Prison Island

Prison Island

Prison Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

Zanzibar: Stone Town, Spice Tour and Prison Island Day Tour

1. Zanzibar: Stone Town, Spice Tour and Prison Island Day Tour

Take a walking tour of Stone Town, visit an organic spice farm, and explore the historic Prison Island all in one day on a full-day, guided tour of Zanzibar. Meander through a labyrinth of chaotic alleyways between towering limestone houses, and interact with Aldabra tortoises. Start your day with a walking tour of Stone Town, the oldest part of Zanzibar City. Relive the grander age of this port city as you stroll through the twisting streets and look at former palaces, Sultan’s Palace, and Arab mansions. Get an insight into the tragic history of slave trading. After your walking tour, drive to the plantation and learn why Zanzibar is known as “Spice Island”. Smell, touch, and even taste some of the crops grown on this Island and find out what the spices were originally used for. Finally, take a boat ride offshore to Prison Island, home to large land tortoises that were imported from Seychelles. Get to touch and feed these creatures living in a sanctuary. Also, learn about the island’s historic use as a prison for rebellious slaves in the 1860s.

Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

2. Prison Island: Private Half-Day Tour

This private guided half day tour can begin any time from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Meet your well-trained guide and boatman as your board your steam-engine wooden boat. Head to the prestigious island and enjoy the 30-minute journey.  Listen to the history of the island and discover the past centuries through the historical buildings, which have served many purposes over the years including a prison, chapel, and hiding place for slaves after the abolition.  Enjoy a swim or snorkel around the colorful coral rocks and turquoise waters. Play with giant tortoises and you may take photographs with these old precious creatures. If you do not have much experience or confidence in the water, you will be provided with a life jacket. 

Mnemba Island Tour, Prison Island, Jozani Forest, The Rock

3. Mnemba Island Tour, Prison Island, Jozani Forest, The Rock

Enjoy a complete full day tour to get to know a breathtaking highlights of Zanzibar, experiencing the natural beauty of Zanzibar with all your senses. Save time and optimize a good value for money. Explore Mnemba Island Atoll Zanzibar! Enjoy Snorkeling, swim with playful Dolphins, and relax on a shallow water Sandbank. Discover natural beauty of Prison Island! Witness The giant tortoise which is an iconic Zanzibar species. Visit Jozani Forest where you will interact in close proximity with our beautiful and friendly Red Colobus Monkeys. Visit The Rock Restaurant Zanzibar! One of the most iconic views of Zanzibar! We have exclusive surprise added values, free upgrades, and extras to make sure that this excursion is your special getaway in Zanzibar. Lunch at The Rock Restaurant is extra supplement.

Zanzibar: Stone Town Guided Tour with Prison Island

4. Zanzibar: Stone Town Guided Tour with Prison Island

This is a half a day trip where you can visit a historical street constructed from coral stone during the 19th and 20th century. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. Stone Town is a very lively place where you’ll find a combination of Arabic, African, Indian and European cultures living happily together. As you walk through the labyrinth of streets too narrow for cars to pass, you can see mosques, churches and temples side to side. While you wonder around the city, your guide will take you on a historical and cultural journey through the old slave market, the House of Wonders, the Old Fort, Sultan’s Palace , Darajani market place and Forodhani Gardens . Afterwards we will take a boat from the shores of Stone Town, setting down anchor 5 km away, on the beautiful beach of Prison Island. The prison – which is now owned by a hotel – was built in 1893 and was originally intended to house violent prisoners from the mainland and sick people. You will get the opportunity to visit the tortoise sanctuary, which contains a large colony of giant tortoise imported from the Seychelles in the late 19th century. The average weight of these creatures is 200 kg, and many of them are said to be over 150 years old. There will be a chance to touch the tortoise and take photos. The island is also a home to a colony of beautiful peacocks. For the rest of the trip, you can either enjoy the marine life as you snorkel around the coral that fringes Prison Island or just relax under the warm glow of the sun, until you head back to Stone Town.

From Zanzibar: Half-Day Prison Island Tour

5. From Zanzibar: Half-Day Prison Island Tour

Visit Prison Island on a private 3-hour tour, and discover the rich history and beautiful natural surroundings of this location. Meet your guide in Zanzibar, or select the option including hotel pickup, then enjoy the ride to the island on a traditional dhow. Learn how this small island gained its name and explore the place that is now home to more than 50 tortoises, some over 100 years old.   Feed the tortoises and take up-close pictures with them, as you keep a look out for the peacocks and antelope that also live there. After discovering the island and its history, take the opportunity to snorkel in the clear waters off the coast amongst tropical fish and colorful coral. At the end of your tour, return to Zanzibar, where you’ll be dropped off in the city center, or at your hotel.

Zanzibar: Prison Island& Nakupenda Sandbank beach With Lunch

6. Zanzibar: Prison Island& Nakupenda Sandbank beach With Lunch

Morning: Meeting Point: Customers gather at the designated meeting point, excited for the adventure ahead. The air is filled with anticipation as they meet their guide and fellow travelers. Boat Departure: The group boards a comfortable boat, setting off from the shores of Stone Town, Zanzibar. The boat gently glides over the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, offering stunning views of the coastline. Prison Island: Arrival at Prison Island: The boat docks at Prison Island, and visitors disembark onto the sandy shores. The island, with its historical prison and lush greenery, welcomes them. Guided Tour of the Prison: A knowledgeable guide leads the group through the historic prison, sharing tales of its past. Customers explore the old cells, hearing stories about the prisoners and the island's transformation over the years. Giant Tortoise Encounter: The highlight of Prison Island is the encounter with the giant Aldabra tortoises. Customers marvel at these majestic creatures, some of which are over a century old. They have the opportunity to feed and interact with the tortoises, creating unforgettable memories. Leisure Time: Visitors have some free time to relax on the beach, take a swim in the crystal-clear waters, or explore the island's nature trails. The scenic surroundings provide an ideal backdrop for photos and moments of tranquility. Nakupenda Sandbank: Boat Ride to Nakupenda Sandbank: After a delightful time on Prison Island, the group boards the boat again, heading towards Nakupenda Sandbank. The journey offers panoramic views of the turquoise sea. Arrival at Nakupenda Sandbank: The boat docks on the pristine, white sands of Nakupenda. Customers step onto the soft, untouched beach, surrounded by the shimmering waters of the Indian Ocean. Beach Picnic and Snorkeling: A beach picnic is set up, featuring a delicious spread of local delicacies. Customers savor the flavors while lounging on the beach. Snorkeling equipment is provided, allowing them to explore the vibrant underwater world surrounding the sandbank. Relaxation and Water Activities: Visitors have ample time to relax on the sand, sunbathe, or engage in water activities like beach volleyball and paddleboarding. The warm sun, gentle breeze, and pristine surroundings create a perfect tropical paradise. Afternoon: Return to Stone Town: As the day comes to an end, the boat takes the group back to Stone Town. Customers relive the memories of Prison Island and Nakupenda Sandbank, cherishing the unique experiences of history, nature, and relaxation. Farewell: The adventure concludes with a fond farewell from the guide and fellow travelers. Customers disembark, filled with the magic of Zanzibar's captivating islands and the beauty of the Indian Ocean. The memories of the day will linger as they carry the essence of the Prison Island and Nakupenda Sandbank experience with them

Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

7. Stone Town: Stone Town and Prison Island Private Day Trip

See the National Museum of Zanzibar (rebuilt in 1883) and the Arab fort while passing along bazaar streets towards the famous Freddie Mercury house. See the old slave market, fruit market, and spice market — don’t miss the classic Zanzibar curved doors decorating the stone town.  After you have explored Stone Town, you’ll have an opportunity to take a short break before heading to Prison Island. Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island, the nickname came from the island being used by some sultans of Zanzibar to detain enslaved people. While you are on this island, you can swim and take pictures with giant tortoises. 

Zanzibar: Prison Island & Jozani Forest Guided Tour

8. Zanzibar: Prison Island & Jozani Forest Guided Tour

Come and experience a unique place called Prison Island and learn more about Zanzibar’s history. Prison Island gets its name from the prison built to condemn Zanzibari citizens to be isolated from the island. The prison was previously owned by an Arab to house his rebellious slaves, the prison was never actually used, and the island is now home to a tortoise sanctuary and a hotel. Prison Island is 20 minutes away from Stone Town by boat and has spectacular coral reefs for you to enjoy. Giant tortoises shuffle through the trees, with the infinite patience that old age brings. Originally thought to be from the Comoros Islands and Seychelles, some of these tortoises are thought to be over 100 years old. After the trip to the tortoise sanctuary, you´re left to explore the island. If you´re feeling active, you can follow one of the hiking trails, snorkel in the crystal clear waters in search of colourful tropical fish darting through the reef or soak up some sun on the white beach. Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park, Zanzibar Tanzania Jozani Forest is in the south of the island and is the largest area of mature forest in Zanzibar. A car will take you there, and a guide will walk you around the ancient hardwood forest and mangrove swamps. It is also home to the Red Colobus monkeys, unique to Zanzibar, with less than 2000 remaining in the world. A boardwalk around the mangrove swamp at the end of the tour and a visit to the giant turtle sanctuary is also included.

Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

9. Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

Your Zanzibar adventure begins with a visit to Prison Island, purchased in 1893 by Lloyd Mathews, the British First Minister of Zanzibar at the time. Mathews constructed a prison complex on the island which is still visible today, however no prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers. On the island, spend some time exploring the area and discover the collection of over 50 tortoises that live here, some of which are more than 100 years old. Learn about why the tortoises call the island their home, as well as taking photos and feeding them too. The island is also home to peacocks and small antelope too. Once you’ve explored the island, enjoy the opportunity to cool off from the hot weather with a refreshing dip in the surrounding crystal clear waters. Spend some time snorkeling in the water just off the island and search for colorful tropical fish and vibrant coral reef. After you’ve worked up an appetite from swimming, relax on the sandbank with a delicious lunch including a seafood BBQ, Swahili cuisine, cheese, tropical fruit, and more.

Spice Tour, Prison Island and Stone Town Tour

10. Spice Tour, Prison Island and Stone Town Tour

Spice Farm Your program will start in the morning after breakfast at 9:30 you will be picked up from the hotel to spice farm where you will explore and see different types of spice and how they grow up plus tasting the seasonal fruits then you will be heading to prison island for excursions and then later back to stone town for city tour The Spice Tour is one of the most popular excursions in Zanzibar, the Spice Island. Zanzibar was one of the world’s leading producers of spices such as clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Tour takes you to an organic farm with a wide variety of plants around the year. You don’t just see, you also touch, smell, and taste. Spices and herbs were originally introduced to Zanzibar by Portuguese traders in the 16th century, brought from their colonies in South America and India. This tour is a walking tour of a spice farm (shamba). While there, you shall see how the spices, herbs, and fruits grow and are cultivated. Your tour guide will describe how the crops can be used. You will be smelling and tasting spices, herbs, and tropical fruits such as clove, lemongrass, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, coconuts, papaya, chili, black pepper, jackfruit, cardamom, cassava, and oranges. After the tour, you will enjoy a traditional Swahili lunch at the farm. Here is when you can really taste the different ways of using spices. Prison Island prison island (changuu island) is where the giant tortoises are found relaxing on the beach shrubs, Prison Island Zanzibar: The Aldabra Giant Tortoise sanctuary is a major tourist lure and the oldest tortoise is 200 years old. The turtles are not indigenous and are magisterial creatures, weighing in at an average of 200 kg some are as old as over 100 years. You will enjoy a nature trail, then will do a stone town tour where you can see the historical sites, slave markets, daily markets, narrow streets, and later shopping. Stone Town The historic capital city of Zanzibar is Stone Town, a prominent city with an impressive cultural heritage and history dating back to the 19th century. Zanzibar reflects a mixture of diverse cultural influences from Arabian, Indian, Persian and European cultures, was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in the year 2000.

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What people are saying about Prison Island

Overall rating

4.4
(180 reviews)

Good tour of prison island and snorkeling trip with Mussa. The weather was overcast and water was a bit rough but it was still a nice experience. We communicated over text regarding the meeting point which was helpful and reassuring as we met in the busy seaport. Tour of the island was informative and very interesting. And then the snorkeling around the island was fantastic, even though the weather was not. We would highly recommend to anyone looking to go visit this place.

Our German-speaking guide Salim was super nice and very informative. The driver was also great. We were out all day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Everything went smoothly. 😌 Fresh water was always provided and we were super satisfied and would do it again and again 🙏 Unbeatable price

Our guide met us right on time; everything was well organized and worked out smoothly. He also made sure to adjust to our preferences in a very flexible way. We really enjoyed the tour.

It was a very nice experience, everything was great and our tour guide and driver very friendly and helpful!

Terrible weather but guide was great and we saw some black monkeys and 1 red one