History and Architecture | Ibo Island Lodge

Ibo Island has a lost world appeal, with tales of pirates and prisoners, turtle shells and silver. The history is a dramatic series of events that is brought alive by our guided historical tours. Zoned for World Heritage Status, Ibo Island supports some of the oldest buildings in Mozambique. As early as AD600 Arab traders had established contact with Ibo Island and subsequently established fortified trading posts and forts along the coastline. Via these trading posts slaves, gold and ivory were shipped to the Arab world.

Throughout the centuries Ibo has been conquered and crossed by many. Ibo Island history reads like a kind of turbulent fairy tale. The island see-sawed between Portuguese and Omani Arab rule and eventually the Portuguese held sway. The island gained municipal status in 1763, and is regarded to have been the second most important Portuguese trading centre after Ilha de Mozambique. The Portuguese left Ibo in 1975, and very little development has happened on the island since.

The Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, Arabian and the Chinese all had a hand in the houses and buildings on Ibo. Influences from all corners of the world can be identified in what is left of Ibo Island’s architecture today. Architectural heirlooms from the 1500’s are grown over with wild tropical bush. Crumbles of these century old buildings seem poised and suspended in time. Almost like they intended on falling down, but forgot half way!

Today, craggy and old structures reflecting a deep legacy are intertwined with frangipani petals, the twisting roots of fig trees and seriously pink Bougainvillea.

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