Pemba Island, known as "The Green Island" in Arabic (الجزيرة الخضراء), is an island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, lying off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is situated about 50 kilometres to the north of the Unguja (the island proper of Zanzibar). In 1964 Zanzibar was united with the former colony of Tanganyika to form Tanzania. It lies 50 kilometres east of mainland Tanzania, across the Pemba Channel. Together with Mafia Island (south of Zanzibar), these three islands form the Spice Islands (not to be confused with the Maluku Islands of Indonesia). In 1988, the estimated population was 265,000, with an area of 980 km².
Most of the island, which is hillier and more fertile than Zanzibar, is dominated by small scale farming. There is also large scale farming of cash crops such as cloves — there are over 3 million clove trees.
In previous years the island was seldom visited due to inaccessibility and a reputation for political violence, with the notable exception of those drawn by its reputation as a center for traditional medicine and witchcraft. There is a quite large Arab community on the island who immigrated from Oman. The population is a mix of Arab and original Waswahiliinhabitants of the island. A significant portion of the population also identifies as Shirazi people.
The most important towns in Pemba are Chake-Chake (the capital), Mkoani, and Wete, the largest city. The centrally located Chake-Chake is perched on a mound with a view to the west on a bay and the tiny Misali island where the tides determine when a dhow can enter the local harbour. Pemba is, with the exception of a strip of land along its east coast, a very fertile place: besides clove trees, the locals grow mainly rice, coconut, bananas, cassava and red beans, called maharagwe in Swahili.
Pemba is also becoming well known for its dive sites, with steep drop-offs, untouched coral and very abundant marine life.
Pemba Airport is also known as Wawi Airport or Karume Airport and connects the island to Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.