Prison Island

Enter your dates to find available activities

Prison Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

  • Stone Town & Prison Island Private Tour (Transfers & Lunch)

    1. Stone Town & Prison Island Private Tour (Transfers & Lunch)

    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 and have lunch 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, snorkel and take pictures with giant tortoises.  See the colorful schools of black snappers, orange lined triggerfish, spotted garfish, barracudas, longfin bannerfish, emperor angelfish, rabbitfish, clown triggerfish, and many more.

    We had a very nice walk in Stone Town and then with a boat to Prison Island. It was indeed very interesting and fun. The snorkling spot, wasn´t the best though. Not much to see, but I guess you can´t combine everything at one. If you´re more into snorkling then there are other trips worthy for you. The lunch in the typical african restaurant was also very interesting and the place was really full. Enjoy!

  • 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. 

    It was nice and beautiful very professional Guide, Good knowledge and English speaking

  • Zanzibar: Prison Island Tour with Lunch on the Sandbank

    3. 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...

    Great experiencie. Great kidness. very fexible on time and leen to help taking a lot of pictures. Very nice food in the amazing sand bank. Guide sprint some extra time to show souvenir shops back in the town after the trip.

  • Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

    4. Zanzibar: Changuu Island and Stone Town Tour with Lunch

    The tour begins with a private boat trip to Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island or Turtle Island. The island earned its name after it was purchased in 1893 by the British First Minister of Zanzibar who constructed a prison complex here. Although no prisoners were ever housed on the island, it was eventually used as a quarantine station for yellow fever sufferers, and later became home to more than 50 tortoises who still live there today. On the island, enjoy some free time to explore the beauty of this wild paradise, and get up close to the tortoises that roam freely. Some of the tortoises here are more than 100 years old, and you can even get close enough to feed them and take photos. You can also find peacocks and antelope on the island, then cool off in the crystal clear waters during a snorkel session in search of marine life, colorful fish, and coral reef. After your visit...

    The tour was great! Communication about the meet-up could be improved (I just had a random person come to me and hand me the phone to talk to the people who’d booked the trip in Dar); but overall I enjoyed the prison island and stone town tours. There are two separate guides, both very kind and friendly!

  • From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

    5. From Stone Town: Private Tour to Prison Island

    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: Speedboat Cruise to Prison Island

    6. Zanzibar: Speedboat Cruise to Prison Island

    Head to the island by traditional dhow sailing boat on a 20-minute ride from Azam Marina. Then, embark on an adventure around Prison Island with a private 2-hour speedboat ride.  Relax on the cruise while soaking up the sun and looking at the scenic views. Choose from a variety of activities, including snorkeling, swimming, or sunbathing on the beaches. Opt to visit a giant tortoise sanctuary and discover the local wildlife and ecosystems. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the island, bring your own barbecue goodies to throw on the grill, or explore the local restaurants and bars. Make use of the onboard refridgerator to cool your drinks during the cruise.

Other Sightseeing Options in Prison Island

Want to discover all there is to do in Prison Island? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Prison Island

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 73 reviews

We had a very nice walk in Stone Town and then with a boat to Prison Island. It was indeed very interesting and fun. The snorkling spot, wasn´t the best though. Not much to see, but I guess you can´t combine everything at one. If you´re more into snorkling then there are other trips worthy for you. The lunch in the typical african restaurant was also very interesting and the place was really full. Enjoy!

Haji was great. We knew very little about the area and learned a ton about the country from him. Having lunch included was a great perk!

Haji was a great guide, real good tour of Stone Town, lots of useful information, highly recommended.

It was nice and beautiful very professional Guide, Good knowledge and English speaking

Our tour guy was really prepared, helpful and ready to every question we had.