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Methods to Go to Jail Island in Zanzibar


In the event you’re planning a visit to Zanzibar in Tanzania, you’ve most likely 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 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 specific island; solely tortoises could be discovered right here.

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

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

Associated learn: Most Well-liked Day Journeys from Zanzibar

Right here is an summary:

The place is Jail Island in Zanzibar?

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

A ship experience to achieve it takes about 25 minutes, however remember that the water can get tough at instances, which may barely lengthen the period of your journey.

Though the island just isn’t very giant, solely 800m lengthy and 220m broad, 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 loads of tortoises on Jail Island, and they’re positively the principle attraction.

Some folks might 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!

In the event you’re fortunate, you may even pet these wonderful creatures and take photos.

Nevertheless, it’s necessary to do not forget that as company of their habitat, we must always respect their house. Don’t attempt to power 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 planet; 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 planet. The oldest tortoise on Changuu Island is estimated to be a formidable 196 years outdated. 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 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 resulting from 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 ‘susceptible,’ pressing motion was required by the authorities, and eighty hatchlings had been relocated to Jail Island to supply 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 resulting from its geographical isolation, which offered them with a protected haven.

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

The second most attention-grabbing 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. Understand that it could be a bit expensive, however having such an incredible view along with your drink may make up for it! The restaurant there’s referred to as the “Jail Restaurant.”

Apparently sufficient, you may go snorkeling close to Jail Island after your go to. It has turn into fairly common with guests searching for extra water actions. Simply ask the captain of your boat journey to take you there, as it will be unimaginable 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 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 sizzling, they are usually extra lively and transfer round a bit extra (although don’t count on them to run in all places). It’s all inside tortoise limits.

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

Nevertheless, do not forget 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.

Methods 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, likelihood is that you may be approached by people providing personal boat charters. Most of those boats are motorized dhows, that are about 7 meters (22 ft) lengthy and recognized for his or her glossy hull design. The price of this boat journey could be negotiated and normally decreases per individual when extra folks be a part of the journey. In the event you’re on a decent funds, it’s potential to hitch a gaggle and avoid wasting cash.

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

Unauthorized guides can be topic to important fines, which may complicate your trip. To make sure a easy and hassle-free expertise, it’s advisable to guide 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 personal excursions to Jail Island for 3 hours.

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

Embark on an pleasing journey aboard a standard dhow as you meet your information in Zanzibar or are picked up out of your lodge in the event you want.

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

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

E book the expertise immediately with the tour operator right here

The bundle consists of:

  • personal boat transportation
  • Entrance price
  • 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 the event you had been fortunate sufficient to find them your self.

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

E book the expertise immediately with the tour operator right here

The bundle consists of:

  • A scrumptious BBQ lunch
  • Handy boat transportation
  • Entrance charges are lined for you
  • An informative native information to boost your expertise
  • High-of-the-line snorkeling tools offered in 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 seaside 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 folks of the realm whereas having fun with a standard meal.

Start your journey with a non-public boat experience 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 seeking 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 solution 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.

Be taught extra about Stone City by visiting notable landmarks such because the Outdated 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 really seize the essence of East Africa.

Absorb the attraction 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).

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

E book the expertise immediately with the tour operator right here

Your tour consists of:

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

Boat and security on water

Many 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 the event you’re fortunate, you gained’t even get moist. Nevertheless, folks with bodily disabilities might 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 necessary to notice that life jackets are required on all boats, so please inform the captain in the event you want to put on one.

Generally, the journey doesn’t take lengthy and is comparatively protected. These captains sail this route a number of instances a day and are very aware of it.

A useful suggestion could be to take some photos of your self aboard the boat as you method 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 price for Minai Conservation is 6000 TSH.

There are two fee cubicles which might be straightforward to identify. First you must pay on the reception desk and then you definately get your tickets at hand 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.

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

Bank cards usually are 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 need to maximize their expertise right here, spending an evening in one of many lodges on Changuu Island could possibly be an attention-grabbing possibility.

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

The Changuu Island Lodge provides facilities like swimming pools and various kinds of rooms to go well with completely different preferences. The lodge provides 27 room choices divided into two classes.

There are 15 luxurious deluxe cottages discreetly located alongside the ocean line on the northwest facet 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 snug temperature all through the day and night time.

Inside these spacious lodging, you’ll discover elegant decor and en-suite loos in your consolation.

As well as, every cottage has a non-public out of doors veranda dealing with the ocean, permitting you to benefit from the ocean’s breathtaking views and soothing sounds absolutely.

On a special be aware, there are additionally 12 charming commonplace rooms positioned in Stone City’s former quarantine space constructed again in 1931. Situated on the southwest facet 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 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 a substitute of the inconvenience and expense of calling a taxi originally or finish of your journey, select this handy and quick different. You could have two selections.

You’ll be able to reap the benefits of a personal airport switch to Stone City, which is reasonably priced, protected, and cozy.

Alternatively, you may select the personal switch choice to journey between any level on the island of Zanzibar. Whether or not from the airport to a seaside lodge or out of your lodge to anyplace else on the island, you’ve full freedom to resolve the place you need to go.



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