Changu or Prison Island Zanzibar

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Changu or Prison Island Zanzibar

Changuu Island (also known as Kibandiko, Prison or Quarantine Island) is a small island 5.6 km northwest of Stone Town, Unguja Zanzibar. The island is around 800m long and 230m wide at its broadest point. The island saw use as a prison for rebellious slaves in the 1860s and also functioned as a coral mine.

Now it is more commonly known as the home of Zanzibar’s Giant Aldabran Tortoise colony, some of which are over a hundred years old! This endangered species came to Zanzibar as a gift from the government of Seychelles.

Approximately one kilometer long and a ¼ kilometers wide the island offers some of the most pristine swimming and snorkeling conditions in crystal clear waters.

Prison (Changuu) Island earned its name as a former prison for slaves and a quarantine station for Zanzibar and the mainland. Nowadays the island gives you the chance to escape for some peace and quiet. A hundred-year-old Giant Tortoises act as unlikely vigilantes over the island, and you can’t help but wonder what tales they would tell, if only they could talk!

Once on the island, you have the opportunity to feed and pet the tortoises and if you have time, you can do a spot of snorkeling. (Equipment hire not included). A relaxing walk around the island, past peacocks and mango groves take about half an hour.

Birds inhabit the woods, but the most famous residents are its giant land tortoise probably brought from Aldabra in Seychelles near the end of the last century. There are a bar and restaurant and the island is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

You may also like to take a stroll through the forested interior where you will see a wide variety of birds, colorful peacocks, bats, and beautiful butterflies. Keep your eyes peeled too for the shy and elusive Duikers – an unusual tiny antelope species.


Things to do at Prison island  Zanzibar
Day trips to prison island Zanzibar


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