Just off the coast of Stone Town is where you’ll find Changuu Island – also known as ‘Prison island’. The island gets its name from its history. If you’re looking for fascinating things to discover and a bit of adventure during your vacation, this spot may just be it!
A brief history
Prison Island is a 30-minute boat ride away from Stone Town which is 1 hour and 22 minutes from The Residence Zanzibar. The island was formerly owned by an Arab who deemed the island fit for the confinement of prisoners, the prison complex was built during the mid-1890s. However, the island was left unoccupied and the island became a quarantine station for the whole of East Africa.
What is the island today?
The British governor of Seychelles gifted four Aldabra tortoises to Changuu; these species are considered vulnerable. One side of the island acts as a refuge to these giant sea tortoises with a dedicated foundation looking after the welfare of these animals. A 5-minute walk across the island will lead you to the ruins of the former prison. A quick trip to the island from your Zanzibar beach resort is worth it.
What can you do?
You can opt for a tour around the historic prison island when in Tanzania, where you can observe the tortoises out of which the oldest is 192 years old. The other marine life on the island is also pretty diverse, which makes snorkelling a pleasant experience.