Changuu Private Island Paradise (Prison Island) has been described as a Small Paradise on Earth, with its private white beach surrounded by the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean. The islet lies 3 ½ miles to the northwest of Zanzibar Stone Town, and it is oblong in shape, about ½ a mile and 250 yards wide at the broadest part. Getting there after a comfortable 20-minute boat drive from Stone Town by a traditional dhow (fishing boat) takes you to the most unique experience in life.
This peaceful island today drives us through its historical buildings to its past intense history. Today, Changuu Private Island Paradise has restored these historical buildings to make them living structures, adapted to new uses while preserving their authenticity. The prison ruins have now been converted into a bright living structure, offering a host of entertainment facilities, such as a café, boutique and library. The Mathew's Restaurant is an artfully restored building that was erected in the late 1890s; its wide veranda, enjoying the invigorating sea breeze, overlooks the irresistible swimming pool at which fresh water is available for the first time in the history of this islet. This awesome renovation has been achieved whilst maintaining the perfect balance between nature and culture.
For the most romantic breakaway, the 15 exclusive cottages built in the northwest of the island offer an unrivalled, luxurious experience; and in the southwest side of the island, the former Quarantine Area built in 1931 has been converted into 12 elegant sea-facing rooms.
Only the ancient Giant Tortoises that inhabit the island, brought from Seychelles almost one century ago, are witnesses of the most private and exclusive experience.
Prison Island had been, centuries ago, a prison for slave trade; at the end of the 19th Century, it became the Quarantine Station for Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika territories. Moreover, when there were no quarantined passengers, it was the favourite resort of Zanzibaris to enjoy the suntan and bathing. Today, the intense history of this quiet island can be seen and enjoyed throughout the many natural and cultural activities and possibilities that the island offers. If that is your option, relaxing can be the main activity at Prison Island; lie by the pool facing the magical Stone Town of Zanzibar, and let time pass…
Making the best of this natural and cultural paradise, join the nature trails through the dense tropical forest, organized by the friendly management of Prison Island, with entertaining lectures on fauna and flora, the Giant Tortoises and the projects for their welfare, as well as an illustrative journey through the history of the islet through its artfully restored buildings.
Explore the clear sea, a thousand species of fish, with sea turtles that swim around just two yards from the shores with incredible corals. To protect these treasures, collecting shells from this island is forbidden.
In the incomparable setting of the Prison Ruins, under the clear and unspoiled African skies, enjoy the legendary venues of cultural dances with the most romantic candlelit dinner.
Day trips to Zanzibar Stone Town are the perfect chance to discover the Swahili culture, a happy mix of Africa and Arabia. Explore the winding narrow streets of Stone Town, classified as World Cultural Heritage, with ancient buildings, superb balconies, amazing sculptured doors, mosques, palaces and Livingstone’s House, among many other remarkable features.