Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Prison Island

Tortoises are not native to Tanzania, but there are many that live in a place called Prison Island.

These were a gift from the Seychelles in exchange for several flowering plants from Zanzibar. I think Zanzibar got the better end of the deal with tortoises!

They started out with only four tortoises in the 1920s. Over the years, they ran into many problems with people trying to steal the animals so they could sell them. They switched their location several times around the island of Zanzibar until they were finally relocated to Prison Island. Now there are over 100 tortoises thriving in this area.

One of these guys was 165 years old! And he was HUGE!

After I got over my fear of a tortoise eating my fingers, I had a lot of fun. 

I couldn't believe how many were scattered all around. They move a lot faster than you'd think!

Prison Island was never actually used as a prison. It was intended for this purpose but instead was turned into a quarantine station for trade ships from Asia which brought goods, news, people, and plenty of disease. If they suspected that a ship contained any contaminated goods or people, it would be quarantined and disinfected on this island before moving on to Zanzibar.

There were a handful of buildings that were once used as medical facilities. We sat outside one of these buildings to look at the beautiful view.

There was another island just off the cost called Snake Island, but I don't think I'm ready for that one just yet.


  1. THIS IS TOO COOL! I love the pictures, they're all way too funny. keep 'em comin

  2. I've read every single one of your posts and have to admit that I'm becoming a bit of a stalker. But that aside, while your pictures are great, I am absolutely fascinated with your experiences with students, young and old. People who actually enjoy learning & going to school? Unheard of here in the U.S.

  3. Thanks Niki! I'll talk more about the school once I've been there a few more times. The students are wonderful. I especially love the English class at night. If you could only see the conditions... it's not even a building! Yet they come every night because they want to learn. It's such an inspiring experience.

  4. There is not supposed to be any body, behind those bars up top or the bars behind it that is captive. Let him free, back to America/Anywhere neat to live.
    From Al Capon