Prison Island - Changuu Private Island

Prison Island - Changuu Private Island, Stone Town: Hours, Address, Prison Island - Changuu Private Island Reviews: 4/5

Prison Island - Changuu Private Island

Prison Island - Changuu Private Island
4
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:15 PM
About
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
Top ways to experience Prison Island - Changuu Private Island
Popular mentions

4.0
4,173 reviews
Excellent
1,560
Very good
1,440
Average
803
Poor
203
Terrible
168

Marloes
Zadar, Croatia1 contribution
Jul 2022 • Friends
I instantly regretted going here the moment we set foot on the island. I am truly disappointed in myself that I went here and thereby contributed to this kind of animal abuse. All the tour guides made us believe that the sanctuary provides a healthy living area for this giant tortoises, but after visiting this place I believe it only provides a healthy living for the tour guides and keepers. It’s just an abandoned and broken down hotel. It’ way too small, full of rocks, sticks, trees, dry sand and there is just one really small drinking pool which I don’t consider to be enough for all the animals there. We should show way more respect to these majestic animals. Cannot believe that places like this still exist in 2022. Unbelievable.

I felt really disgusted by this place and most of all, by how some tourists treated these animals. Like they were attributes you can simply use for your feed on the Gram. Crazy. Posing ON the tortoises… Come on humanity, we should know better than this.

Last but not least, the tour guides have this trick, called “massage”, where they rub the legs of the tortoises which somehow makes the tortoises “inflate”. I simply cannot believe that this is what these animals consider relaxing.

This place is such a shame.
Written 3 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Joost
3 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
Horrible experience.. There are SO many tortoises living in a way to small sanctuary. The guides are playing with them and it doesn’t look like that they’re enjoying it. People posing (basically standing on them?!) with the turtles which is in my eyes no respect for such an amazing animal. Come on guys! The island itself is very touristic and it’s all about money, unfortunately. There wasn’t much left over about the ‘prison’ itself.
One of the worst things I’ve done here in Tanzania.
Written 3 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

stuart
Spalding, UK6 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
Interesting island with a long Interesting history, explained by a very knowledgeable and friendly guide. Now home to giant tortoises which you allowed to hand feed. Well worth a visit.
Written 30 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alex D
3 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
The experience I had with the turtles was a dream one! very kind guide, very kind driver, very patient staff!
Muhamed is no.1, The best man I've ever met!
Written 30 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

alaine2578
France1 contribution
Jun 2022 • Friends
Wonderful experience feeding giant unique tortoise.
The history is super amazing with suleiman+255756983368(whatsapp)
No prisoners were kept here but it was used as a quarantine centre for the sick people.nice beautiful beach to swim.
Loved it.
Written 24 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Zanzibarlocaltourguide
13 contributions
Jun 2022 • Friends
Changuu Island (also known as Kibandiko, Prison or Quarantine Island) is a small island 5.6 km northwest of Stone Town, Unguja, and Zanzibar.

The island is around 800m long and 230m wide at its broadest point.

In 1860s the island saw use as a prison for rebellious slaves and also functioned as a coral mine.

In   1893 the British First Minister of Zanzibar, Lloyd Mathews, purchased the island and constructed a prison complex there.

No prisoners were ever housed on the island and instead it became a quarantine station for yellow fever cases.

The station was only occupied for around half of the year and the rest of the time it was a popular holiday destination. More recently, the island has become a government-owned tourist resort and houses a collection of endangered Aldabra giant tortoises which were originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles.

Changuu is named after the Swahili name of a fish which is common in the seas around it, though it is shown as "Kibandiko Island" on some older maps, but this name is no longer used.

The island was uninhabited until the 1860s when the first Sultan of Zanzibar, Majid bin Said, gave it to two Arabs who used it as a prison for rebellious slaves prior to shipping them abroad or selling them at the slave market in Zanzibar's Stone Town.

[3] Zanzibar became a British protectorate following the 1890 Helgoland-Zanzibar Treaty with Germany; this resulted in the appointment of a British First Minister, Lloyd Mathews.

In October 1891, Mathews purchased Changuu from its Arab owners on behalf of the Zanzibar government in 1893 with the intention of building a prison upon it.

The prison buildings being completed in 1894.

The old prison was converted into the facility's hospital and in 1923 the island was officially renamed Quarantine Island.

Quarantine cases would be taken from the ships and monitored on the island for between one and two weeks before being allowed to progress with their journey. The main disease that was monitored was Yellow Fever.

Ships typically only arrived in East Africa during the period running from December to March and so the island was usually empty of quarantine cases for a large part of the year.

During the empty period the island became a popular leisure resort for European people and local residents of Zanzibar.

A building, known as the European Bungalow, was built in the late 1890s to cater for the holiday makers although the number of visitors had to be limited as the only freshwater on the island was rainwater stored in underground tanks.

Large pits on the island remained from earlier coral mining for use as a construction material and these pits were cleaned out and used as swimming pools.

In 1919 the British governor of Seychelles sent a gift of four Aldabra giant tortoises to Changuu from the island of Aldabra.  These tortoises bred quickly and by 1955 they numbered around 200 animals. However people began to steal the tortoises for sale abroad as pets or for food and their numbers dropped rapidly. By 1988 there were around 100 tortoises, fifty in 1990 and just seven by 1996.

Written 24 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

V T
1 contribution
Jun 2022 • Solo
Prison island is a beautiful island and the prison itself is moderately interesting. My negative review is regarding the exploitation of the animals being housed on the island.
The habitat these massive, and incredibly old, animals are being housed in is absolutely falling apart and is infested with peafowl. It would appear that the habitat began falling apart a number of years ago and collapsed structures are left in place and provide a hazard to the animals. There is also a significant fall hazard that the animals have access to. I saw no evidence of fresh water provided to the animals and no evidence of enrichment activities/devices of any sort. I understand that Zanzibar is not a wealthy island, but there are a lot of very minor things that would improve the quality of life of these animals that they could do today at zero cost. But they have not, and will not. However, they will happily solicit donations for the “care of the animals.” This is animal exploitation at its worst, and as humans we can and should be better than this.

I am incredibly disappointed in myself that I contributed to this.
Written 23 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Almeraikhi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates7 contributions
Jun 2022 • Friends
I advise everyone to visit this island when visiting Zanzibar, there are many large and small turtles that you can feed, in addition to the color of the water and the amazing beach.
Written 21 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Hmira74
Pornainen, Finland291 contributions
Jun 2022 • Friends
This place was ok. Turtles were huge. It was nice to feed then. I felt bad for The tiny baby Turtles in The Cage.
Written 16 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fredy N
3 contributions
Jun 2022 • Couples
This is the only cheap attraction in zanzibar.,beautiful island ,wonderful view,experience and kind tour guide suleiman +255756983368
Huge tortoise.
Written 10 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 2,093
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Prison Island - Changuu Private Island

Prison Island - Changuu Private Island is open:
  • Sun - Sat 09:00 - 16:15
Buy tickets in advance on Tripadvisor. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel at least 24 hours before the start date of your tour for a full refund.

We recommend booking Prison Island - Changuu Private Island tours ahead of time to secure your spot. If you book with Tripadvisor, you can cancel up to 24 hours before your tour starts for a full refund. See all 103 Prison Island - Changuu Private Island tours on Tripadvisor

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Prison Island - Changuu Private Island: See all Prison Island - Changuu Private Island experiences on Tripadvisor