Ibo Island is brimming with treasure chests of fascinating history, streets of enthralling architecture and the energies of a truly unique culture. During your stay at Ibo Island Lodge you too have the opportunity to explore the island in all its diversity by participating in the culture tour and the history tour, or both, led by a professional guide.
If you choose the history tour, your knowledgeable guide will take you for an informative walk around the island, recounting the history of Ibo. You will visit old forts, ancient romantic buildings and beautiful architecture that dates all the way back to the 1500’s. Wander around this little colonial island town, exploring the old forts and listening to the intriguing stories and legends of an island that was once the mighty trading center of Mozambique. All of these tales have been all but forgotten to the outside world for almost a century!
Did you know that throughout the centuries Ibo has been conquered and crossed by many, its history reading like a kind of turbulent fairy tale? The island see-sawed between Portuguese and Omani Arab rule and eventually the Portuguese held sway. They left Ibo Island in 1975 with very little development having happened on the island since.
The culture tour also involves a walk around the island where you will get an insight into the very special ethos and simple lifestyle of the people of Ibo. This community is a blend of European, Indian, Arabic and Chinese influences and cultures – and Muslim and African traditions have merged with old Mozambican tribal customs and religions to create the traditional culture and way of life unique to Ibo Island.
The people of Ibo Island speak Kimwani which means “language of the people from the coast” and is considered unusual among sub-Saharan languages.Kimwani is a minority language spoken in Mozambique, including the Quirimba Archipelago Islands.
Visit a local home for a rare and authentic glimpse into the daily life of an Ibo local. You can try pounding rice the old fashioned way, enjoy a game of football with the local kids with their homemade football or pay a visit to the local silver smith to see his beautiful handmade jewelry.
The silversmith project, just another Ibo Island Lodge initiative, provides income opportunities for the Ibo community. Traditional silversmiths on Ibo Island hand craft exquisite, intricate jewellery. The project aims to stimulate a more equitable distribution of the benefits and provide high quality raw materials to the silversmiths.
A must-do visit with the always charming Joao Baptiste,who loves to tell you about the history of Ibo, mixed with his own stories and memories, enriches your island experience. He will tell you that traditions and honouring of culture is the beating heart of Ibo Island. This common bond and these deep values direct all that occurs on the island – all events on Ibo are celebrated with traditional festivals full of zest and enthusiasm.
The most famous annual festival on Ibo is called KuetoSiriwala (cue-to sea-ree-wala) and means “to not forget your roots, regardless of how far away from home you are”. Ibo comes alive with vibrant colours, dancing, culture, art and traditions.
Once you have completed these remarkable and educational tours,you will realise that it is the unique mix of people, traditions and religions of both the past and the present that give Ibo Island the charm and magic it is renowned for.
Today, Ibo Island Lodge is the centre of numerous community schemes providing training, income and development opportunities for the smiley local people. During the construction of the lodge, a community school was also built, which then grew into the Montessori English School, which started out teaching English, hospitality and tourism training and was free of charge to anyone from the island.
The Montessori school now teaches children in English and is also free of charge and the long term goal is to extend the training to identified adult learners, who can then become teachers, benefiting the larger part of Ibo’s children.
Ibo Island Lodge is set amongst swaying palm trees, amongst an undeniably unique atmosphere and a marine world relatively unexplored. Having opened its doors in 2006, the lodge has fast made a name for itself as one of the most atmospheric and unique island lodges in Africa. Book your tickets now with us and forever hold your peace!