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Plants and Animals

Popular destinations TANZANIA


Plants and Animals


Pemba is abundant with herbs, including large clove trees, henna and lemongrass. Pemba is known as Al Khundra which means 'the green island'; green rice fields, palms and clove plantations alternate. There are also some rubber plantations, banana plantations and a lot of cassava is cultivated.

On the Kigomasha Peninsula is the Ngezi Forest Reserve, where only 1500 ha of the original rainforest, mangrove swamp and coral vegetation remain.

The somewhat plump Pemba palm tree (Cressolido dibsis pembanus; locally called mpapindi), which is only found on Pemba, is special.


A number of species are endemic to Pemba, such as a subspecies of green guenon, Pemba blue diver, Pemba goldeneye, Pemba honey bird, Pemba puffin, Pemba little owl, swamp mongoose and Pemba flying fox, a fruit bat.

A small predator is the Javanese civet cat and also rats, mice, shrews and fourteen species of bat.

Pemba offers interesting, varied dive sites where there is plenty to see. At Njao Gap in the north, one finds table top coral, sea fans, wrasse and giant triggerfish. In some seasons, roundhead dolphins and humpback whales can be found on the east coast of the island.

Around the island of Mafia, you can see coral bommies, moray eels, blue spotted ribbon rays, sea turtles and guitar fish, dolphins, groupers, reef rays, crocodile fish, barracudas and sometimes a bull shark.

On Pemba, protected breeding areas have been established for the green sea turtle, the largest of the sea turtles.


Else, D. / Zanzibar

Finke, J. / Tanzania
Rough Guides

Fitzpatrick, M. / Tanzania
Lonely Planet

Heale, J. / Tanzania
Marshall Cavendish

Skinner, A. / Tanzania & Zanzibar

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
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