The island has intriguing historical and fascinating sites, hosting one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique, after Ilha de Mozambique. As early as AD 600 Arab traders had established contact with the local inhabitants and subsequently established fortified trading posts along the coastline. Via these trading posts slaves, gold and ivory were shipped to the Arab world. The Fort of Forma de Cisterna was constructed by the Arabs even before the Portuguese occupation.
Vasco da Gama rested on the island in 1502. At the time of the first Portuguese contact these islands were called the Maluane Islands because the local population generally Muslim traders designed woven cloth - both in silk and cotton and dyed with local indigo. This cloth was called Maluane, and was much sought after on the mainland.
When the Portuguese first arrived in the Quirimbas, the main trading centre in the archipelago was on Quirimba Island, to the south of Ibo. The Portuguese attacked Quirimba Island in 1522, because the trading Muslims of Quirimba refused to trade with the Portuguese Christians, and intended probably to eliminate them as trading rivals. The town was set alight and destroyed, dhows sunk, some 60 Muslims killed and much looting took place with large amounts of ivory and other trade goods seized.
For many years from 1590 Ibo Islands was used by the Portuguese as a springboard for trading in slaves and ivory. By the end of the 18th century, Ibo was regarded to have been the second most important Portuguese trading centre in Mozambique after Ilha de Mozambique. Throughout the 18th and 19th century, the population of Ibo Island and the adjacent regions were consistently under attack from Dutch and Madagascar forces. As a result of the attacks the Fort of São João Batista (St. John Baptist) was completed in 1791.
In 1902, the capital of the District of Cabo Delgado was transferred from Ibo Island to Port Amelia, now the city of Pemba. The town on Ibo gradually de-populated and is now effectively a colonial ghost town, featuring mangroves, beaches, coral and palms.
By local transport
Chapas are leaving Pemba early in the morning, outside MCel in Pemba and outside the airport, bringing you to Tandanhangue via Quissanga. Travel time varies a lot but be prepared for the worst, 6-8 hours, price 350 MT Upon arrival in Tandanhangue you can take a public "Chapa boat" to Ibo, price 50-100 MT. Don't be cheated to pay more!
CR Aviation serves the entire Quirimbas with it two small planes. 25 minutes and USD 235 is what it takes to bring you from Pemba airport to the airstrip at Ibo. The plane leaves as soon as there is a minimum of two people booked. Tickets reserved via Kaskazini Travel in Pemba: email@example.com
You can get here by car from Pemba. A private transfer is arranged by my most hotel operators on Ibo with prices ranging from USD 400 to 500 per car, including boat from Tandanhangue. You can also arrive Tandanhangue with your own car, and hire a boat to bring you over, price 2,500 - 3000 MT. The journey from Pemba takes 2.2 hr. to 3½ hr depending on road conditions. Don't take the short road during rain season. 4x4 recommended! In Tandanhangue you find a secure car park for 200 MT per night, talk to Sr. Gringo,
You easily walk around Ibo by foot. You can hire a local guide via one of the Islands hotel operators to tell you the fascinating history of Ibo.
You can also hire bikes locally.
Walk to the Quirimbas thru the mangrove. Guide is needed, use sandles for your feets.
- While on Ibo, order your meal at any of the restuarants during daytime, or you might find out that you will go hungry until the following day!
- Benjamin's place, a local restaurant serving local food. Only open with prior bookings.
- Kumawe, also a local restaurant serving local food, open only with prior bookings, via your hotel.
- Miti Miwiri restaurant, a 3-course set menu plus snacks served daily; place your order before 17:00.
- Ulani restaurant serving Portuguese influenced menus that changes on a daily basis.
- Cinco Portas restaurant known for it's fushion cooking and innovative bar snacks.
- Mwani restaurant serving Spanish flavours next to the pool
- Ibo Lodge restaurant serving a set menu on the roof top, bookings before 12:00.
Miti Miwiri, Cinco Portas, Ulani Lodge, Mwani & Ibo Lodge all have bars and are ready to serve you a cold beer or a drink after a day filled with excursions and safaris in Quirimbas National Park.
You can also find some basic local bars such as Chico's and Django serving you beer and soft drinks as well as the local Disco Quirimbas, open F Sa, will entertain you with some dance beats and beers.
- Karibuni A bit run-down Backpacker on Ibo. Private rooms from 700 MT. Entrance next to Ibo Lodge.
- Hotel Archipelago Locally owned and run with basic rooms and services. 1,500 MT.
- Miti Miwiri Rua António de Almeida x Rua Republica. www.mitimiwiri.com. Restored old colonial mansion in the city center. Bar and restaurant in the courtyard garden behind the hotel. Rooms from USD 65.
- Cinco Portas Lodge Rua Republica. www.cincoportas.com. Enjoy Cinco Portas garden, a green oasis with gentle breezes. Rooms USD 50 - 120.
- Ulani Lodge [formerly dead link] A boutique hotel on Rua António de Almeida. With a nice roof top bar and impeccable swimming pool. Rooms from USD 120. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mwani Lodge, A upcoming hotel next to the Fortaleza with individual villas for each room. Restaurant, pool and bar (as of Dec 2016, it's still under construction).
- Ibo Island Lodge, Rua Bela Vista, Ibo Island, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This lodge on the waterfront encompasses 3 mansions, each over one hundred years old, with walls over a meter thick and high ceilings. Some rooms are sea facing, and some are garden facing. The rooms have been designed to incorporate the original architecture of the buildings. All are individually designed and unique. The wide verandas are furnished with hand crafted furniture and soft cushions. All rooms are air-conditioned and also have ceiling fans. The lodge has 3 swimming pools set in tropical gardens, an air-conditioned lounge and private dining room and a roof terrace restaurant with an open-air lounge area for after dinner drinks under the stars. USD 295-365 per person sharing per night.