Tumbatu Island Adventure

This is a truly unique experience! Tumbatu is one of Zanzibar’s best-kept secrets, as the inhabitants are very selective about whom they grant access. To enter the island you need special permission from the elders. The Watumbatu – inhabitants of Tumbatu - are living as a very close, self- supporting community. Many of them have never been on Unguja. You won’t find cars or scooters there; Tumbatu has only one road to walk on, even though this is the place where in the 11th century the Shirazi built the first stone building in the entire Zanzibar Archipelago!


RAS MSKITINI - learn about the Watumbatu life

Arriving at the beach of Ras Mskitini, you will see how the Watumbatu prepare their fishing nets, fish traps and also how they build and maintain their boats – all by hand! In a short walk, you will arrive at the school of Ras Mskitini and learn about who built the school and the importance of the huge and old Baobab trees to the community. We will show you the unspoken secrets of Tumbatu, as they are worldfamous for witchcraft but also how the women create an income through "Ukili" (plaiting palm leaves).

JONGOWE – learn about the Watumbatu life

The island has two places to discover in the south, Jongowe and Kichangani. We visit the Jongowe ruins where we witness one of Zanzibar's main early settlements. The late medieval city was described in a chronicle known as the "Tumbatu Manuscript". It inspired Dutch maritime anthropologist and ethnohistorian A. H. J. Prins to visit the island by dhow from Zanzibar. In June 1957, he identified the ancient Shirazi port city's ruins.

TUMBATU – special information:

The Tumbatu Island Day Trip is a very special excursion and only possible based on the trust of the community’s elders. Therefore we have put together the following information and guidelines; please read it carefully and follow it, for the benefit of all.

  • Please follow the rules and directions given by your guide and show respect to the Watumbatu at all times
  • Photographs are only allowed after you get permission from our guide.
  • NOT allowed is beachwear or shoulder free T-shirts! It is best to wear wide, long trousers (will be provided for men in the form of a gift to take back home) with a Polo Shirt or T-Shirt!
  • You have to wear a khanga (will be provided for ladies in the form of a gift to take back home) around your hip and for women a scarf/ khanga to cover your hair!
  • Please note that you may have to walk knee-deep in the sea, while entering the boat or reaching the island, depending on the tides. You need waterproof shoes and clothes which can be pulled up or get wet.
  • Sun protection and a hat/cap are really important- During this excursion, we are not able to serve a regular lunch. We will provide lunch boxes, packed with seasonal fruits and soft drinks