I stayed in the Ibo Island Lodge over one weekend only- 16th-18th November and wish I could have extended my time there or pop in every weekend!! I have had the most amazing time on the island- it has perfect location, wonderful people and the lodge itself exceeded all my expectations.
I have had opportunity to travel to RSA on business on numerous occasions and once I've explored South Africa decided to venture beyond. Found Quirimbas and Ibo while searching for a perfect location for a short visit to Mozambique.
On arrival in Pemba where the small plane was arranged to take visitors to their final destinations in the Quirimbas Archipelago islands, a lodge representative was awaiting to guide me through the airport. The flight over Quirimbas is pretty spectacular itself- one gets to see islands with their white sandbanks, coral reefs and mangroves as well as turquoise water with hundreds of scattered dhows around them from the above! On arrival to the island Rob, the manager, drove me to the lodge where staff was awaiting with some refreshments and cold towels.
When you enter the lodge premises- which used to be Portuguese registrar office hundred years ago- you have a feeling the time stopped here century ago. Traditional style of the place has been fantastically preserved. They do have air conditioning and electricity 24h which as I read in some previous reviews wasn’t a case couple of years ago. From the roof restaurant we had an amazing view of the waterfront with its sunsets, dhows and flamingos picking up seafood at low tide.
The food was served either on this roof patio or in the lush green backyard -just behind the pool- pleasantly refreshing if you’ve just spent couple of hours under the sun. Saying that - on my second day I have been asked if I would like to have a private dinner on the beach/waterfront- and again it exceeded my expectations. There were candles and lanterns on the beach, starry sky and most delicious seafood I’ve ever tried. Prawn curry and lobster were the local specialties- not to be missed!
Since I had only 2 days in total and was rather looking to explore the island than sit back and relax- I asked Rob to arrange some of the guided tours for the following day. And he made sure it was all perfect! I went for a historical tour around old Portuguese part of Ibo with a beautiful fort guarding this side of the island- it felt like being taken back in time again. Shortly after I have been taken on a dhow cruise to the sandbank emerging out of crystal clear waters. The tide was low and one of the lodge guide was patiently guiding me through the treasures coral reef.. We met local fishermen and spotted endless amount of crabs, starfish and beautifully shaped shells. Unfortunately I did not have time to go snorkeling but it seemed like a perfect activity- water was luke warm! Shortly after we returned to the island I was taken around the local village as part of the cultural tour- met local people, women wearing traditional masks and little boys playing hand-made football. And then in the morning day after- even though I was departing before noon- Rob also arranged for a short kayaking trip to the mangroves! I cannot say which of these activities was the highlight of my stay on Ibo- they were all fantastic- I did feel like I stayed there for a week, not two days only.
If you are looking for a holiday with a TV in the background, busy city vibe this place is for you. But if you want to forget about outside world, discover Africa at its best - Ibo Lodge is one fantastic destination. If paradise was ever on Earth it must have been somewhere here :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ibo Island lies in the Quirimbas Archipelago of northern Mozambique. Nominated for World Heritage status Ibo has been described as one of the most unique and atmospheric islands in the world. Ibo offers pristine beach excursions, snorkeling, sea kayaking, dhow sailing, birding, mangrove forests, sumptuous seafood, romance, simplicity, tranquility and a perspective that will change your life forever. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ibo Island Hotel Ibo