Changuu Private Island (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’s 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 ride from Stone Town by a traditional ‘dhow’ (fishing boat) taking you through a unique life experience.
This peaceful island today is host to historical buildings offering a glimpse into 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 for 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 a century ago, are witnesses of this most private and exclusive experience.
Prison Island offers two room categories, all in close proximity to the sea.
15 exclusive deluxe cottages are located in the northwest side of the island, discretely distributed along the sea line, affording maximum privacy and seclusion. The cottages are built from local materials and topped with traditional thatched roofs, achieving a cool atmosphere, day and night. The spacious interiors are elegantly decorated and equipped with mosquito nets and en suite bathrooms, each with 2 al fresco showers and a bathtub. The private outdoor verandas face out to the sea, maximizing the views and sounds of the ocean.
In the southwest side of the island, the former Quarantine Area, built in 1931, has been converted into 12 elegant, standard, sea-facing rooms that afford the most fantastic views of Stone Town, all of them en suite and with mosquito nets.
The mythical archipelago of Zanzibar has always been priceless for navigators: Persians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Portuguese, Arabs, Indians, and more. Everything began with slaves, ivory and gold trade. All these visitors, for the ages, fell in love with these magical islands, leaving behind flavors, old recipes, making today’s Zanzibar the Spice Island, a mixture of delicious tastes and smells.
Prison Island observes, quietly, from the distance; its outline can be seen from the bustling Stone Town, but its magic can only be assessed from there. To experience it, you just need to get there, and get absorbed by it!
On this Spice Island, the hotel’s chef prepares a delicious variety of cuisine incorporating traditional Zanzibari elements as well as the freshest fish and seafood, to entice the most demanding palate. Pizza is available on this cosmopolitan archipelago; enjoy a delicious pizza al fresco whilst overlooking the magnificently restored Prison ruins.
The dinners are just a fiesta to enhance your senses, at the incomparable setting of Mathew’s Restaurant,which was completely renovated in keeping with the spirit of the 19th Century. It retained most of its original objects as well as its unique charm, and it now incorporates the most delicious Swahili as well as international recipes.
During the day, spoil yourself whilst lying on the white sandy beach overlooking Stone Town, or take in the best of the sun, while sunbathing by the swimming pool.
As the sun sets, get ready for the Jailhouse Rock, joining the world famous parties of Prison Island, enjoying one (or more) of the endless list of delicious cocktails.
From the warm welcome on arrival, with fresh coconuts, to parties (optional, indeed) that never end before dawn, this paradise islet offers you the most diverse leisure possibilities.
Prison Island is a place for nature lovers.
Home to the undisturbed Tortoise Sanctuary, surrounded by the pristine waters of the Indian Ocean, and with the 19th Century buildings that have been artfully restored, the island is a natural treasure, offering many options of activities, as well as relaxation. For centuries, Prison Island has been recommended for swimming, sun-tanning and exposure to the cool breeze…
The place is stylish, smart and exclusively elegant; with its delicious fresh water swimming pool and a floodlit tennis court inside the dense forest that covers the heart of the island.
The tropical forest is ideal for nature trails, with different flora and fauna, home of the Giant Aldabra tortoises, that have inhabited the island for the last 80 years, and that make the island one of the most important attractions in Zanzibar.
World renowned for its magical balance between nature and culture, the magnificently restored Prison Ruins host the cultural and musical evening events in an incomparable setting.
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. 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 Site, with ancient buildings, superb balconies, amazing sculptured doors, mosques, palaces and Livingstone’s House, among many other remarkable features.