Culture Mozambique

Mozambique is a fascinating pot pourri of cultures and religions where many groups of people speak at least 40 different languages and dialects. Ibo Island is one of the last inhabited islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago.

If you visit Mozambique, you will come across the cultures of the Makua, Thonga, Shona/Ndau, Sena, Nyungwe and Yao peoples who live and work in Mozambique. Their different customs are passed down from generation to generation.

Song and dance play a vital part of many Mozambique cultures and holidays – clearly evident on Ibo Island, place of  friendly, welcoming people living simple and traditional lives. There is a June Festival on Ibo Island every year that celebrates the time many years ago when Ibo became a trading post. The Kueto Siriwala (cue-to sea-ree-wala) Festival means “to not forget your roots” or “home is where the heart is” and this is exactly what the people of Ibo feel and rejoice once a year. Learn more about the Ibo Island people and their festival here.

Many people have yet to hear of Ibo Island and when visitors get to its shores, they find what seems to be a ghost town with its crumbling ruins, hints of 17th century mansions and other ancient relics. When they delve into the history of the island they find out that Ibo Island has a past dating back to 1600 when Arabs knew the island. Local fishermen today still know the tides and channels of the Quirimbas Archipelago like the back of their hands.

Ibo’s Mozambique culture grew when it became the most important island and trading post in the Quirimbas Archipelago – the Portuguese collected rainwater in huge cisterns which allowed them to farm livestock and grow crops. A Portuguese lord ruled the island and the people traded amber, jet, ivory, ambergris and turtle shells.

In Mozambique, a mixture of religions adds to the cultural richness of the country. There are  Christians, mostly Roman Catholics, and Muslims, mainly in the northern regions. Traditional beliefs have been incorporated into Christianity as many of the people believe in the spirits of their ancestors.

When 12th Century AD Arabian explorers brought their trade and customs to Africa in sailing ships, they passed it on to the local people. These incredible talents of creating, by hand, exquisite jewellery and other delicate items from real silver are still being taught by Ibo Island fathers to their sons. They still hand-craft exquisite, intricate, jewellery using ancient Arab techniques and tools. This jewellery is found nowhere else in the world. Which makes it valuable to all who buy it.

So, if you want to learn more about Mozambique’s culture, starting on Ibo Island, then book your unique package tour today. Contact one of our consultants to tailor make your cultural experience in Mozambique.


This is the first holiday my wife and I have had with just our family since our honeymoon 17 years ago. Wow what a fitting and special way to spend our treasured week together. Thank-you for making us feel so welcome and for the excellent manner in which you waited upon us. We are humbled and inspired by your work here on Ibo. Thanks for going out of your way to accommodate our son Theo, hope you enjoy his letter he has left you. God Bless you all.

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