Methods to Go to Jail Island in Zanzibar


When you’re planning a visit to Zanzibar in Tanzania, you’ve most likely heard of “Jail Island.” Generally known as “Changuu Island” or “Turtle Island,” it’s also referred to as the Tortoise Sanctuary.

The title Jail Island in Zanzibar comes from its historical past as a former jail, though it was by no means used for that objective.

Changuu Island will get its title 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 principle attraction of this island is undoubtedly the Tortoise Sanctuary, the place you’ll be able to see big Aldabra tortoises within the wild.

With so many alternative 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 data you should go to Jail Island in Zanzibar.

Associated learn: Most Widespread Day Journeys from Zanzibar

Right here is an outline:

The place is Jail Island in Zanzibar?

Positioned within the northwestern a part of Stone City, this website 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 journey to achieve it takes about 25 minutes, however remember that the water can get tough at instances, which might barely prolong the length of your journey.

Though the island will not be very giant, solely 800m lengthy and 220m broad, it has a wealth of points of interest 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 quite a lot of tortoises on Jail Island, and they’re positively the principle attraction.

Some individuals might mistakenly name them turtles, however technically they’re tortoises. There are about 100 of them; you’ll be able to 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 superb creatures and take footage.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to keep in mind that as company of their habitat, we must always respect their area. 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 this planet; some can weigh as much as 200kg! What makes them actually exceptional is that they’re believed to be among the many longest-living creatures on this planet. The oldest tortoise on Changuu Island is estimated to be a formidable 196 years outdated. You’ll discover that a few of these stunning 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 as a result 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 ‘susceptible,’ 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 objective, from a spot of exile to a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures, was largely as a result of its geographical isolation, which offered them with a secure haven.

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

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

Curiously sufficient, you’ll be able to go snorkeling close to Jail Island after your go to. It has grow to be fairly standard with guests in search of extra water actions. Simply ask the captain of your boat journey to take you there, as it could be inconceivable to achieve this spot from shore, and the water is extremely clear, providing nice visibility of the marine life inside the reef.

When is the very 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 right now. They are going to 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 usually extra energetic and transfer round a bit extra (although don’t anticipate them to run all over the place). It’s all inside tortoise limits.

To benefit 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 greatest – a win-win state of affairs.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that as a result of the mornings are standard 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 are not 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, 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 toes) lengthy and identified for his or her modern hull design. The price of this boat journey might be negotiated and normally decreases per individual when extra individuals be part of the journey. When you’re on a good price range, it’s potential to hitch a bunch and avoid wasting cash.

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

Unauthorized guides may also be topic to vital fines, which might complicate your trip. To make sure a clean and hassle-free expertise, it’s advisable to e-book 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.

Non-public tour to Jail Island in Zanzibar

You possibly can organize personal excursions to Jail Island for 3 hours.

Throughout this time, you’ll be able to study concerning the island’s fascinating historical past and admire its breathtaking surroundings.

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

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

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

E book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

The package deal contains:

  • personal boat transportation
  • Entrance charge
  • Educated native information
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Refreshing ingesting 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 gorgeous 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.

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

E book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

The package deal contains:

  • A scrumptious BBQ lunch
  • Handy boat transportation
  • Entrance charges are coated for you
  • An informative native information to reinforce your expertise
  • High-of-the-line snorkeling tools offered to your comfort
  • Refreshing ingesting 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 customized day journey to 2 of Zanzibar’s most well-known points of interest – 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 non-public boat journey to Changuu Island, the place you’ll have the liberty to discover at your personal tempo. Reap the benefits 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 gorgeous coral reefs. This refreshing exercise enhances your exploration of the island’s peacocks and antelopes.

When you’ve totally explored Changuu Island, make your approach 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 Web site. Work together with locals as you store for quite a lot of items that actually seize the essence of East Africa.

Take in the allure of Stone City by exploring fascinating websites such because the Palace Museum, the Home of Surprise (Beit-el-Ajaib) and Freddie Mercury’s childhood dwelling. 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).

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

E book the expertise straight with the tour operator right here

Your tour contains:

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

Boat and security on water

A lot of the boats out there are lengthy motorized boats with a solar shade. They is probably not essentially the most comfy, however they’re ok for the quick journey to Turtle Island.

Getting on and off the boat is straightforward, as most have a small ladder, and in case you’re fortunate, you gained’t even get moist. Nevertheless, individuals 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 essential to notice that life jackets are required on all boats, so please inform the captain in case you choose to put on one.

On the whole, the journey doesn’t take lengthy and is comparatively secure. These captains sail this route a number of instances a day and are very acquainted with it.

A useful suggestion could be to take some footage 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 value, 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 might be straightforward to identify. First it’s important to 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.

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 right now, 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 resorts on Changuu Island could possibly be an fascinating choice.

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 several types of rooms to go well with 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 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 cushty temperature all through the day and night time.

Inside these spacious lodging, you will see that elegant decor and en-suite bogs to your consolation.

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

On a unique be aware, there are additionally 12 charming commonplace rooms situated in Stone City’s former quarantine space constructed again in 1931. Positioned 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 toilet.

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 initially or finish of your journey, select this handy and quick various. You will have two decisions.

You possibly can reap the benefits of a personal airport switch to Stone City, which is inexpensive, secure, and cozy.

Alternatively, you’ll be able to select the personal switch choice to journey between any level on the island of Zanzibar. Whether or not from the airport to a seashore 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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