Zanzibar is a combination of different islands to form the great Zanzibar archipelago. This natural wonder is part of Tanzania and it offers a lot to view and visit while on your holiday safari. Among other places and activities to do include the prison Island.

The prison island is small and interesting located just about 5km north-western from stone town in the Zanzibar archipelago. The island is also known as Changuu Island, covering a distance of about 800m long and 230m wide. The name Changuu comes from the Swahili word of the type of fish that is so common around the island, all you need to know that the prison building is now used as a building for these tortoises.

This island was formally used by the Arabs as a slave prison for rebellious slaves in the 1860s and 1893; the British government bought the island to be used as a quarantine station for yellow fever and other contagious diseases

It became a tourist site after half a year or a full year after the government of Zanzibar took over the island and it’s now open for tourists with various activities done from there. The prison island is a home for Aldabra giant tortoises which were donated by the British governor. The tortoise gets the name Aldabra because they originated from Aldabra Island.

The island has more to see apart from the prison building and the Aldabra giant tortoise such as the butterflies, birds, shy duikers and more. This makes the island a good tourist attraction worth visiting.

Activities that are done at the prison island

Snorkeling: using the boat, take an offshore tour and swim deeper in the water, enjoy the coral reefs and play with dolphins in the ocean.

Guided tour around the prison, walk around the prison where you will visit the old prison building which is now a house for Aldabra giant tortoises.

Chill at the beach, relaxing at the beach of the prison island is the way to go as you watch nature and the skies. This will include sunbathing, sightseeing, photography moments among others.

When to visit Prison Island in Zanzibar?

Zanzibar weather is cool and this means that it can be visited all year round. But the recommended time is during dry season when all activities can be done without interruption of rains. Therefore, take a safari from December to February and June to August.

How to access the Prison Island in Zanzibar?

The island is accessed from Stone town by boat and it takes about 30 minutes to cruise on the water heading north-west of the town. Do not bather on where to sleep when you are planning to visit Prison Island, there is a private resort on the island that offers standard accommodation services.

Spending just a day on this island is memorable as most tourists would love it but it is more fun to spend two days and a night at the only accommodation resort on the island.



For more information, Go TO


Tour details

  • Tour Type Game Drive
  • Country Zanzibar
  • National Languages English & Swahili
  • Time Zone GMT+3