Prison Island

Prison Island is a small island 5.6 km northwest of Stone Town with a very beautiful minor sandy beach where swimming on the crystal waters is marvellous. The coral reefs surrounding the island provide an opportunity of snorkelling. The island was used as a penitentiary for rebel slaves by the sultans from the 1860s until the end of the slave trade. After which the British began building a prison on the island under the guidance of First Governor, Lloyd Matthews. This was completed in 1894. However, the ‘prison’ was only ever used as a quarantine centre for possible yellow-fever victims, and even then was hardly used like that. Once on the island, you have the opportunity to feed and pet the tortoises, if you have time you may also like to take a stroll through the forested interior where you will see a wide variety of birds, colourful peacocks, bats, and beautiful butterflies. Keep your eyes peeled too for the shy and elusive Duikers – an unusual tiny antelope species.

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