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“One of the best holidays we've ever had!”
Review of Ibo Island Lodge

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Ibo Island Lodge
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Ibo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 27, 2009

We visited Ibo Island Lodge last year for 6 nights.
From the moment our little plane bumped down onto the island it was special.
We had a room facing the water (ask for this - not all of them do), complete with four poster bed (which was covered in fresh petals when we arrived) and nice antiquey fittings.
It was simple and elegant and very comfy.
The lodge itself was great. The staff are friendly, especially Kissinger who was our waiter while we were there. The food was excellent, fresh fish and shellfish at virtually every meal, we had crab, kingfish, crayfish, prawns during our stay. There's no beach at the Lodge but most days we took the boat out to the sandbar. We had breakfast out there a few times which was great - being served a big cooked breakie at a table sitting on a sandbar in the middle of the sea - very cool. We spent lots of our time reading by the pool and watching the dhows on the sea. Otherwise we walked around the village - which is one of the things that makes Ibo what it is - all these beautiful old portuguese buildings. Some overgrown and deserted. And some maintained and occupied by the local villagers. We loved the feeling of being on a tropical island with a very African feel.

The nights are particularly stunning with dinner served by candlelight up on the roof deck overlooking the sea and under a beautiful african night sky.

We also took a boat ride to some of the other islands around and did some snorkeling, and kayaked up a river through a mangrove forest.

The best recommendation we can give is that we would love to go back and will do so as soon as the opportunity arises.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank JMGCapeTown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 - 173 of 193 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2009

Ibo Island Lodge is a true paradise: nice, warm people, excellent food and beautiful rooms. But also: beautiful surroundings, interesting history and nice trips. -*

1  Thank Ldrecht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2008

Ibo Island is a paradise within a paradise. The lodge is based on this wonderful historic island of Ibo - and has the grandeur of this grand times. The three historic buildings are perfectly restored, the rooms are very spacious and subtly equipped - and you overlook the ocean from the veranda watching time and tides going by. The staff is extraordinary: friendly, totally motivated, spoiling the guests at any time - with superb food, always with a local touch. We loved this exceptional standard of commitment of everybody, being proud of "their lodge". This is the biggest asset of this community-based project which deserves full support. You arrive in Ibo as a guest and leave as a friend. It is a most memorable stay which I had for many many years having travelled many many times. A real must: the daily free-of-charge- excursion to the sandbank with snorkeling and a freshly prepared brunch on the island in the middle of nowwhere. What would you love more?!

  • Stayed: December 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GrisonZurich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2008

In Dec 2007 my family and I were very lucky to spend Xmas and New Year at the IBO ISLAND LODGE in Mozambique. We had visited other lodges in Northern Mozambique but this one stood out for many reasons. Firstly, we felt as if we were IN Mozambique and not still in South Africa. The commitment by the management to include the islanders was a refreshing change. We felt as if we were part of the island not SET apart from it. The island is rich in history and the staff at the lodge were very knowledgeable about the island and the history of the area. Many of the staff were from Ibo itself. Attention to detail was very good and attention to our needs was excellent. I recommend this Lodge without hesitation. It's romantic, it's exotic, it's african.

2  Thank erica52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2008

We spent 3 nights here, which we hoped was going to be the highlight of our holiday in Africa, after all the hype we'd heard. Well i guess that old saying is true... don't believe everything you read (or hear). Ibo Island itself is a fascinating place and the lodge is ok. I don't however see how it could be considered "eco" as there is more cement in the place than in a block of high rise flats, despite claims that they used traditional materials to renovate, they clearly had not, and all the furnishing have been flown in from around the world to look as though they are "of the place". Also, as a lodge which claims to be staffed by locals? All the staff who we met were from Zimbabwe, not quite local in our book. The service was ok, but it would have been nice to meet some locals actually from Ibo who the lodge were trying to train rather than claiming local staff and then bringing trained staff from other countries. The food was also terrible, possibly the worst that we have ever had at any lodge in Africa. We also got talking to some of the senior management who seemed to feel a little taken advantage of and clearly had been put in positions they were not qualified for by their own admission; something Ibo need to rectify if they want to be considered "top end exclusive" as they clearly sell themselves. We were also promised diving, but that aparently was only available from early 2008, which is contrary to what we had been told and as far as i have heard recently is still not available. We were also told we'd be transfered to a private beach each day which didn't materialise; many excuses were given from weather to tide but it seemed fine to us as other boats came and went from Ibo with happy tourists. When you are charging as much as Ibo do, you really need to deliver on all fronts, which sadly Ibo did not. They seem to have a lot of issues to sort out, like the desperate need for professional management rather than young inexperienced, just out of university students. Our linen was dirty and along with the bathroom obviously hadn't been cleaned since the previous occupants (i'll not tell you how we knew this). Another issue which needs serious consideration is marketing which truly reflects what they are and not what they think sells; they are not eco or ethical, but with quite a lot of work they could be a nice boutique hotel. But if you scratch the surface of the "green-wash" you soon see that their is no substance to what they claim, they say all the right things but are clearly only in it for making money; which in itself is fine, if only they were honest about it. As soon as they realise this, they might start to get things right and justify the high price, which as i have said; just is not worth it...

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank ec0travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IboIsland, Owner at Ibo Island Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 18, 2015

I wanted to reassure anyone reading this post that these guests visited Ibo in its 1st few months of operations and whilst we did not agree with everything stated at the time, there was clearly room for improvement. 8 years later everything has changed!

Ibo Island lodge has always employed over 40 local people from Ibo Island who have received extensive mentoring and training. Ibo has a full PADI Dive Resort, Long serving, experienced and passionate management and an enviable ratio of guests who return again and again and simply love Ibo Island Lodge.

At the recent Industry Safari Awards in London, Ibo Island Lodge won the following categories:

2015 Best Community Focused Safari Property Winner Africa
2015 Best Value Safari Property Winner in Mozambique
2015 Best Family Safari Experience Runner Up Mozambique
2015 Best Safari Cuisine Runner Up Mozambique
2014 Best Marine Property Runner Up Mozambique

We are extremely proud of the success story of Ibo Island Lodge!
Fiona Record, Owner Ibo Island Lodge.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 1, 2007

We stayed 5 days at the recently opened (Dec 06) Ibo Island Lodge on Ibo Island in the Quirimbas. We went there because we'd originally booked Bazaruto Lodge in Bazaruto but unfortunately a cyclone had destroyed everything on the Bazaruto Islands. And we're so glad we found Ibo Island Lodge. For starters it's a bit cheaper than the other hotels in the Quirimbas. But secondly it's on one of the few inhabited islands and you really get a flavour of everyday life in a fishing village. Ibo Island Lodge is currently 2 (soon to be 3) beautifully restored colonial Portuguese villas. They have been lovingly restored using original materials (all brought over to the island by Dhow - dug out canoe boats) and are absolutely stunning. The rooms are enormous - the beds are enormous too - huge 4 poster beds - really comfortable too. And the bathrooms are as big as the bedrooms! With old free standing baths and huge shower rooms all equipped with their own branded toiletries that are to die for. They have a lovely illusion pool set in their beautiful gardens and a fantastic chef that whips up 3 course meals and a la carte breakfasts. Currently, the hotel is fairly small - 9 rooms, but the 3rd villa will make it up to 14 rooms and I don't think they will expand on that. Which is a good thing as smaller hotels make for better personal attention! Which was lavished on us with flowers in the room and a bottle of champagne on arrival - as we were on honeymoon. But it was complimentary - we didn't pay extra for it for the honeymoon extras.

Ibo Island Lodge is also a social enterprise because it's not just a hotel making money for it's owners (although it is undoubtedly doing that too), it's also consciously bringing money to some of the poorest people in Mozambique. The people of the islands are fishermen but earn very little money from it and live much the same way as they have done for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years. But the hotel has hired and trained local people to work in the hotel - they've been taught excellent English and trained in skills for the hotel industry. In addition, another traditional trade is being a silversmith and they bring in stirling silver for their on-site local silversmith and then sell his traditional designs in shops in South Africa. They also buy fresh fish from the fishermen every morning and then serve it to you for lunch. So everyone wins!

It was really good for us to know that we were contributing directly to the people that we were staying amongst and helping to improve their economy and not just giving money to the owners.

The only draw-backs currently, we would say, currently are, as they only have 1 generator there is only electricity at certain times of the day and not all night, which makes it hot at night. However, they said they were installing solar panels shortly to run fans throughout the night, so that shouldn't be a problem. The other thing is, they don't take credit cards - only cash. If you don't have cash they can take your card details and send them through to their office in South Africa, however, we were worried it was less secure. Hopefully though, they should be able to resolve it.

You have to remember, the Quirimbas are in an isolated spot in a very poor part of Mozambique. Unless you stay with a chain (like Rani - on Medjumbe and Matemo) you will encounter the inevitable issues that arise from staying on a remote island in a remote part of the world. But that is also it's charm. And I would say that those things added to our experiences of the stay rather than detracted from them and we'd definitely stay again.

It is changing though and it's becoming the new hip tourist destination and hotels are flying up all over the place. Which will undoubtedly change it. It'll hopefully be good for the local people but we suspect it may change for the worse and become another maldives or seychelles. Not that they're bad, it's just, they're not unique, and you may as well be anywhere in the world. So we'd recommend you brave the potential issues and go as soon as possible before commercialism destroys it's natural beauty.

5  Thank tiredmonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2016 via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: August 2016, traveled as a couple
Thank Philippe_174
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ibo Island Lodge

Address: Rua Bela Vista, Cabo Delgado Province 3212, Mozambique
Location: Mozambique > Cabo Delgado Province > Quirimbas Archipelago > Ibo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Ibo
Price Range: $652 - $809 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ibo Island Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 14
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

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