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The Ultimate Travel Guide to Pemba, Mozambique

Welcome to Pemba, a coastal paradise in Mozambique known for its sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. This haven for divers, water sports enthusiasts, and beach lovers boasts a range of attractions, from the Quirimbas Archipelago to the intriguing Mecufi shipwreck. Here, visitors can explore untouched beaches, diverse marine life, and significant historical landmarks.

The city of Pemba itself offers a glimpse into the local culture with its bustling markets, colonial architecture, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima. Not to be missed is the nearby Mozambique Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing centuries-old fortresses, churches, and stunning ocean views.

Pemba stands out as an 'off the beaten track' destination, offering a truly rustic and authentic African adventure. Far from the usual tourist hotspots, this hidden gem provides an experience that's raw and unfiltered, ideal for those seeking an escape into a more untouched and genuine side of Africa.

With its rugged landscapes, vibrant local culture, and pristine natural beauty, Pemba isn't about luxury or opulence; it's about immersing oneself in the true essence of African life. Here, travelers can engage with the local community, explore the rich biodiversity, and experience the unspoiled charm of a region that has remained largely unchanged by the hands of modern tourism. This is a place for adventurers who want to experience the heart and soul of Africa, away from the polished veneer of luxury holiday destinations.

General Information

Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado province, is nestled on a peninsula in Pemba Bay. Despite its somewhat run-down appearance, the city is equipped with all modern amenities, set amidst rolling hills and Baobab trees, and steeped in African, Arab, and Portuguese traditions. Its tropical climate and proximity to coral reefs make it a prime spot for water sports and diving.

Getting There

Accessible by road or air, with flights available from Johannesburg through Airlink, Pemba can be reached via tarred roads connecting it to Nampula and Ilha de Mozambique. Some routes may require 4×4 capability.

Pemba Weather

Pemba's tropical, humid climate ranges from 22°C to 32°C, with sea temperatures ideal for swimming and water sports. The rainy season lasts from December to April. The cooler period within the dry season, from June to August, is particularly comfortable, with temperatures usually hovering around a more moderate range. This is the perfect time for outdoor activities like exploring the local markets, diving, snorkeling, and enjoying the beautiful beaches without the discomfort of excessive heat or rainfall.

Conversely, the wet season occurs from December to April. This period is marked by higher temperatures and humidity, with frequent rainfall. While the wet season brings lushness to the landscape and can be a unique time to experience Pemba's natural beauty, it's also important for travelers to be prepared for occasional heavy downpours and strong winds that can occur during these months.

Overall, Pemba's weather, with its warm tropical climate, offers something for every type of traveler, whether one prefers the drier, cooler months for exploration or the vibrant, lush wet season for a different kind of adventure.

What to See & Do in Pemba

  • Marine Life: Pemba's bay shelters a wide range of soft and hard coral, attracting diverse sea species including rare sunfish, potato bass, dolphins, whales, and sea turtles, making it a haven for marine photographers and enthusiasts.

  • Water Sports: With the coral reef just 100m off the shoreline and warm tropical waters, Pemba is a prime destination for divers and snorkelers.

  • Fishing: Enjoy year-round fishing, with peak Sailfish season from July to December. Fishing expeditions can be arranged through local lodges.

  • Cultural and Historical Sites: Experience Portuguese colonial architecture and visit the Slave Trade Fort at Ponta Romero Lighthouse. Explore the local Maconde tribe's art, known for their traditional ‘helmet masks’ and ebony sculptures.

  • Natural Attractions: Visit the ancient Nacole Baobab, a colossal tree with a storied history, and Nkwita Lake, a wetland attracting diverse animal and birdlife.

  • Excursions: Arrange trips to Quirimbas Archipelago and National Park and Niassa National Reserve and Lake, home to four of the Big Five animals.

  • Local Markets: Discover traditional arts and crafts at Banguia Authentic Traditional Market Baraca and other local markets.

Pemba's Best Restaurants

  • Club Naval: Renowned for its fast service and exceptional seafood.

  • Pemba Dolphin: A tropical-style bar offering stunning beach views.

  • Locanda italiana: talian cuisine and pizza with a touch of refinement.

  • Pemba Magic Lodge: Known for its friendly atmosphere and value for money meals.

  • Kauri: An Indian and African fusion restaurant, perfect for business lunches.

  • O Por Do Sol: An Italian and African restaurant offering a new culinary experience.

  • The Nautilus Restaurant & Bar: Indulge in exquisite culinary delights at The Nautilus Hotel's Restaurant, where the fresh flavors of Mozambique meet breathtaking ocean views.

Stay at The Nautilus Hotel

The Nautilus Hotel stands out as the premier choice for accommodation in Pemba, offering a unique blend of comfort, culture, and convenience. Nestled on the picturesque Wimbi Beach, it provides guests with an idyllic beachfront experience, combining the serene beauty of the Mozambican coast with modern amenities and exceptional service. Each thatched bungalow is equipped with modern comforts including WiFi & Satellite TV channels, ensuring a stay that is both relaxing and productive. The hotel's strategic location not only offers easy access to Pemba's vibrant town center and local attractions but also serves as an ideal base for exploring the rich marine life and unspoiled landscapes of the region. Whether you're in Pemba for leisure or business, The Nautilus Hotel promises an unforgettable stay, immersing you in the best of Mozambican hospitality and charm.


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