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.


Dear Ibo Island Lodge team – Thank you so much. This was the most perfect destination for our honeymoon. Absolute paradise! It was a great stay on such a beautiful island ( loved the sandbank, snorkelling, mangroves, sunsets on the deck etc) that has such a history. Thanks to Harris for organising all our activities and sharing his knowledge of the natural surrounds. Your staff are brilliant! Always smiling and enquiring how our days activities went. And the food – delish! We really could go on forever! Thanks again hopefully we will come back to Ibo soon.”
(PS: Remember us when you are looking for people to take over your jobs!)

You have made my short stay at Ibo most memorable. Your extra ordinary warmth and hospitality made this trip so worthwhile. You spared no effort to make my room comfortable. The staff were always obliging. Your chefs are to be commended for the scrumptious meals! Yes this was worth it!

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