Tourism in Pemba is not like tourism in Zanzibar, nor indeed like tourism on the Tanzanian mainland. It'll help smooth your journey if you keep the following in mind:

  • Society Pemba is generally conservative, traditional and religious.
  • Sharing Rooms Unmarried (straight) couples are not allowed to share a room in most hotels in towns, and may be asked to produce a marriage certificate. It's usually no problem for couples (gay or straight) to share rooms at the places on the coast used to tourists.
  • Alcohol Once away from tourist hotels and resorts on the coast, there’s little alcohol available. (An exception may be coconut or palm-based brews supped secretly in rural areas.)

Opening Hours

Shops & Businesses 8am to noon or 3pm Monday to Saturday; many shops and businesses close for a few minutes around 1pm so the men can visit the mosque for prayers. In towns and larger villages, some shops open again from 7pm–9pm. Outside Chake Chake there's not much open anywhere on Sundays.