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,” it is usually 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 function.

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 might be discovered right here.

The primary attraction of this island is undoubtedly the Tortoise Sanctuary, the place you may see big Aldabra tortoises within the wild.

With so many alternative names floating round, it’s simple to get confused. However don’t fear! We’re right here to information you and provide you with all the knowledge it is advisable to go to Jail Island in Zanzibar.

Associated learn: Most Popular Day Trips from Zanzibar

Right here is an summary:

The place is Jail Island in Zanzibar?

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

A ship experience to succeed in it takes about 25 minutes, however remember that the water can get tough at occasions, which may barely lengthen the length of your journey.

Though the island will not be very giant, solely 800m lengthy and 220m huge, it has a wealth of sights and experiences to supply.

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

What to see on Jail Island

There are numerous tortoises on Jail Island, and they’re undoubtedly the primary attraction.

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

When you’re fortunate, you would possibly even pet these wonderful creatures and take photos.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to keep in mind that as friends of their habitat, we must always respect their area. Don’t attempt to drive them to do something or decide 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 the earth; some can weigh as much as 200kg! What makes them really exceptional is that they’re believed to be among the many longest-living creatures on the earth. The oldest tortoise on Changuu Island is estimated to be a formidable 196 years previous. You’ll discover that a few of these lovely creatures have numbers on their shells indicating their age.

Initially from the Aldabra Atoll within the Seychelles, 4 of those unbelievable 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 as a consequence 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 function, from a spot of exile to a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures, was largely as a consequence 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 troublesome to identify.

The second most fascinating attraction on the island is undoubtedly the jail ruins. There are benches and a bar the place you may get pleasure from a beer or espresso throughout your go to. Remember the fact that it may be a bit dear, however having such a tremendous view along with your drink would possibly make up for it! The restaurant there’s referred to as the “Jail Restaurant.”

Curiously sufficient, you may go snorkeling close to Jail Island after your go to. It has change into fairly common with guests in search of extra water actions. Simply ask the captain of your boat journey to take you there, as it will be inconceivable to succeed in this spot from shore, and the water is extremely clear, providing nice visibility of the marine life throughout the reef.

When is one of the best time to go to Jail Island?

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

First, tortoises are keen and able to eat at the moment. They’ll 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 scorching, they are typically extra lively and transfer round a bit extra (although don’t count on them to run all over the place). It’s all inside tortoise limits.

To benefit from your expertise with out feeling uncomfortable because of the 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, keep in mind that as a result of the mornings are common 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.

How you can get to Jail Island?

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

Nevertheless, in case you occur to be strolling alongside one of many two seashores in Stone City, chances are high that you can be approached by people providing personal boat charters. Most of those boats are motorized dhows, that are about 7 meters (22 toes) lengthy and identified for his or her modern hull design. The price of this boat journey might be negotiated and often decreases per particular person when extra individuals be part of the journey. When you’re on a good funds, it’s potential to hitch a gaggle and avoid wasting cash.

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

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

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

Personal tour to Jail Island in Zanzibar

You may prepare private tours to Prison Island for 3 hours.

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

Embark on an fulfilling journey aboard a standard dhow as you meet your information in Zanzibar or are picked up out of your resort in case you choose.

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

Price: $50 (Only $33 on Fridays and Saturdays!)
Length: 3 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

Book the experience directly with the tour operator here

The bundle consists of:

  • personal boat transportation
  • Entrance charge
  • Educated native information
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Refreshing consuming 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 big tortoises that inhabit this island. Swim alongside colourful fish and marvel on the awe-inspiring surroundings that surrounds you.

Later, calm down and unwind on enchanting sandbars as in case you had been fortunate sufficient to find them your self.

Price: $94
Length: 6 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

Book the experience directly with the tour operator here

The bundle consists of:

  • A scrumptious BBQ lunch
  • Handy boat transportation
  • Entrance charges are coated for you
  • An informative native information to boost your expertise
  • High-of-the-line snorkeling tools supplied on your comfort
  • Refreshing consuming water out there 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 personalised 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 other people of the realm whereas having fun with a standard meal.

Start your journey with a personal boat experience to Changuu Island, the place you’ll have the liberty to discover at your individual tempo. Make the most of the chance to immerse your self within the native tradition and stand up shut and private with the island’s native turtles.

Cool off out of your adventures by snorkeling the pristine waters looking 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 completely explored Changuu Island, make your method 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 Web site. Work together with locals as you store for a wide range of items that really seize the essence of East Africa.

Absorb the allure 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).

Price: $92
Length: 6 hours
Free cancelation as much as 24 hours earlier than

Book the experience directly with the tour operator here

Your tour consists of:

  • Admission Charges
  • Information charges
  • Refreshing consuming water
  • Scrumptious lunch
  • Snug boat switch
  • Educated native information
  • Snorkeling gear on your enjoyment

Boat and security on water

A lot of the boats out there are lengthy motorized boats with a solar shade. They will not be essentially the most snug, however they’re adequate for the brief journey to Turtle Island.

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

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

Typically, the journey doesn’t take lengthy and is comparatively secure. These captains sail this route a number of occasions 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 price for native guests is 15 USD or 3000 TSH, whereas the entry charge for Minai Conservation is 6000 TSH.

There are two cost cubicles which are simple to identify. First you need to pay on the reception desk and you then 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 worth as adults.

Bank cards should not accepted at the moment, 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 wish to maximize their expertise right here, spending an evening in one of many motels on Changuu Island may very well be an fascinating possibility.

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

The Changuu Island Lodge presents facilities like swimming pools and various kinds of rooms to swimsuit completely different preferences. The lodge presents 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 supply 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 can see elegant decor and en-suite loos on 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 absolutely.

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

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

Switch in Zanzibar

As an alternative of the inconvenience and expense of calling a taxi firstly or finish of your journey, select this handy and quick different. You may have two decisions.

You may reap the benefits of a private airport transfer to Stone Town, which is reasonably priced, secure, and cozy.

Alternatively, you may select the personal switch choice to travel between any point on the island of Zanzibar. Whether or not from the airport to a seashore resort or out of your resort to wherever else on the island, you could have full freedom to determine the place you wish to go.


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