FLYING INTO PEMBA WHERE THE CERULEAN BLUE INDIAN OCEAN MEETS THE AFRICAN EARTH, SHADED BY BAOBAB TREES, IS A WELCOMING SCENE.
Here, it seems as though time stood still, rich in Makonde traditions. It is a city also where there seems to permanently be summer. Pemba is the gateway to the Quirimbas Archipelago, on the northern coast of Mozambique and the Niassa National Reserve. It has a population of 141 000 people and the city’s inhabitants are primarily Makondes, Macuas and Mwanis. Local languages are Kimwani and Macua, although Portuguese is widespread. Pemba was founded in 1904 as Porto Amélia and was renamed Pemba at the end of Portuguese rule, in 1975 is the capital of the province of Cabo Delgado and lies on a peninsula in Pemba Bay.
The city is renowned for its Portuguese colonial architecture and the “highest building” is seven stories which is now surrounded by wooden shacks and dilapidated buildings. Our arrival at the Pemba International Airport was effortless even though a small marquee served as “arrivals and departures” as the main airport building was undergoing renovations. We were met by the friendly staff of the Pemba Beach Hotel and taken to the hotel in a luxury air-conditioned mini bus.
Pemba Beach Hotel and Spa Pemba Beach Hotel and Spa is the only luxury accommodation available in Pemba. Representing a fusion of Arabic and African inspired influences, this hotel impresses with its sweeping compilation of Arabian-inspired buildings with endless exquisite Mozambique ocean views. This hotel offers great service, delicious food and facilities to accommodate both holiday and business guests. A choice of luxury air-conditioned suites or tastefully decorated self-contained villas. The villas consist of a modern kitchen, lounge and bedroom with bathroom en-suite. The large gardens are peaceful and there are several large new swimming pools to cool off from the heat which can be stifling. There is a popular bar, Nisassa Bar, two restaurants and a spa. For those who wish to relax and unwind in comfort there is no reason to leave the hotel premises. Malaria is a great concern in Pemba and the hotel fumigates every week and while we were on the hotel premises we had no problems with mosquitos. However it is recommended to use mosquito repellent at all times. If you are passing through Pemba, then it’s worthwhile to stay at the Pemba Beach Hotel so you can be assured of air-conditioned rooms, excellent service and good food. Unfortunately a great deal of other accommodation in Pemba is not up to scratch and unless you have had personal recommendation, best not to take a chance.