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Sleepy Fundu Lagoon

Fundu Lagoon has beautiful beaches and is on the south-western side of Pemba Island. This sleepy island is an ideal place for a honeymoon or just to relax and unwind. For the more energetic, Pemba is listed as one of the top diving locations in the world; there is a fully-equipped PADI Resort Diving Centre and a wide range of water sports including snorkelling and kayaking.

Pemba Mesali Marine Sanctuary is worth a visit, especially for the beach lovers. Spend time relaxing on the white beach or snorkelling on the numerous reefs around the sanctuary. The protected reefs provide home to an exceptional range of sea life. Pristine corals attract vast numbers of reef fish and animals coming in from deeper waters. It is quite probable here that you will bump into manta, eagle rays, barracuda and other game fish. For sun-lovers and dry-land-lovers, the Mesali beaches are superb and it is possible to go for nature trails with trained wardens through this island marine sanctuary including a walk on turtle nesting beaches.

The warm Indian Ocean waters surrounding Pemba Island are home to thousands of species of tropical fish and exotic marine life. Pemba is renowned not only for its pristine and unspoilt coral reefs but also for its vertical coral cliffs, which plummet to depths of more than 800 metres (2,500 ft). Underwater visibility often reaches 40 metres (130 ft) or more. Looking over the precipice of some of the outer walls can be a mind-blowing experience. Watch out for the vertigo! There is a stunning wreck dive available to the south of Pemba Island at Panza, which is home to large groupers and Napoleon wrasse.

On a low tide, walking along the sand flats outside Fundu Lagoon will reveal an astonishing array of inter-tidal wildlife. This is particularly interesting for bird watchers as the waders, such as herons, ibises and egrets, flock to the area to hunt for small invertebrates and fish left behind on the sands and in the shallow sea pools. You can sometimes see the beautiful fish-eagle circling overhead and hear the shrieking of the brown-headed parrot in the trees. Other things to discover include many different shells, crabs, starfish and the peculiar mudskipper, a fish that can skip across the sands on its pectoral fins.

Other activities include traditional dhow sailing trips, which are are popular at sunset. Sail around the Fundu Lagoon bay on the wooden dhow, listen to the wind in the sails and the water lapping around the dhow as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean, turning the skies into a myriad of colours.

Fundu Lagoon lies on a peninsula with large expanses of mangrove. The mangrove ecosystem is a precious world abundant in wildlife – the mangroves sustain a wide variety of birdlife living alongside the large numbers of crabs, insects and fish which co-exist in this environment. You can visit this unexplored wilderness by taking a boat trip down the coast or by hiring a canoe and exploring the mangroves with a guide.

Ngezi Forest in the north of Pemba is a beautiful area of natural rain forest. It is full of spectacular trees and is populated by large numbers of birds and vervet monkeys. The best way to reach this forest from the south-west is by speedboat to Weshe, from where it is possible to drive northwards through the Pemba countryside, giving the chance to see some local village life on the way. Once at the forest a local guide will help you follow a nature trail which concludes with a picnic on one of Pemba’s most stunning stretches of beach.

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