Lively Chake Chake, set on a ridge overlooking mangrove-filled Chake Chake Bay, is Pemba’s main town and the best base for visiting the island’s southern half, including Misali. There’s no equivalent of Stone Town here, but it’s an appealingly scruffy city whose compact core is packed tight with small shops and makes for an interesting walk.
The rundown town of Wete is Pemba’s second-largest port, situated on an inlet on the northwest coast of the island. It is a good base for exploring northern Pemba. It’s also the easiest place to see Pemba flying foxes, with a large colony hanging from some trees just uphill from the port.
North of the Ngezi Forest, thick trees give way to scrub as you wend your way up the remote Kigomasha Peninsula to the headland with its winking lighthouse and sweeping views back across the island. Curving around the eastern side of the peninsula is the stunning, 4km-long Vumawimbi Beach.
Just south of Chake Chake, through a landscape thick with banana trees, jackfruit and papaya, where cloves lie out on roadside mats drying during the season, you'll reach the tiny village of Wambaa. Nearby is the palm-backed Wambaa Beach and the island's most exclusive property, Fundu Lagoon.
Ras Mkumbuu is the long, thin strip of land jutting into the sea northwest of Chake Chake. At its tip are the ruins (adult/student US$5/3) of a settlement believed to be Qanbalu, the oldest known Muslim town in Africa. It was founded in the 8th century and by the early 10th century it was one of the major cities along the East African coast.
Tranquil Kiweni Island, marked as Shamiani on some maps, is just off Pemba’s southeastern coast. It’s a remote and tranquil place surrounded by mangroves and long stretches of sand which provide a nesting ground for sea-turtle colonies. Off-shore is some good snorkelling. Until recently tourism was unknown on the island, where villagers get by on fishing and farming.