Pemba is the most important city in northern Mozambique, a major port and the gateway to the Quarimbas Archipelago. It's a spread-out affair, occupying a peninsula facing Pemba Bay. The city has some nice colonial architecture, although of a more recent generation than other parts of Mozambique, and a local market selling arts, crafts and traditional silverwear. But most people don't come here to enjoy the charms of the city itself, but to get in the water: Pemba is the diving capital of northern Mozambique, with a coral reef laying just off the coast. There are dolphins, turtles and humpback whales. For longer excursions, and to get away from the crowds, the Quirimbas are just a boat excursion away. Pemba is on the verge of changing from somewhat quaintly provincial to urban sprawl, and the recent discovery of off-shore gas deposits is likely to speed that process up. In the meantime, however, stop by for a dive, some seafood and a dhow trip.