Prison island or Changuu is an island about 5.6 km north west of Stone town, Zanzibar. In the 1860s the island was used as a prison for rebellious slaves and also as a coral mine. The island was later purchased by the first British minister who then constructed a prison complex although it was never used as a prison. The island was used as a quarantine station for yellow fever cases. The island today is home to Aldabra giant tortoises that originated from Seychelles as a gift, a restaurant, holiday bungalows, a library and a swimming pool. However the island is still owned by the government and there is an entrance fee of 4 USD. There are various activities that you could do at prison island like snorkeling,see the Giant tortoises and visit Lloyd Matthews architecture.
We stayed in stone town the first two days we got to Zanzibar and our air bnb guy suggested that we should take a take a day trip to prison island. Getting to prison island is easy and you can get a boat which takes 30 mins. We paid 50000 Tanzanian shillings for a return trip, a group of 5 and also managed to get some snorkeling gear too!. The price could vary depending on your bargaining skills and i think we got that fair price because of our new friend. The trip to the island is so beautiful and scenic and we even saw some floating bungalows which we later found out could be rented at 50 USD for a night!How cool is that!.We decided to start with some snorkeling before doing anything on the Island.
After the snorkeling we went to see the endangered Aldabra giant tortoises one of the largest tortoise in the world, and even got to feed them!.The species is now considered vulnerable and there is a foundation on the island that takes care of their welfare. The tortoises are enormous!! And no you are not allowed to seat on them, feeding them will do just fine LOL. Afterwards we went to the old European bungalow that has now been converted into a restaurant known as Matthews. On our way there we bumped into a pleasant surprise, a peacock!. So regal.
You can grab a well deserved cold bottle of water or some lunch at the restaurant there if you need to . We then went down for a swim on the beautiful beach, good vibes and some yoga on the beach before heading back on the boat to Stone town. Prison island was amazing and we had a really wonderful afternoon there. I would highly recommend a visit there for everyone while visiting Zanzibar.
Wishing everyone a lovely day, cheers!
Yogie On The Move.