QUIRIMBAS ARCHIPELAGO – the islands the world forgot

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Step back in time with a visit to the magical island of Ibo in Northern Mozambique. Ibo Island was once a vibrant and busy trading centre, but has been all but forgotten by the outside world for almost a century.

Ibo Island which lies in the Quirimbas Archipelago just north of Pemba is one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique. As early as AD600 Arab traders established trading routes with local communities. Via these trading posts, slaves, gold and ivory were shipped to the Arab world. The Portuguese established control by 1522, and by the mid 1600’s the Archipelago was ruled by 2 main families – the Morues and Meneses families. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Ibo was one of Portugal’s main Indian Ocean ports. Since independence, Ibo has remained very isolated and un-spoilt adding to its enormous charm.

It is the head quarters of the pristine Quirimbas National Park which encompasses 11 islands and a mainland area that covers 1522 sq meters.

Ibo Island has been nominated for World Heritage Status to ensure the protection of its incredible culture and history. The island has a community of approximately 3000 people and is undoubtedly one of the most unique islands in the world. Visitors can wander through the town amongst old forts and ancient buildings, some reclaimed by nature, while others have been beautifully restored.

The star shaped 17th century fort of St Joao Baptista is home to a group of silversmiths who hand-craft exquisitely intricate pieces of silver jewelry. For a while they melted down colonial era coins for the jewelry; some silver, and some nickel, but now they have access to sterling silver for all the jewelry.

Ibo Island Lodge is located on a prime waterfront site, overlooking the bay where traditional dhows sail out to sea. The lodge consists of three original restored mansions each over 100 years old, with exposed coral and thick limestone walls and original teak ceiling beams, and large hand-carved doors. The three mansions of Ibo Island Lodge are Villa Paradiso, Villa Niassa and Villa Bela Vista. Accommodation is split between Paradiso and Niassa; Bela Vista is the public area of the lodge and houses the Lodge’s restaurant, shop and the main pool in the main garden.

Guest rooms are beautifully furnished with indigenous solid teak & mahogany furniture hand-crafted by the people of Ibo. Two swimming pools are set in tropical gardens with palms, bougainvillea and frangipani. The unique roof terrace restaurant with open-air lounge area offers stunning views of the sun setting over the bay.

Ibo Island Lodge offers guided kayaking among the mangroves, historical tours of the island, and daily dhow trips to a private sandbank beach. Lunch on this lovely atoll under a shady gazebo is a special treat!

Nearby Matemo Island has one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Mozambique! The Resort here has 24 luxury thatched chalets, right on the beach. Each chalet has an en-suite bathroom with designer bath & indoor and outdoor showers, air-conditioning, satellite TV and the convenience of mini-bars and tea/coffee making facilities. Chalets are set separately from the main building where you’ll dine on sublime local seafood fare, relax at the pool and enjoy sumptuous cocktails at the bar.

Treat yourself to an underwater wonderland with captivating diving and snorkelling where you can experience some of the world’s richest coral reefs. The Quirimbas Islands feature phenomenal vertical drop-offs, some up to 400 meters.

Mozambique GSA has put together a special package to Ibo Island and Matemo Island Resort, to perfectly combine a unique culturally rich experience with the relaxation of a stunning beach resort. Definitely the best of both worlds!

Contact us at INFO@MOZAMBIQUEISLANDS.COM or on 011 476 4143, for more information on this package, as well as special packages to the other islands in the Quirimbas and Pemba area, including Medjumbe Private Island, Vamizi, Londo Lodge & Pemba Beach Hotel & Spa.