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Prison Island & Nakupenda Sandbank

Visit Prison Island as a daytrip from Stonetown or Nungwi to discover the history of the small island and to see its inhabitants the tortoises that were rescued here

Prison Island & Nakupenda Sandbank vacation with Tanzania Horizon Safaris.

Prison Island & Nakupenda Sandbank with Tanzania Horizon Safaris.

The trip to Prison Island, a 700m long strip 5km northwest of Stone Town, makes a great excursion. Prison Island gets its name from the prison built to condemn Zanzibar citizens to the isolation of the island, looking out at the coast. Previously owned by an Arab to house his rebellious slaves, the prison was never used, and the island is now home to a tortoise sanctuary, prison ruins and a hotel.

Prison Island is 20 minutes away from Stone Town by boat and has spectacular coral reefs to enjoy while snorkeling. A coral rag forest within the Island is home to duiker antelopes, bats, butterflies and weavers but the long-lasting attraction are the Giant tortoises that shuffle through the trees, with the patience that old age brings you. Originally thought to be from the Comoros Islands and Seychelles, some of these tortoises are said to be over 100 years old. Stately and lumbering, the tortoises have even been known to take children on a ride.

Lunch is available on the island and then you are left to your own pleasure. If you are feeling active, you can explore one of the hiking trails, snorkel in the crystal-clear waters in search of colourful tropical fish darting through the reef or soak up some sun on the powdery-white beach.

The Prison Island Excursion is a great companion to a morning Stone Town Tour. After an eventful morning of walking through the busy streets of Zanzibar, you can enjoy this slow and relaxing island excursion.


  • Visit Lloyd Mathew’s architecture of the historic building

  • See and get photos taken with the giant Aldabra Tortoises

  • Enjoy snorkeling on the surrounding reef which is always fun

  • Enjoy sunbathing on the powdery-white beaches and soaking in the sun

Getting There and Back

We arrange excursions to Prison Island, starting with a transfer from your place of stay to the shoreline where you board a boat. Boat transfers takes 30 minutes each way, giving you about three to four hours to explore. On request, trips can be extended to a full day, perhaps in combination with snorkelling off Bawe Island.

What to bring with you:

  • Swimming suit & towel

  • Sunscreen/block cream and sunglasses

  • Snorkeling gear if you have

  • Pick up & transfer from any Stone Town Hotel to the seafront

  • Boat ride from Stone Town

  • Entrance fee to the Prison Island

  • Lunch snack including fruits & sea food
  • Snorkeling gear

  • bottled water
  • Alcoholic drinks

  • souvenirs & gifts
  • additional transfers

Why Book With Us?
Got a Question?
Do not hesitate to give us a call. We are an expert team and we are happy to talk to you.

Absolutely yes. We will arrange all airport transfers for you from and to the airport so that you don’t have to worry about how to get to your hotel. One of our drivers or guides will come to pick you up and take you back to the airport. This is already included in our offers and services.

A private departure can be arranged at any time according to your individual travel dates for highest flexibility. A group departure has a planned schedule on a specific date and let you share some costs while travelling. So if you are on a budget and want to meet friends from all over the world you can join one of our groups.

Absolutely yes. Our handpicked hotels all offer you to safely store your luggage during your climb. In this way you can leave all gear that you won’t need during your climb at the hotel. That is very convenient if you are planning to go on a safari or to Zanzibar after your hike.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris has worked out a very transparent cancellation policy. In most cases we can offer a voucher if you have  to postpone your travel. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Please note that deposits are non-refundable as they have to be used for making reservations for your hotel and transport.

*If a booking is cancelled the client is subject to a cancellation fee as follows:

  • until 4 weeks prior to departure – 30% Cancellation Fee
  • 4-2 weeks prior to departure – 50% Cancellation Fee
  • 2-1 weeks prior to departure – 75% Cancellation Fee
  • less then 1 week prior to departure – 100% Cancellation Fee: The company reserves the right to cancel any tour at its sole and absolute discretion, without prior notification in instances where this is unavoidable. However, in that case the company agrees to refund all money that has already been paid by the client. This shall be the company’s sole responsibility to the client and no claim for any damages, howsoever arising, shall accrue against the company.
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Message us for any inquiry

Message us for any inquiry.