Ibo Island Lodge

Ibo Island, Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

At a Glance

  • To make the most of your experience, follow the tides. Allow your hosts to advise your schedule

  • Have dinner at the fort for a truly memorable experience

  • A visit to Ibo is not complete without a trip to the tidal sandbank

  • Large and very comfortable en-suite rooms. Massive Zanzibari beds, ceiling fans and air conditioning if you need them

  • Ibo is a fascinating island with a rich cultural history, an early morning guided tour is not to be missed

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

Sunshine, blue skies and temperatures averaging between 24°C and 27°C along the coast are the norm, except during the rainy summer season from about December/January through to April when everything gets soggy and sticky, and temperatures exceed 30°C in some areas.

The best time to visit is from May/June to November, during the cooler dry season.

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Insider's View

Have a romantic lunch in the middle of the isolated sand bank - you will have to pinch yourselves that you are not actually dreaming!

Wander around the island with a guide learning about its incredible history.

White, crumbling colonial buildings of Ibo town are a photographers paradise.

Head to the fort and watch the traditional silversmiths at work.

Take an early morning guided bird walk and try and spot the gorgeous bush shrike

Relax on the rooftop bar with a drink and let the sunset unfold

The roof top bar is the place to be at sunset, watch the dhows sailing past and the waders working their way around the flats. It’s one heck of a g&t spot

Accept that the tides rule the order of the day. Go with the lodge suggestions, the activities are all fantastic, each is very different

Top quality guiding on land and sea, Harris and Cosmo are Zimbabwean, a country where only the best guides make it to professional status

Spend an afternoon doing the cultural tour wandering around the beautifully, crumbly town and see how they make fine silver jewelery by hand. 

Call us on 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation to Ibo Island Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Quirimbas and the north coast

Description

Ibo Island is the largest of 32 tropical islands that make up the beautiful Quirimbas Archipelago. The lodge offers accommodation in 14 air-conditioned rooms set in a beautifully restored traditional building. Ibo Island is full of fascinating history.

As one of the most unique and magical islands, Ibo Island was once Mozambique’s mighty trading center, in the Quirimbas Archipelago National Park, Northern Mozambique - it has remained all but forgotten to the outside world for almost a century. The interior of Ibo is a bushy habitat, which spills over onto coral reefs, mangrove forests and little coves. The waters surrounding Ibo are home to pristine sandbank beaches where dolphins, turtles and a varied marine life live.

Ibo Island Lodge encompasses three mansions each over one hundred years old with walls over a meter thick and lofty high ceilings. Accommodation is split between two of the mansions with the third serving as the main area.

The large, en-suite rooms are individually designed, and boast antiques and handcrafted furniture, with magnificent wooden doors and shutters that evoke the building’s original design. The wide verandas and outdoor spaces are adorned with mahogany and teak day beds, carved by some of the island’s most skilled artisans and decorated with cushions covered in vibrant local fabrics.

Meals feature freshly grown organic vegetables, herbs and fruits and combine traditional specialties with fresh local seafood. Romantic dinners are served on the tranquil verandas or on the rooftop terrace all with awesome views over the sea.

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Accommodation

Accommodation is in 14 en-suite rooms. The high lofty ceilings, indigenous solid teak, and mahogany handcrafted furniture all provide an opulent experience. Bathrooms have twin basins and large marble showers which are designed to feel like an outdoor shower, just a little less revealing. Rooms are either bay or garden facing and all have air-conditioning and ceiling fans.

Childcare

There are no specific childcare facilities however children are most welcome and there are plenty of activities to occupy them. Food and meal times can easily be tailored to suit the younger guest and baby sitting can also be arranged where necessary.

Facilities

The tropical gardens are planted with frangipani, bougainvillea and palms with two fresh water swimming pools providing the perfect escape from the tropical heat. There is a lovely rooftop terrace where cocktails and frosty Mozambican beer can always be found.

Activities

There are fantastic diving and snorkeling opportunities from Ibo Island Lodge and is a registered PADI dive center, also a trip to the nearby isolated sand bank is a very popular excursion. Other options include a trip to explore Ibo Island town, the silversmiths tour, kayaking and bird watching. Sailing in the traditional dhow sailing boats and fishing is also on offer.

Reviews

5

Sian Frost (Staff)

Ibo Lodge is a lovingly restored lodge which looks out over the mangroves in the bay on Ibo Island. Its a fantastic place to add on to the beginning or end of a beach vacation for a bit of culture mixed with activities such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking through the mangroves, private beach picnics and much more. If you just fancy relaxing in a lovely lodge you can sit there and watch the hundreds of weavers building their nests, take a dip in the pool or find a quiet corner and read a book.

I would thoroughly recommend spending an afternoon doing the historical tour, which is a haven for photographers (even if you can't take photos of some of the government buildings). You walk for around 4 hours around the old town, the forts built by the Portuguese and see some of the more interesting crafts that have been carried out for years on the island.   

5

Sarah Clegg (Staff)

Ibo Island Lodge is a unique property. The experience here is much more complex and diverse that you would first imagine. The lodge is not on the beach, and as such is not for someone whose sole agenda is to sit on white sand and stare at turquoise sea. Instead the product is one of interesting culture, history and wildlife on a fascinating island that was once the hub of Portuguese trade along the East African coast. Ibo was at one point the capital of the province of Goa, yes India, and among other influences youll see wrought iron lampposts from Marseille lining the streets.

The guiding here is fantastic, and the overall experience adds a real richness to an vacation in the Quirimbas. For those whose agenda IS to sit on the beach, why not try the Ibo Dhow Safari for a couple of days, or longer. Operating both set departures of four nights or less, and privately customized safaris, the agenda here is to get exactly what you want out of your vacation. Dont let me be misunderstood, this is not a luxury experience in the way that a stay at the lodge is. Rather the luxury here comes from the time you get to spend with family or friends in a spoiling, exclusive and customized experience. It is easy to see why this ranks towards the top of many of the most experienced of Africa travelers lists.

5

Louisa Verney (Staff)

Ibo Island Lodge is the most fantastic small lodge on the historical island of Ibo. The lodge employs three professional guides to help uncover the islands past, with Arabic traders win ivory, gold and slaves, colonial links to Goa and Portugal.

The Lodge is found spread between three beautifully restored old colonial homes on the sea front. Each room is unique and have been furnished with antiques sourced locally and in India. Most or the rooms have a small terrace either overlooking the sea or the lush garden, and there are many corners in the garden to curl up with a book and relax. For the more active they have a dive school which can arrange trips to the many dives sites to the east of the island. I would highly recommend going on a picnic breakfast or lunch on the deserted sandbank and then going snorkeling on the near by coral reef.

5

Camilla Whitworth (Staff)

I was fortunate enough to be at Ibo the night before Mozambique's Independence Day, and this happens to be "Ibo Day", which is a weekend of festivities, focusing on a huge dancing festival located 'under the mango' tree where it seems the entire island gathers to either partake in or spectate a variety of different dancing shows. Every now and then a local came over to us to explain what each dance was representing, which shows how incredibly friendly the people were and how happy they were to be sharing such a day of celebration with everyone there. The day finished with a dhow race that was wonderful to watch with 13 dhows all setting off at once, their sails popping up and all putting a huge effort in to race around the island in an unfortunate lack of wind!

Ibo Island has its own story to tell, and I thoroughly recommend taking the lodge's complimentary historical tour which I thought was incredibly interesting. Learning about the islands colorful past and its once powerful footing, whilst walking past buildings whose grandeur now remains in crumbling forms, overgrown with vines is amazing. Ibo Island Lodge itself was once of these and you soon realize the level of investment put into its restoration has been enormous.

5

Camilla Smith (Staff)

I was seriously impressed by Ibo Island on a recent trip out there. Unfortunately I was only there for 24 hours but wished I could have stayed longer! From my initial arrival into the hotel I was met by an extremely welcoming and efficient team of staff. I was taken on a trip to the sandbank almost first thing which was completely breathtaking - we headed out on a local Dhow sailing boat with one of the 'marine guides'. Filling me with the history of the island and telling me all about the area on the sail out there was a fascinating insight and a very peaceful start. We snorkelled around the sand bank to begin with and I was blown away by the gorgeous corals and colorful fish. The guide was brilliant to swim with to show me where the good corals were and tell me the names of the types of fish we were seeing. It made the snorkeling trip far more informative and interesting.

For lunch, the staff had laid up a beautiful table in the middle of the island and provided me with a full spread of fresh seafood, it was incredible! It really was an absolute highlight of the trip!

Ibo Island is like visiting a time warp, it is a fascinating place full of crumbling architecture and full of history. It used to be a Portuguese strong hold and a very affluent place, when the Portuguese moved out during the Civil War that ravaged the country, Ibo was left to decay. Ibo is now getting back onto the tourist map slowly and is an intruiging place to visit. A guide will take you around the island filling you with stories and telling you all about the history of the place, taking you to the fort, the old communal and government buildings and plenty more. The Silversmith tour is also amazing, they make and sell some gorgeous pieces of silver with very intricate and detailed carvings.

The lodge itself is very comfortable and a lovely place to relax and unwind. The gardens are really peaceful and there is a large pool. What I will also never forget at Ibo Island Lodge is the delicious food, that roof top restaurant is fantastic!

Experiences

  • Diving around Ibo Island

    Ibo Island Lodge has a resident Dive Master and offers scuba diving to ac-credited divers. Ibo has some wonderful dive sites that recent guests have been raving about.

  • Guided nature & bird walk

    Organise to go for a walk with one of the highly skilled and knowledgeable guides at Ibo, the species diversity between the inland woodland, mangroves swamps, beaches and tidal flats is immense.

  • Guided sea kayak excursion into the mangroves

    Head out from the lodge, accompanied by your guide, to explore the mangrove channels of Ibo Island. These tidal habitats are constantly changing and hide an extraordinary diversity of life.

  • Ibo Island Festival

    Since 1773, Ibo Island has celebrated Kueto Siriwala - the Ibo Festival - every June - a spectacular fusion of color and rhythm, featuring local music, food stalls, dhow races and competitions.

  • Ibo Massage treatments

    Massage is culturally inspired and can include traditional body scrubs prepared using Ibo coarse sea salt, and zesty lemon grass grown locally as part of the lodges garden project.

  • Private lunch on Mogundula Island

    Probably one of the most beautiful islands in the Quirimbas Archipelago is yours to explore. Enjoy total privacy on this uninhabited tropical paradise island with white secluded sand spit beach, and sleep off a lunch under the shade of the coconut tree’s.

  • Sand bank island trip

    Spend a day on a private sand bank island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Eat delicious seafood under a shady canopy with no one in sight! For honeymooners this is an ultimate experience and a great photo opportunity! 1 per stay.

  • Snorkelling excursion to the wreck and sandbank

    Discover the underwater paradise that surrounds Ibo Island – either by boat or traditional dhow and snorkel some of the best soft corals in the Quirimbas Archipelago.

  • Traditional Sailing Dhow excursion

    Dhow sailing is a must for any visit to the African coast. An ancient method of transport and trade, the dhows are as essential to life in the Quirimbas now, as they were 500 years ago.

Vacation Ideas

  • Authentic Mozambique

    Mozambique

    from $4300 pp 6 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach
  • Mozambique Honeymoon

    Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

    from $6500 pp 7 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach

Location & directions

Ibo Island, Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

Ibo Island Lodge is situated on the Indian Ocean paradise of Ibo Island, just north of the small town of Pemba in the pristine Quirimbas Archipelago in northern Mozambique. Ibo Island is just one of a string of 32 tropical islands that make up the breathtakingly beautiful Quirimbas Archipelago.

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Call us on 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation to Ibo Island Lodge or take a look at our itineraries to Quirimbas and the north coast

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