28 September 2016
What makes Ibo worth a trip or two? We know that Ibo Island lies happily in the remote Quirimbas Archipelago off Pemba of northern Mozambique and we know that the lodge offers accommodation in historical renovated old mansions. That you won’t be able to get enough of the history of the island and the region, meeting authentic silversmiths hard at work in an old fort, making fine jewellery for export to the first world.
There are many things that make Ibo worth a trip or two:
The funk arrival
The exciting flight from Pemba to Ibo Island is breath-taking and a great introduction to a holiday in paradise. When you leave the plane and enter the lodge after the short road transfer, you know that you have arrived. Luxury awaits. Make your way to rooms so beautifully decorated and so spacious – with air conditioners, roof fans and mosquito nets.
The exquisite rooms
Maybe your room will have a large patio, with hooks for wet gear, a large couch and chairs overlooking the beautiful garden with splash pool. Or maybe you will have endless ocean views where the sun sinks into the protected mangrove swamps. All rooms boast fantastic outdoor showers, ideal for late night or early morning sessions.
The friendly staff
At Ibo, the gardens, pools and rooftop restaurants are all very beautiful and these are all complimented by incredible staff and their amazing world class service – they go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that their guests are happy. Meet your guide every day to discuss your activities and make plans for the next day. He will even be your wake-up call in the morning with tea! Amazing hospitality!
Food glorious seafood
Then there was the food. If you love seafood you are definitely in for a 5-star culinary experience at Ibo Island Lodge. It is true that fresh fruit and vegetables are scarce on the island, but the seafood (whole lobsters, squid, King fish etc) is so outstanding that it stuns your taste buds. If this is what real seafood tastes like it will be hard to order seafood anywhere else when you return home.
Romance and reality hand in hand
Ibo Island is a place where romance and adventure permeate the air and where time seems to have stood still. The island is rich in history – particularly the Arab slave trade and Portuguese colonial times with characterful buildings and an interesting fort. Take the free guided historical tour as well as free cultural tour of the local village where traditional life does not seem to have changed. See the wells the people use and the communal washing areas. Watch the happy, excited children, the young women about to get married with white paint on their faces, traditional colourful clothes.
The island is so safe that you can walk alone wherever and whenever you feel like it. Appreciate the daily dhow trip (about 45 minutes) to the most romantic sandbank beach where you can snorkel. It is fascinating watching the “island” gradually diminish until it disappears altogether as high tide flows in. Be prepared for very hot weather (hats and suntan lotion) and do ensure that you have shoes that are good for water. Preferably bring your own snorkelling equipment.
Mysterious time travels
Ibo Island is like nowhere else you will ever go – so mystical and like stepping back in time to a forgotten time. When you enter the lodge, you feel the ongoing mystic of the island and you know that the restoration was carefully done by someone in love with the island and its vibe. This is clearly a space that is tranquil, full of the history and the colour of Ibo.
So much to do
Explore the ocean on Stand Up Paddle Boards while your traditional Dhow follows you, complete with expert crew and facilities for snorkelling and picnicking later. The neighbouring island resorts offer picture perfect beaches that you can visit for the day. At Ibo Island Lodge, you get the mangroves, the ocean, the beautiful town and the stunning rooms where you rest after an exciting day doing nothing yet everything.
For many visitors, it is the accommodation that makes Ibo worth a trip or two:
Niassa Mansion – was once the headquarters of the mighty Niassa trading company on Ibo Island and is a grand old original Ibo building with a pitched roof that still boasts her original red clay tiles shipped to Ibo from Marseilles during the colonial times. The rooms are named after a fish eagle (Ndorwe) and the moon (Mweezi) and both are very popular with guests on a Mozambique honeymoon!
Bela Vista Mansion – offers a room named after a sailing dhow (Ngalawa) which enjoys the entire Bela Vista veranda, a barefoot hop and skip to the lounge. Perfect for those guests who want to be close to all the lodge facilities. The view from the front, deep veranda is one of the best at Ibo Island Lodge.
Paradiso Mansion – was once the original old hotel on Ibo Island, and is older than many of the restored buildings on Ibo. The Paradiso mansion has beautiful architecture, with large rooms and enormous windows. Sea facing rooms Suki (dolphin) and Kipira (Yellow bill Stork) are the largest rooms in the lodge and both boast enormous bathrooms and the full use of the entire front veranda. French style double doors let in the sea breeze where you can watch traditional dhows drift out to sea.
What makes Ibo worth a trip or two, you wonder? There are so many things that make Ibo stand apart from the other islands – its natural setting and historical relics, its friendly villagers, its island hopping dhow safaris and its unique sand bank beach. You need to see it to believe it, for sure. Book your tickets today and ensure you get there as soon as possible for you will want to return again.