Pemba Island lies approximately 80 km northeast of Zanzibar Island (Unguja) and is about the same distance from the Tanzanian mainland, situated directly east of the port of Tanga.
Unlike Zanzibar, which is flat and sandy, Pemba's terrain is hilly, fertile and heavily vegetated. The early Arab sailors called it 'Al Huthera', meaning 'The Green Island'. Today more cloves are grown on Pemba than on Unguja, in fact 75% - 80% of all Zanzibar's clove production comes from Pemba. During the rule of the Sultans, it was Pemba, with its extensive clove plantations and agricultural base that provided the economic foundation for the archipelago's dominance.
Today, earnings from the clove crop are supported by other agricultural products, cattle raising, and by fishing, which is an important source of livelihood. Pemba is also renowned for its voodoo and traditional healers. Even today, people come from throughout East Africa seeking cures or to learn the skills of the art from practioners on Pemba.