Prison Island Zanzibar tour

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  • Take a boat from Stone Town to Prison Island
  • Encounter giant tortoises up close
  • Dive, snorkel or swim
  • Explore the old prison
This half-day tour via a short boat trip to Prison Island is simply paradise on earth. See the giant tortoises wandering around, escape for some peace and quiet and enjoy the coral reefs while snorkelling.

This historical Island was formerly owned by an Arab and used for the confinement of refractory slaves. In 1893, Lloyd Mathews built the prison, with the idea of sending violent criminals from the Tanganyika mainland to the island. The Prison Island ended up being used as a quarantine centre, instead of a prison, for yellow fever epidemics that once raged through the region. Prison Island is still owned by the Zanzibar government.

The old prison still remains standing, providing shelter for the giant tortoises which are conserved on the Prison Island. You can walk in the quarantine centre and come face to face with these amazing creatures.

The island is a superb spot for the photographer. On this little paradise one can also swim, snorkel, sunbathe or just relax and enjoy the peacefulness that this beautiful island. It is fringed with a beautiful coral reef, ideal for snorkelling, and has a lovely white beach for sun-bathing.

This tour is a perfect half day-trip with refreshments available throughout the day. The island also has a small restaurant where you can enjoy simple meals. If you would like to stay longer and enjoy the beach and ocean, this is no problem!

Snorkeling gear (life jacket, mask & flippers) Experienced professional tour guide
Pick up and drop off from your hotel Entrances fees
Service of an English speaking professional driver/guide Boat charter
All taxes, fuel surcharges and service fees included 1L bottle of mineral water
Local flights and International Medical insurance, travel insurance
Visa fees (if applicable) Personal purchases
Gratuities Visas & Travel Insurance


3 reviews for Prison Island Zanzibar tour

  1. Anonymous – From UK

    It was an amazing trip with Abdul to Prison Island. The tortoise was a very big experience.

  2. Monica Brown from CANADA

    “Overall, the trip was just fine. If you are not a fan of those small boats that sway from side to side, do not take this tour. The tour guide was fantastic. The tortoises were amazing (worth a little discomfort on the boat), and the boat driver was great. I’ve done it and would not do it agin if in Zanzibar.”

  3. davosma

    May be this is the only worth attraction in Zanzibar. All another is overpriced and overrated. Never seen so big turtles.

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