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Geography and Landscape


The Zanzibar Archipelago (Arabic: Zinj el-Barr = land of the blacks) is now a province of Tanzania and consists of three main islands, Unguja or Zanzibar Island, Pemba and Mafia, and a large number of smaller islands. Unguja lies about 35 km off the coast of mainland Tanzania, Pemba lies about 40 km northeast of Unguja. The Zanzibar archipelago is separated from the mainland by the Zanzibar Channel.

Zanzibar Topographical MapZanzibar Topographical MapPhoto: Public domain

Unguja* is up to 100 km long and 35 km wide and has a total area of about 1650 km2; Pemba is up to 70 km long and 23 km wide. Some of the other islands are no bigger than a coral rock.

* When Zanzibar is mentioned further in the text, it refers to the main island of Unguja.


Zanzibar is generally quite flat, with more hills in the west and centre of the island; the highest point is 120 metres.

Sunset ZanzibarSunset ZanzibarPhoto: Rasheedhamis CC 4.0 Internation no changes made


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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