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Learn how to Go to Jail Island in Zanzibar

When you’re planning a visit to Zanzibar in Tanzania, you’ve in all probability heard of “Jail Island.” Typically known as “Changuu Island” or “Turtle Island,” additionally it is referred to as the Tortoise Sanctuary.

The identify Jail Island in Zanzibar comes from its historical past as a former jail, though it was by no means used for that goal.

Changuu Island will get its identify from the abundance of fish within the surrounding waters – Changuu is the Swahili phrase for fish.

Though referred to as Turtle Island by vacationers, there are no turtles on this explicit island; solely tortoises could be discovered right here.

The primary attraction of this island is undoubtedly the Tortoise Sanctuary, the place you’ll be able to see large Aldabra tortoises within the wild.

With so many various names floating round, it’s simple to get confused. However don’t fear! We’re right here to information you and offer you all the data you must go to Jail Island in Zanzibar.

Associated learn: Most Fashionable Day Journeys from Zanzibar

Right here is an outline:

The place is Jail Island in Zanzibar?

Positioned within the northwestern a part of Stone City, this website is barely 5.6 km or 3.5 miles from Stone City, making it conveniently near the town and ideal for a fast go to.

A ship journey to achieve it takes about 25 minutes, however bear in mind that the water can get tough at instances, which may barely prolong the length of your journey.

Though the island shouldn’t be very massive, solely 800m lengthy and 220m extensive, it has a wealth of sights and experiences to supply.

Beach at Changuu Island - Prison Island in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Seaside at Changuu Island – Jail Island close to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

What to see on Jail Island

There are a number of tortoises on Jail Island, and they’re undoubtedly the principle attraction.

Some folks could mistakenly name them turtles, however technically they’re tortoises. There are about 100 of them; you’ll be able to stroll amongst them and even feed them. They’ve lettuce for breakfast proper on the bottom!

When you’re fortunate, you may even pet these superb creatures and take photos.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to do not forget that as company of their habitat, we should always respect their house. Don’t attempt to pressure them to do something or choose them up – the worst factor you are able to do is sit on them!

These Aldabra tortoises are one of many largest tortoise species on this planet; some can weigh as much as 200kg! What makes them actually exceptional is that they’re believed to be among the many longest-living creatures on this planet. The oldest tortoise on Changuu Island is estimated to be a powerful 196 years outdated. You’ll discover that a few of these stunning creatures have numbers on their shells indicating their age.

Initially from the Aldabra Atoll within the Seychelles, 4 of those unimaginable tortoises had been generously donated by the Governor of the Seychelles within the 18th century. Their inhabitants grew to round 200 people.

Sadly, their numbers started to say no quickly within the Sixties because of poaching. These magnificent creatures had been both stolen for consumption or saved as unique pets. Shockingly, by 1980, there have been solely 100 full-grown people left alive, and sadly, that quantity dropped drastically to simply seven by 1996.

Confronted with such an alarming decline, and with the Aldabra tortoise being listed as ‘weak,’ pressing motion was required by the authorities, and eighty hatchlings had been relocated to Jail Island to offer shelter for this endangered species. This shift within the island’s goal, from a spot of exile to a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures, was largely because of its geographical isolation, which supplied them with a secure haven.

Along with tortoises, Jail Island can be residence to some peacocks, birds, and small, elusive duikers – tiny antelopes which are tough to identify.

The second most fascinating attraction on the island is undoubtedly the jail ruins. There are benches and a bar the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in a beer or espresso throughout your go to. Needless to say it is likely to be a bit dear, however having such a tremendous view together with your drink may make up for it! The restaurant there’s referred to as the “Jail Restaurant.”

Curiously sufficient, you’ll be able to go snorkeling close to Jail Island after your go to. It has develop into fairly widespread with guests searching for extra water actions. Simply ask the captain of your boat journey to take you there, as it could be unattainable to achieve this spot from shore, and the water is extremely clear, providing nice visibility of the marine life throughout the reef.

When is the perfect time to go to Jail Island?

The best time to go to is within the morning for a number of causes.

First, tortoises are keen and able to eat right now. They are going to actively eat meals out of your hand or forage for themselves.

Second, as a result of it’s early within the day and never too sizzling, they are usually extra energetic and transfer round a bit extra (although don’t anticipate them to run in every single place). It’s all inside tortoise limits.

To take advantage of your expertise with out feeling uncomfortable as a result of warmth, leaving Stone City at 9am is ideal timing. The temperature received’t be scorching, and also you’ll get to see the turtles at their finest – a win-win state of affairs.

Nevertheless, do not forget that as a result of the mornings are widespread with guests such as you, there could also be some congestion as boats dock and undock. There could also be a brief wait to get on or off the boat, however nothing too lengthy.

Learn how to get to Jail Island?

Sadly, there aren’t any public ferries to take you to Jail Island.

Nevertheless, in the event you occur to be strolling alongside one of many two seashores in Stone City, chances are high that you may be approached by people providing non-public boat charters. Most of those boats are motorized dhows, that are about 7 meters (22 ft) lengthy and identified for his or her modern hull design. The price of this boat journey could be negotiated and often decreases per individual when extra folks be a part of the journey. When you’re on a decent funds, it’s doable to hitch a gaggle and avoid wasting cash.

Nevertheless, warning is suggested as arranging your personal journey could lead to being cheated or ending up on an unsafe vessel.

Unauthorized guides may also be topic to important fines, which may complicate your trip. To make sure a clean and hassle-free expertise, it’s advisable to ebook an organized tour as a substitute.

Arrival to Changuu Island - Prison Island near Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Arrival to Changuu Island – Jail Island close to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Non-public tour to Jail Island in Zanzibar

You’ll be able to prepare non-public excursions to Jail Island for 3 hours.

Throughout this time, you’ll be able to be taught in regards to the island’s fascinating historical past and admire its breathtaking surroundings.

Embark on an gratifying journey aboard a conventional dhow as you meet your information in Zanzibar or are picked up out of your resort in the event you choose.

Expertise the fascinating story of how this small island obtained its identify and now serves as a sanctuary.

Value: $50 (Solely $33 on Fridays and Saturdays!)
Period: 3 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

E-book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

The package deal contains:

  • non-public boat transportation
  • Entrance payment
  • Educated native information
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Refreshing ingesting water
Snorkeling near Changuu - Prison Island near Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Snorkeling close to Changuu – Jail Island close to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Jail Island tour with lunch on the sandbank

Begin your tour by heading to Jail Island, the place the journey begins.

Discover the beautiful underwater world and meet the magnificent large tortoises that inhabit this island. Swim alongside colourful fish and marvel on the awe-inspiring surroundings that surrounds you.

Later, loosen up and unwind on enchanting sandbars as in the event you had been fortunate sufficient to find them your self.

Value: $94
Period: 6 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

E-book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

The package deal contains:

  • A scrumptious BBQ lunch
  • Handy boat transportation
  • Entrance charges are lined for you
  • An informative native information to reinforce your expertise
  • High-of-the-line snorkeling gear supplied in your comfort
  • Refreshing ingesting water accessible all through the journey
  • Tasty snacks to maintain you energized
Nice beach in Changuu Island - Prison Island near Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Good seashore in Changuu Island – Jail Island close to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone City Tour with Lunch

Embark on a customized day journey to 2 of Zanzibar’s most well-known sights – Changuu Island and Stone City. Immerse your self within the wealthy historical past, tradition and folks of the world whereas having fun with a conventional meal.

Start your journey with a personal boat journey to Changuu Island, the place you’ll have the liberty to discover at your personal tempo. Benefit from the chance to immerse your self within the native tradition and rise up shut and private with the island’s native turtles.

Cool off out of your adventures by snorkeling the pristine waters in the hunt for vibrant marine life, colourful fish and beautiful coral reefs. This refreshing exercise enhances your exploration of the island’s peacocks and antelopes.

When you’ve totally explored Changuu Island, make your option to Stone City – an East African metropolis steeped in cultural and historic significance. Marvel at its magnificent Nineteenth-century structure, with influences from Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian and European civilizations.

Study extra about Stone City by visiting notable landmarks such because the Previous Slave Market and the Metropolis Market after studying about its nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Website. Work together with locals as you store for quite a lot of items that actually seize the essence of East Africa.

Take in the appeal of Stone City by exploring fascinating websites such because the Palace Museum, the Home of Marvel (Beit-el-Ajaib) and Freddie Mercury’s childhood residence. To finish this enriching expertise, take a second to go to the Pure Historical past Museum (Nyumba ya sanaa) and the Peace Memorial (Mnara wa amani).

Value: $92
Period: 6 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

E-book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

Your tour contains:

  • Admission Charges
  • Information charges
  • Refreshing ingesting water
  • Scrumptious lunch
  • Comfy boat switch
  • Educated native information
  • Snorkeling gear in your enjoyment

Boat and security on water

A lot of the boats accessible are lengthy motorized boats with a solar shade. They will not be probably the most comfy, however they’re ok for the brief journey to Turtle Island.

Getting on and off the boat is simple, as most have a small ladder, and in the event you’re fortunate, you received’t even get moist. Nevertheless, folks with bodily disabilities could discover it a bit difficult and require extra time.

As talked about above, the water can get uneven at instances, inflicting some bouncing. It’s vital to notice that life jackets are required on all boats, so please inform the captain in the event you choose to put on one.

Normally, the journey doesn’t take lengthy and is comparatively secure. These captains sail this route a number of instances a day and are very acquainted with it.

A useful suggestion could be to take some photos of your self aboard the boat as you strategy Stone City or Jail Island.

Boat to Snorkeling to Changuu - Prison Island near Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Boat to Snorkeling to Changuu – Jail Island close to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

How a lot does it price, the place to pay and what are the opening hours?

The fee for native guests is 15 USD or 3000 TSH, whereas the entry payment for Minai Conservation is 6000 TSH.

There are two fee cubicles which are simple to identify. First it’s a must to pay on the reception desk and then you definately get your tickets handy over to the ticket collector, which is about 10 meters away. It’s important to have these tickets as they permit entry to the turtle sanctuary.

Youngsters as much as the age of eight are admitted freed from cost, whereas these over eight pay the identical value as adults.

Bank cards should not accepted right now, however there are rumors that they are going to be within the close to future.

Hours of operation begin at 9:00 am and finish at 5:30 pm.

Staying in a single day on Changuu Island

For many who need to maximize their expertise right here, spending an evening in one of many lodges on Changuu Island could possibly be an fascinating choice.

You’ll get to get up with none vacationers round and revel in all this distinctive location has to supply.

The Changuu Island Lodge gives facilities like swimming pools and several types of rooms to swimsuit completely different preferences. The lodge gives 27 room choices divided into two classes.

There are 15 luxurious deluxe cottages discreetly located alongside the ocean line on the northwest aspect of the island. These cottages provide the utmost in privateness and seclusion whereas being constructed with native supplies and conventional thatched roofs to create a cushty temperature all through the day and night time.

Inside these spacious lodging, you will see that elegant decor and en-suite loos in your consolation.

As well as, every cottage has a personal outside veranda going through the ocean, permitting you to benefit from the ocean’s breathtaking views and soothing sounds totally.

On a unique notice, there are additionally 12 charming normal rooms situated in Stone City’s former quarantine space constructed again in 1931. Positioned on the southwest aspect of the island, these rooms provide magnificent views of Stone City itself. As with the opposite lodging on the lodge, every room has its personal en-suite toilet.

Pool at the Changuu Island Lodge on Prison Island, Zanzibar.
Pool on the Changuu Island Lodge on Jail Island, Zanzibar.

Switch in Zanzibar

As a substitute of the inconvenience and expense of calling a taxi firstly or finish of your journey, select this handy and quick different. You’ve two selections.

You’ll be able to reap the benefits of a non-public airport switch to Stone City, which is reasonably priced, secure, and comfy.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to select the non-public switch choice to journey between any level on the island of Zanzibar. Whether or not from the airport to a seashore resort or out of your resort to anyplace else on the island, you’ve got full freedom to resolve the place you need to go.



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