Ibo Island in Mozambique- filled with culture and beauty

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Looking for a cultural holiday in Mozambique is certainly not difficult. With such a checkered past, Mozambique is one of the most exciting places to enjoy a holiday. There are however certain parts of the culturally rich country that offer extra bits of fascination.

A Mozambique Island unlike any other

Ibo Island, situated in the Quirimibas Archipelago in northern Mozambique, boasts 70 square miles of land. This Mozambique island has been nominated for World Heritage Status to try preserve the culture that encompasses the island. With a community of about 3000 people, approximately 99% of the island’s inhabitants are Muslim. This is due to the strong Arab influences throughout Mozambique’s history. Most people living on Ibo Island are Kimwani speaking, a language that closely resembles Swahili and meaning “the language spoken by four people”, those being Swahili, Jawa, Nyanga and Macua. Portuguese is spoken by only 20% of the population.

Being one of the oldest settlements in Mozambique, Ibo Island has a diverse history. In AD600, Arab traders set up trading routes and local communities along the Mozambique island. Slaves, gold and ivory were shipped off to Arab countries from these posts. In 1522 the Portuguese took over and were in full control of Ibo Island and the trading posts along it. Ibo Island then became one of Portugal’s main Indian Ocean posts. Since Mozambique gained independence, Ibo Island has remained virtually untouched, making it one of the most fascinating places to holiday at in Mozambique.

Tourists visiting Ibo Island have the chance to experience some of the culture and island life that comes so naturally to this wonder. Many Mozambique islands offer something special in the way of history and Ibo Island is a prime example, with some of the oldest forts in Mozambique. The island boasts two forts that today are considered great tourist attractions.

Fortim de Sao Jose

This small fort was built in 1760 and was used for commanding the beach landing area. The rectangular shaped building contains a barrack room, magazine and gun platform with a garita at each end, which can hold up to seven guns. This dilapidated fort lost its military function in 1971 when the more powerful Fortaleza de Sao Baptista was built.

Fortim de Sao Joao Baptista

This star fort was built in 1971 and was used to secure the sea approach to Ibo town. This large building provided shelter for up to 300 men and consists of a chapel, magazine, kitchen and latrines. Today it is home to local silver smiths who make beautiful hand crafted silver jewelry which they sell to tourists.

Day tours to this magnificent, historical island can be arranged from Matemo Island as well as Guludo Beach Lodge. Accommodation is also available at Ibo Island Lodge – where three old mansions have been renovated into private en-suite guest rooms. Complimentary historical island tours, as well as canoe trips amongst the mangroves are available from Ibo Island Lodge.

Click here for more information on accommodation on Ibo Island, Mozambique.

To find out more about holidays in Mozambique or to book accommodation on Ibo Island, contact Moz GSA on +27 11 476 4143 or 27 83 299 4321