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The Quirimba Archipelago islands are situated off the coast of northern Mozambique close to Pemba on the mainland. Arab trading posts and Portuguese trading routes dominated the seas many decades ago and today many of these 34 islands remain uninhabited.


The Ilhas Quirimbas are a Mozambique cultural and natural heritage, all partly linked to the coast by sand bars, coral reefs, mangroves and water rich in marine life. The Islands of Ibo, Quisiva and Matemo feature old Portuguese settlements with pre-colonial Swahili settlements. There is evidence that the culture today is a potpourri of influences from Africa, the Arab region, India, and Europe over more than a millennium.

Like all islands and beaches throughout Mozambique, Ibo is tidal and depending on what the tide is doing you can either have water and no sand, or sand and no water!

Lilac Breasted Rollar Ibo Island


99% Of the people of Ibo are of Muslim faith. This is because of the strong Arab influences in Mozambique history. In addition, islanders still respect and practice old Mozambique tribal customs and tribal religions.  The common theme of daily life on Ibo Island is creative cultural expression.  A way of life made beautiful by the people.  Ibo’s history has resulted in a hybrid community with unexpected splashes of European, Indian, Arabic and Chinese influences.  This community, with roots reaching deep into the world, have created a way of life unique to Ibo.  A way of life that captures the imagination of our guests.

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The brightly colored capulana is the traditional cloth that Mozambican women wear as wrap around skirts.  Traditionally on Ibo Island women do not buy their own capulanas, but rather the men choose and purchase the cloths for their women. If a woman owns many capulanas it is a symbol of affluence and status.  A man is expected to pay lobolo if he wants to take a bride.  On Ibo it is known as ‘Mari’ and it is a process of negotiation with the parents of the bride to be.  Negotiations usually include money and depending on affluence, goats, cattle and dwellings.

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  • Architecture on Ibo Island dates back to the 1500’s
  • Forts once serving as military bastions and slave trading houses line the shores of Ibo
  • Ibo is a melting pot of influences from around the world, creating a culture that is completely unique
  • The legendary João Baptiste is Ibo’s self-proclaimed living historian.  He tells stories from his veranda at home on Ibo about the islands independence movement and his time spent as prisoner in the fort
  • Boundless secrets, history and culture are still contained amongst the marvelous ruins of Ibo.
  • One of the largest mangrove forests in Africa is firmly rooted in front of Ibo Island. This region is one of the most important and bio diverse marine regions in the world
  • Shrubs of unbleached coral reefs are commonly found in the shallow depths surrounding Ibo. Dolphins, whales, turtles and the occasional shy dugong are found here.
  • The biggest Dogtooth Tuna fishing catch occur between Ibo and Matemo Island.
  • Ibo nests over 700 different bird species, 10 of these being threatened.
  • The last sea faring trading dhow arrived on Ibo Island having sailed all the way from India in 1969!


At the recent Safari Awards Ibo Island Lodge was awarded the prestigious Best Marine Property in Africa runner up position. In the Mozambique country section we also scooped the following:

  • Best Mobile Safari Operator: Winner Ibo Island Lodge Dhow Safaris
  • Best Community focused Property: Winner Ibo Island Lodge
  • Best Marine Safari Property: Winner Ibo Island Lodge
  • Best Safari property in Mozambique: Runner up Ibo Island Lodge
  • Best Value Safari Property: Runner up Ibo Island Lodge


Images credited to Ibo Island Lodge