Ibo Island Lodge
The best way to enjoy Ibo Island – and understand its unique local culture – is to stay a few nights here, perhaps combining it with another more beach-orientated lodge in the Quirimbas Archipelago.
The owners of Ibo Island Lodge are urbane and winning ambassadors for the island and the lodge that they have rescued and turned from ruins to a magical lotus-eating idyll. The local staff are charming and capable and they are supported by ex-pat Zimbabweans.
Highlights of Ibo Island Lodge:
- The Romantic Swahili architecture makes a superb contrast with resort lodges
- Lots of character, in the restoration of the old mansions and in the attention to detail
- Take a walk and see the town or visit old forts
- Offers complimentary trips to their secluded sandy beach nearby
- Why not combine Ibo Island Lodge with a beach lodge for the best of both worlds?
Accommodation at Ibo Island Lodge
This stylish and comfortable retreat comprises three lovingly and sensitively-restored sea-front colonial mansions, backed by shady gardens. Here the air of romantic neglect that hangs over the old town of Ibo has been reversed by the passionate young owners, in a restoration project that spanned a decade and revived local artisan skills.
The lodge is lovingly furnished with antiques and draws on the local mix of Arab, Indian and Portuguese influences. Exposed coral and lime walls, original teak ceiling beams, oversized hand- carved doors, windows and shutters epitomize the Ibo ambience. These high ceilings and thick walls now make a cool and tranquil haven from the heat and sun. It is now sarong-clad holiday-makers – not administrators of a colonial outpost – who enjoy the shady veranda with its hand-crafted furniture and views over the bay!
Some rooms are sea facing, some are garden facing and all are air-conditioned and individually designed with quirky touches to give each some style and character. The lodge has an air-conditioned lounge and private dining room as well as a roof terrace restaurant which faces west for unforgettable sunsets.
During the day you can enjoy the two swimming pools and hammocks set in shady lush tropical gardens, with palms, established trees, bougainvillea and frangipani, while sunset draws guests to the chic rooftop bar and restaurant for dining under the stars. Ibo’s cuisine features traditional Ibo Island specialities and the freshest of seafood as well as an excellent South African wine list.
Activities on Ibo Island
Complimentary activities at the lodge include daily boat transfers to Ibo’s secluded powder-white sandy beach, a guided historical excursion recounting the history of the island and introducing visitors to the island of today and a visit to traditional silversmiths who handcraft exquisite silver jewellery using ancient Arab techniques and tools.
Ibo Island is the largest island in the Quirimbas archipelago of northern Mozambique, and for the last 500 years it has been a prosperous and important trading post along the coast of East Africa. The old town is a world heritage site with colonnaded colonial buildings, terracotta tile roofs and lime-washed coral walls and three majestic forts standing guard over the sea.
Other options include guided Mangrove canoe excursions to understand more about this precious ecosystem and the bird and marine life it supports, sea kayaking, guided bird walks, traditional Dhow cruises at sunset and a massage in their spa.
Ibo island is also perfect to stroll around and explore by yourself. The Mozambique islanders are very friendly. The magnificent buildings, dhow fishing boats and people make for a photographer’s paradise.
How to get to Ibo Island Lodge – Despite being so remote, Ibo Island is actually quite easy to get to. It is only 20 minutes by air from Pemba Airport in Mozambique, with its direct flights to Johannesburg. It is also an easy short air hop from Ibo Island to Medjumbe or Azura on Quililiea if you want to combine a stay there with time on Ibo Island.