Pemba is a port town located on the south side of the world's third-largest natural bay, with a population of around 100,000. It is the most important centre in Northern Mozambique with banks, patisseries, supermarkets and restaurants, though it retains a rural ambience with its potholed streets. Pemba is also renowned as being a prime destination for water sport and diving enthusiasts, as a coral reef lies close to the shore.
The town was built over rolling hills, and most people live in wooden huts set among the numerous thick baobab trees. Local languages that are spoken are Kimwani and Macua, although Portuguese is widespread. In the centre of Pemba, there is an authentic local market or Souk, where arts and crafts, as well as traditional silverware can be bought.
Pemba is the closest major city and airport for those who wish to visit Quirimbas Archipelago. In the north of Mozambique is the Niassa National Reserve, which is one of the most remote safari regions in Southern Africa. Pemba provides the gateway between superb underwater activities and the gorgeous terrain of a Niassa safari.
Pemba was initially called Porto Amelia, after the Portuguese Queen, but was renamed Pemba after independence in 1975. The city still retains its colonial charm with beautiful Portuguese architecture.
Pemba used to be a major port, but today it is the gateway to the romantic Quirimbas Archipelago on the northern coastline of Mozambique and the Niassa National Reserve.
Turquoise seas, palm-fringed beaches, excellent diving, game-fishing and bush drives are all included in a visit to Pemba. It truly offers accessibility to all the charms of Mozambique, from culture, to beach activities, to history and to a safari.
Pemba's interesting history as a port for ivory and slave trade gives it a haunting past, but also a sense of value and interest for visitors today.
Pemba is fast becoming one of Mozambique’s premier tourist destinations, with intrepid divers able to explore exciting and largely unchartered waters. Hard and soft coral and a legion of fish species and marine invertebrates create a spectacle of colour in the translucent waters, which rarely drop below 26 degrees Celsius.
Fishing enthusiasts don’t have to travel far from Pemba for thrilling encounters with big game fish. The northern Mozambican waters around Pemba produce some of the most exciting game fish to catch and release – Kingfish, Barracuda, Dorado, Queen Mackerel, Queenfish, Pompano, Prodigal Son, and Jobfish to name but a few.
On Pemba's outskirts are several colourful and vibrant neighbourhoods. The most intriguing is Paquitequete, which is on the south-western edge of the peninsula and is Pemba's oldest settlement; a fantastic and intriguing place to visit, this village has a memorable sunset ambience.
The climate in Mozambique is tropical, however it varies in the different regions of the country. Generally, the inland areas are slightly cooler and more humid than along the coast in the rainy season.
The best time to travel to Mozambique is during the winter months, which is also the dry season, lasting from April to September. The southern parts of the country are generally drier and less tropical than the north, with temperatures along the coast averaging 27 degrees Celsius. The best time for game viewing is during the months of August to September, towards the end of the dry season.
The summer months, also the rainy season, coincide with the heat and humidity from October to March, with average coastal temperatures of 31 degrees. The best time for bird-watching is usually December to April.
Nuarro Lodge is located in a tranquil isolated venue near Pemba in northern Mozambique. A small, couples-friendly resort that has an emphasis on relaxation with a nice side-line in water sports. The real appeal of Nuarro is the remoteness of the place; a glorious step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The beautiful Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa is situated on the coastline of Pemba Bay, one of the world's largest deep water bays. Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa caters for leisure as well as business guests and offers luxury accommodation, breath-taking views and idyllic spa treatments.
Londo Lodge is a private boutique hotel in Pemba situated on a private peninsula offering a superb beach and bush combination experience.
Most flights into Mozambique land in the largest and capital city, Maputo. Maputo International Airport receives regular flights from South Africa, however, should guests be adding Mozambique as a destination after an East Africa safari, there are private charter flights available from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Nairobi in Kenya.
There are also direct flights from South Africa to the Bazaruto Archipelago in the centre of Mozambique and the Quirimbas Archipelago in the far north. Sun Safaris will arrange whichever flights into the country best suit guests' itineraries.
Self-driving from South Africa to Mozambique is an option and is often an option for local holiday-makers. The road from Johannesburg, via Nelspruit, to Mozambique is in good condition and well-tarred. Should guests be flying to their destination, Sun Safaris will arrange for light air or road transfers from Maputo to booked accommodation.