Prison Island Zanzibar

Prison Island Zanzibar : Changuu Island, also called Prison Island (sometimes called Kibandiko, Prison, or Quarantine Island), is a small island located 5.6 km northwest of Stone Town, Unguja, Zanzibar. It takes around 30 minutes by boat to get there from Stone Town. Although it appears as “Kibandiko Island” on some outdated maps, this name is no longer in use. Changuu is named from the Swahili name of a fish that is commonly found in the surrounding seas.

At its widest point, the Prison Island is around 230 metres wide and 800 metres long. The Prison Island was once owned by an Arab and used to keep rebellious slaves in preparation for the construction of a prison. However, no prisoners were ever kept on the island; instead, it served as a quarantine centre during yellow fever outbreaks. About half the year was spent at the station; the other half was spent as a well-liked vacation spot. The island was gifted by the British governor of the Seychelles and is now a government-owned Tanzania tourism destination. It is home to a collection of critically endangered Aldabra giant tortoises. The Arabs sold the island, primarily because the slave trade had been outlawed. On the island, a prison serving Zanzibar was constructed and finished in 1894; this is how the prison earned its name.

General Lloyd Mathews purchased it, and the name “PRISON ISLAND” comes from the jail (goal), which was constructed in 1893 and is still there today. Changuu received a gift in 1919 from the British ruler of the Seychelles, four enormous tortoises named Aldabra. This species has been added to the IUCN Red List and is now deemed vulnerable. The welfare of the tortoises is overseen by a devoted foundation on the island. The tortoises are available for viewing and feeding by visitors.

What to do in Prison Island

Visit the Giant tortoises

Some of the enormous tortoises that were formerly a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles are housed in the ancient prison, which is still standing. These tortoises have proliferated and are now limited to this island and the cells. You will have the chance to see the gigantic tortoise colony, which is housed at the tortoise sanctuary. These animals weigh 200 kg on average, and several are thought to be over 150 years old. The tortoises will be available for visitors to pet, feed, and take pictures of. Beautiful peacocks live in a colony on the island.


You have a fantastic opportunity to get into the sea and have an amazing time if snorkelling is your thing. Until you return to Stone Town, you can spend the remainder of your stay lounging in the warm warmth of the sun or taking in the marine life while snorkelling around the coral that surrounds Prison Island. You can schedule snorkelling to take place during your stay here.

Prison Island Zanzibar

Visit Lloyd Mathews building

Lloyd Mathews constructed the jail in 1893. The plan for the jail was to transfer violent offenders from the mainland of Tanganyika to jail Island. Instead of being used as a prison, the Prison Island was ultimately turned into a quarantine centre for yellow fever outbreaks that had previously ravaged the area. The government still owned Prison Island, and it turned the more recent quarantine buildings into a guest house. The building is still standing, and you are welcome to stroll about and see its architecture.

This ceased to function but has since been reopened as a hotel by a private company. There are 15 holiday cottages in the northwest of the island as well as a tennis court, swimming pool and library and the old European Bungalow has been turned into a restaurant named after Mathews Freshwater is transported to the island via an underwater pipe from the Zanzibar mainland.

The island is still owned by the government, which charges a US$4 entry fee.  The old prison remains standing, providing shelter for some of the tortoises and the cells can be visited.

Where to stay in  Zanzibar

Surrounded by some of the best beaches on Earth, Zanzibar Island is a treasure in the seas. Here, you can spend an hour swimming, snorkelling, or just relaxing while dolphin pods play offshore and shoals of bright fish graze on surrounding coral gardens.

Zanzibar safari vacations are popular as a post- Tanzania safari option, but they may also be an excellent stand-alone getaway. The accommodations available on the main island are remarkably varied, ranging from modest beach huts and small boutique hotels to luxurious hotels and all-inclusive beach resorts. Additionally, almost all beach hotels have restaurants that provide standard western food, albeit to differing degrees of quality. Beachside lodging is typically more expensive, with the lowest rates beginning at TSh 50,000.Refer to the specific articles for a list of hotels:

Kiwengwa is a superb choice for those seeking the best that Zanzibar has to offer, including its most remote beaches with flour-like sand and maximum isolation; the snorkelling is excellent and the marine life is exceptional. Among Zanzibar’s liveliest beaches are found in Nungwi, for a more cheerful trip along the shore. All the same, Zanzibar’s best deals are in Jambiani and Pongwe, if you’re looking for a quieter experience that’s closer to nature’s gifts than the beach. Paje is the ideal destination for anyone planning to go kite boarding while in Zanzibar. Lastly, Bwejuu is an excellent location to take advantage of Zanzibar’s natural treasures for budget-conscious tourists.

Here, you will undoubtedly discover a laid-back lifestyle, which makes it the ideal Tanzania safari tours destination for a beach vacation. There are plenty of places to unwind, as well as blue waters and palm palms.


One of Zanzibar’s most extensively developed coastlines is Kiwengwa. Beyond that, it’s possibly Zanzibar’s most remote and unique area. The beaches in this area have white sand, which makes it popular. Actually, Kiwengwa beaches are renowned for their prime locations and services that cater to tourists.

Although there are many eateries, bars, and other tourist-friendly businesses in this area, the vast, sandy beaches are what draw in the majority of Tanzania safari tour visitors. Kiwengwa is not only ideal for romantics, but also for younger tourists who want to meet new people and have hassle-free amusement since they frequently take the time to explore the nearby villages.

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