- For other places with the same name, see Pemba (disambiguation).
Pemba is the capital of the Cabo Delgado Province in the north of Mozambique.
Pemba is a port town located on the south side of the world's third-largest natural bay, with a population of around 100,000. It is the most important center in Northern Mozambique, with banks, patisseries, supermarkets and restaurants, though it retains a rundown feel with its potholed streets. The town was built over rolling hills, and most people live in wooden huts set amongst the numerous thick baobab trees.
The history of the people of the Cabo Delgado province weaves throughout many centuries of African, Arab and Portuguese sailing, trading and settling.
The town was founded by the Niassa Company in 1904 as Porto Amelia, after a queen of Portugal. It was renamed Pemba at the end of Portuguese rule, in 1975.
Pemba is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture, and is a prime destination for water sports and diving enthusiasts as a coral reef lies close to the shore. Pemba has increasingly become a tourist destination, particularly for upper-middle class Mozambicans and South Africans, and international flights and new facilities are emerging steadily.
The climate is tropical humid. Average annual temperature ranges from a minimum of 22°C to a maximum of 32°C.
The hot rainy season usually runs from December to April. The rain is irregular, it can be very heavy and accompanied by strong monsoon winds.
The dry season is from May to November, with an average temperature of 28°C during the day.
The temperature of the seawater ranges from 25°C to 30°C.
- 1 Pemba Airport (Mozambique) (POL IATA). The airport has international flights to and from Johannesburg (South Africa), Nairobi (Kenya), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Dzaoudzi (Mayotte). Domestic flights from Maputo, Beira and Nampula are operated by the national carrier Linhas Aereas de Mocambique. Customs facilities are available at the airport, and visas are available on arrival for some nationalities (check with an embassy ahead of time). Pack a change of clothes and swimsuit in hand luggage as checked luggage has been known to arrive late.
National roads run to the east and south to Central Mozambique.
Northwards, the national road from Pemba to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania is partly tarred. Backpackers use a canoe across the Rovuma River at the Quionga border post. The Unity Bridge is now open for CARS to drive through at Negomane.
- Ibo Island take you back in time
- The 1st Quirimbas Archipelago Island is Quipaco Island that is 20km north of Pemba.
- Quirimbas National Park boundary is 13km north of Pemba.
- Slave Trade Fort at Ponta Romero Lighthouse: It is an open plan historical monument where slaves were auctioned off, and is also a look out point for incoming ships.
- Nacole Baobab – Located inside the bay at Pemba Dive & Bush Camp Resort. An eco-friendly nature estate with 3 types of mangrove estuaries, bird watching, a secluded sunset beach fire with savanna bush. You can walk inside 9m2 hollow ancient Nacole Baobab amongst 40 existing Baobab trees and see Large Split Face bats hanging above. During the war this tree served as a hiding place for refugees.
- Paquitequete: – 1km after Ponta Romero Light house:
This old traditional fishing village will take you back in time witnessing the traditional trading, lifestyle, building and repairing of the ancient Dhows, which are still active today. Be careful where you step!
- Nkwita Lake: – One hour drive from Pemba. The lake collects its fresh water from the surrounding rivers creating a permanent wet land which attracts migrant species and waders. The lake is home to a very prolific bird life, with reed nesting birds constructing nests in the surrounding Savanna Bush. Fresh water birds such as, Raptors and Storks feed on the surrounding bright coloured amphibians. Amongst the vast bird population the rare Dickinson’s Kestrel has been sighted, and Fish Eagles are resident there. Day trips can be arranged.
- Maconde Arts and Crafts: The Maconde Tribe pride themselves as skillful sculptors, creating expressive and aesthetic helmet masks, which are used by dancers with vigor and emotion at the traditional festivals and ceremonies.
- Snorkeling Have to get out to Pemba Dive Reef 100m in front of the dive shop on Wimbe Beach to get to the corals for a good snorkel. Marine life is absolutely amazing and with a bit of luck you will get the chance to swim with the dolphins. The coral reef on the Londo peninsula that closes the bay of Pemba also offers great possibilities for snorkeling.
- Jungle hiking in Ngezi forest. In Konde, take a motorbike to the park administration office, which is at the main road crossing the forest. Alternatively, sleep in one of the hotels along the coast and organize a hike there. You have to take a guide. It is possible to do a rather short hike (about Tsh 20,000) or a longer one (about Tsh 60,000) which will cross the forest and end at the northern beach.
The bay offers protection to an extensive variety of soft and hard coral that attract a legion of species, even the rare 1,000kg oceanic sunfish, large potato bass, Napoleon wrasses, dolphins, whales and turtles. Ideal for professional and novice marine photographers, in warm and calm waters.
2009 proved to have the biggest display of Humpback Whales with up to 5 whales at a time often seen on the shore breaching. It is incredible to dive with the orchestra of the male whales singing their mating rituals right throughout the dive between July-October.
The bay is the perfect hunting grounds for kingfish, dogtooth tuna, great barracuda, couta, dolphin fish and wahoo.
This region has year round diving conditions. Shortie wetsuits are usually worn with temperatures from 26C to 29C. July and August is winter, it can drop to 24C.
- Pemba Dive, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A registered PADI Resort Business and DAN Business Membership based on Wimbi Beach, with Pemba Dive Reef 100m in front of dive centre. Now offering EFR 1st Aid, speciality dive courses up to divemaster level.
- [dead link] CI Divers, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. PADI certified instructor at the dive shop, running courses up to divemaster.
- Pemba Arti Lodge, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The owners of Pemba Arti Lodge situated on the peninsula that closes the bay of Pemba are PADI certified instructor and divemaster. They organise dives close to the lodge on a stunning untouched coral reef. They also run courses up to divemaster. Don't hesitate to visit our web page for further information.
- Banguia Authentic Traditional Market Baraca meaning Cheap Shop is a traditional shopping village. It is a long 2km road just above Av. Da Marginal (coastal road). Selling everything a local Mozambican would need as well as arts and crafts, even the Tinman making stoves & pots and Tailors sewing in the side of the road.
Avoid ivory, coral, shells and turtle shell said to be sold at the market, since this is sold contrary to Mozambican and International Law. Coral serves its purpose either dead or live. It is a home, breading and feeding grounds to juvenile marine life.
You can not buy plastic shells and most imitation turtle shell, are not plastic. Test it by tapping it against your teeth, bone against bone is the animal. All shells are alive when harvested; dead shells no longer get washed up anymore. Live shells have a shine when it is killed and the animal removed. Shells that die from natural causes will build up saline sediment and with in a week loose its shine. A bigger crime are juvenile shells been sold, there no way reproduction can occur.
Rather, purchase natural materials such as coconut fibre, bamboo or wooden arts and crafts. Careful with blackwood: it is scarce and grows very slowly, taking a lifetime to grow as thick as your arm. Just buying arts and crafts from/next to stall/vendor, that sell shells or coral will still encourage the illegal sales. Vendors, who claim their ignorance, ask for patience and sympathy are often dishonest. Tough love is the best solution.
- Mar e Sol, Wimbe Beach. Delicious fish and chips in spicy citrus sauce.
- Pemba Dolphin, Wimbe beach, ☏ , . Good seafood dishes. M100-250.
- Restaurante Discoteca Wimbe, Wimbe beach, ☏ , . Come here for a hot Mozambican atmosphere.
- 1 Restaurante 556, Old Town, ☏ . 11AM to late. Great view of the bay and good ribs, beef, eisbein and chicken.
- Potbelly Restaurant, Nacole Bay at Pemba Dive & Bush Camp, ☏ . In Nacole Bay at Pemba Dive & Bush Camp offers Traditional home cooked meals, at times buffet style with fresh seafood and selected meats, vegetarian dishes, light mid-day snack and beach barbeque.
- Star Fish, Rua III (Oposit the migration office). closed weekends. Nice view over the harbor. Clean. 250-300.
Camping & Budget
- 1 [dead link] Pemba Magic Lodge ('Russel's Place'), (former Cashew Camp), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Known in Pemba as "the campsite", Pemba Magic Lodge and Blackfoot Bar is the main meeting spot in Pemba in Namibi Village 3km from Wimbi Beach. Rent a Bungalow with the bathroom ensuite, bring your own tent or rent one.
- Pemba Dive & Bush Camp, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Based on Wimbe Beach & inside Nacole Bay an eco-friendly coastal Resort offers beach front chalets (B&B), sea view backpacker units and camping. Optional is communal self catering or Potbelly restaurant. Wifi internet in the Backpacker shop, games & activity room, Dolphin and whale watching, PADI diving, kayaking through the mangroves, archery, bird watching, nature walks, mud bath, at night beach camp fire and drumming.
- 2 Pemba Arti Lodge, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Based on Londo, the peninsula that closes the bay of Pemba this eco-friendly lodge offers beach front bungalows (B&B) and backpackers' rooms. Self catering is possible. Host table with French cooking is also available for guests under a wide restaurant and bar hut. Internet is available. PADI diving, water skiing, buoy pulling, kayaking through the mangroves, archery, French bowling, bird watching, nature walks and many other activities to discover. Don't hesitate to visit our website for further information.
- 3 Verani Beach Lodge. Among the cheaper options at the northern tip of the island. Accomodation is in basic rooms with private toilet and shower. The owner is very friendly and helpful. Breakfast included, lunch and dinner available (Tsh 20,000) 35$.
- Nautilus Beach Resort, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. offers thatched seaside bungalows (two bedrooms, airconditioned), a restaurant, casino and a diving and water sports operation.
- Ondazul, (linked to Pemba Dolphin), ☏ , .
- 4 [dead link] Londo Lodge, ☏ . An exclusive and private hideaway beach resort north of Pemba town bordering the Quirimbas National Park. This boutique hotel opened her doors 2 years ago and has a reputation for hiding the rich. Diving, Game Fishing, Spa facilities, bush walks, dolphin watching. US$600.- person/night FB
- 5 Pemba Beach Hotel (Outside Pemba, 1 km from Nautilus), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A large Arabian style open plan hotel with 60 sea-facing rooms including 2 suites and some interconnected rooms suited for families. All rooms have balconies or terraces, en suite bathrooms, air conditioning, mini-bar, satellite TV, direct dial telephone, coffee/tea making facilities, electronic safe, international plug sockets and hair dryer. Also has 8 two-story villas with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms each, and all the above amenities plus fully equipped kitchens and washing machines and dryers and electronic safes. The villas are serviced and accommodate a maximum of 6 guests.
Hitch hiking around Pemba is safe. There is public busses on the main routes at 5mts. Check the rates before getting in. A taxi ride from the airport to the furthest part of town could cost around 7 dollars = 15km during the day. Charges for transfers with some Hotel shuttle are free, except at 04h00 or early hours of the morning.
Small US$ notes are reluctantly exchanged, and in some cases not, as banks give locals a tough time when they try and exchange these. Try keep small notes to a minimum, but they are useful for taxi rides and curio purchases.
The beach curio sellers usually mark up substantially. Start negotiations at a quarter of their price and never settle for more than 60%. They negotiate hard, but walk away and they will follow you. Walk away should animals, shells or coral is sold.
- Quirimbas Islands - Around 30 islands that stretch starting from Pemba in the south to the town of Palma in the north. They are one of the world’s best fishing and diving destinations, with phenomenal vertical drop-offs, some up to 400 meters. Pemba has the largest fan coroal in Africa. The southern islands include an expanse of forests in the Quirimbas National Park. Islands include Ibo, Matemo, Medjumbe, Quilalea, Vamizi, Rongui and Macoloe.
- Ilha de Mozambique - seven hours drive to the south, a beautiful and haunting island, once the capital of the country under Portuguese rule.