Unlike Unguja, which is flat and sandy, Pemba’s terrain is hilly, fertile and heavily vegetated. The early Arab sailors called it ‘Al Huthera’, meaning ‘The Green Island’. Today more cloves are grown on Pemba than on Zanzibar Island. Pemba has a wealth of natural resources ranging from beaches to mangrove ecosystems to natural forests. The coral reefs surrounding the island protect a multitude of marine species and offer some of the best scuba-diving in the world. Zanzibar Island is connected to the African continent by a shallow submerged shelf. Pemba, however, is separated from the mainland by depths of over 1000 m. During September and March the visibility around Pemba has been known to extend to a depth of 50 m and there are great game fish such as sharks, tuna, marlin and barracuda. While much of the coast is lined with mangroves, there are a few good stretches of shoreline and attractive offshore islands with pure, clean beaches and interesting birdlife. There are also some important ruins and charming Swahili villages.The tourism industry here is still in its infancy and the infrastructure is still quite basic, but is slowly beginning to develop, with new lodges opening up and a few more foreigners visiting than before, although nothing on the scale of visitors to Zanzibar.
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