complex reefs systems . In 2005 The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar declared the Pemba Channel Conservation Area (PECCA) on the western side of Pemba, covering a total of 42 nautical miles stretching from the southern tip to the northern one.
There are several smaller islands within the PECCA area creating tidal channels between them and sheltered lagoon-like areas behind them to the west of the main island of Pemba. These small islands, from north to south, include Njao, Fundo, Kokota, Uvinje and Misali. Coral reefs ring these islands and are present in the tidal channels, the lagoons/bays and fringing the western edges of the islands. Lack of fresh water has limited human settlements on these islands but some are used by fishers as camping sites, or for agriculture and collection of poles and firewood.
The Clove island
Pemba is still the predominant global producer of cloves yielding around 70% of all the world’s cloves, but now plays its more traditional role of being an island paradise with small inter-island trade.
Pemba Island also has a strong reputation as a ‘magic’ island, a centre for ju-ju (Voodooism) traditions of medicine and wizardry.
Where is everyone?
How can such a beautiful place be so devoid of visitors? On an island with a population of 300,000 there are rarely more than a couple of dozen foreigners. It is as though the people of Pemba have a secret that they refuse to share.
Traveling in Pemba is discovering untouched territory. Villagers are eager to talk to anyone who passes and small children will give you their biggest and whites smiles as the yell “bye-bye!” as you pass them by. You will be called over in markets by the stallholders to sit you down to try their fruits, waiting paitiently for your reaction.
The monsoons set the pace
Historically the huge traditional trading vessels, or “dhows”, followed the monsoons down from the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa. Following the 3 winds they transported cloves to India, textiles to the Arab countries and silver and wood back to the Spice Islands of Unguja and Pemba.
The dhows have remained a constant emblem throughout the history of Pemba. To this day the dhows sail from Wete to Shimoni in Kenya and then plough through to northern Mozambique when the winds become favorable.
Pemba is a magical island and hilly. Gentle, undulating hills and deep verdant valleys are all covered with a dense cover of clove, coconut, mango and other fruit and crop plantations. A more fertile land is difficult to imagine.
Seasonality of its precipitation is the hallmark and most well known characteristic of the monsoon climate. Many think that the term “monsoon” means wet weather, when in fact it describes an atmospheric circulation pattern. Though the annual amount of precipitation is quite similar to that of the rain forest, monsoon precipitation is concentrated into the high sun season. Maritime equatorial and maritime tropical air masses travel from the ocean on to land during the summer, where they are uplifted by either convection or convergence of air to induce condensation.
The monsoon climate beyond the equatorial region between 100 and 250 and North and South of the equator. The countries are along the coastal regions of southwest India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, South western Africa, French Guinea, and northeast and southeastern Brazil.
The major controlling factor over the monsoon climate is its relationship to the monsoon circulation. The Monsoon is a seasonal change in wind direction. The “classic” monsoon circulation of Asia exhibits an onshore flow of air (air moving from ocean towards land) during the summer or high sun season, and offshore air flow (air moving from land toward water) during the winter or low sun season. The change in direction is due to the difference in the way water and land heat.
The monsoon climate has a high mean annual temperature and a small annual temperature range like equatorial climate. In northern hemisphere, autumn and winter are experienced between October and February. Monsoon countries in the north experience lower temperature during these month. Between March and September, it is spring and summer in the northern hemisphere. Temperatures increase and monsoon countries experience warmer weather during this period. The diurnal temperature range varies with the wet and dry seasons. The Wet season, extensive cloud cover and most of incoming solar radiation during the day and traps the outgoing solar radiation during the day and traps the outgoing radiation at night. The diurnal temperature is small.
Seasonality of its precipitation is the hallmark and most well known characteristic of the monsoon climate. Many think that the term “monsoon” means wet weather, when in fact it describes an atmospheric circulation pattern. Though the annual amount of precipitation is quite similar to that of the rain forest, monsoon precipitation is concentrated into the high sun season. Maritime equatorial and maritime tropical air masses travel from the ocean on to land during the summer, where they are uplifted by either convection or convergence of air to induce condensation. Locally, Orthographic (Relief) uplift is an important mechanism for promoting precipitation. As air travels into the Indian subcontinent, it is uplifted by the Himalayas, causing cloud development and precipitation. The low sun season is characterized by a short drought season when high pressure inhibits precipitation formation. In the case of the Asian monsoon, the replacement of the thermal low with the subsidence of the Siberian High suppresses uplift. Air masses that dominate this period are dry given their continental origin or stability. A distinct dry season from October to May, when the temperature are lower, the interior of Asia is a region of high pressure. Wind blow over the land in a north east direction , carrying little or no moisture with them. These cool , dry North East Monsoon winds blows toward areas of low pressure and do not bring rain. A wet season from June to September, when the wind change in direction, the wind blow in the region of low pressure. Winds blow across the equator and blow over the oceans, they are warmer and carry a lot of moisture. They bring a lot of rain. Total rainfall can reach 600 mm.