Pemba lies to the north of Zanzibar, about 20 minutes by air and 80km by sea. It is more undulating and densely vegetated with natural forest and plantation than Zanzibar and was often referred to by early Arab sailors as El Hethera, ‘the green’. With cloves being the main crop grown here, tourism and fishing have now become specialities. Its beaches are pristine, vast and empty and an 800m deep channel splits Pemba Island from the continent, making this one of Africa’s greatest deep-sea fishing destinations. On the island itself, walking excursions through forests are very worthwhile, revealing many native species including spectacular ferns and giant trees. There are also cycle-rides, dhow trips, many archaeological sites to explore and afterwards fresh lobster, fish and other tropical and spicy delicacies to enjoy. There are a number of inexpensive local guest houses to stay at here, however, we recommend two of the best upmarket properties.