Prison Island Zanzibar

Zanzibar consists of various islands that form the great Zanzibar archipelago. The natural area which is part of Tanzania provides so much to watch when on your vacation tour, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday routine. Some of the places to visit here include the historic prison Island.

This island which is commonly known as Changuu Island is small but interesting, found 5km in the north-west of Stone town in Zanzibar archipelago. It spans over an area of about 800m long and 230m wide, and the ancient prison building is now home for giant tortoises.

The island was used by the Arab people as a slave prison for “stubborn” slaves between the 1860s and 1890s, the same island was later sold to the British government to be used as a quarantine station during the yellow fever disease epidemic and contagious diseases.

It became an important tourist site a year after the government of Zanzibar took it over and is now open for tourists with a number of activities done here. It is a residence for Aldabra tortoises because they started from Aldabra Island.

The island is home to numerous butterflies, birds, shy duikers and more which makes it a good tourist attraction you can’t miss out.

Activities at the prison island


Take an offshore tour using a boat and then swim deeper in the water to enjoy coral reefs and play with the dolphins in the ocean.

Guided tour

Move around the prison where you will find the old prison building which is also a shelter for Aldabra giant tortoises.

Chilling at the beach

Relax as you watch nature and the skies. The activity also includes sunbathing, photography, sightseeing and a lot more.

Best time to visit Prison Island in Zanzibar

The place can be visited all year round since it has cool weather but the most favorable time is during the dry season since all activities can be done without interruption of rain.

How to access the Prison Island?

The island is accessed by boat from stone town which takes close to half an hour cruising on the water to the north-west of the town. There is a private resort on the island which provides the best accommodation services and delicious meals.

Spending only a day on this historic island is a worthwhile experience but more fun to spend two or more days.

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