We want to take you on a Special Mozambique safari holiday to a unique island destination in Nampula Province. Lying far north, between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay, the Island of Mozambique, commonly known as Ilha de Mozambique, was once the capital of Portuguese East Africa during the colonial era of 1898. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its extraordinary history and culture and is a great place to spend your holiday. We will take you to see it now at the click of a button, and we will recommend to you two of our best accommodation venues to delight and satisfy your budget Island needs! Read on for more information about your next Mozambique island holiday destination…
Ilha de Mozambique is accessible by air and by road. There is an international airport at Nampula and a small airport just off the island, about 7km away. Various well-known airlines operate to and from Mozambique, including LAM (Linhas Aereas de Mozambique), SAA (South African Airways), Air Mauritius and Air Zimbabwe (represented by LAM in Maputo). Please contact your travel agency for further details. You can also get there by road – the road condition has improved significantly and a wide tarmac road now runs from the city of Nampula to the coastal town of Nacala, which links to the Ilha de Mozambique.
Your holiday on this island is not about tanning and water skiing and deep sea diving although you can seek those activities out for sure. Your holiday on Mozambique Island is about cultural tours, architectural education and fantastic restaurant meals. It is about meeting the local community people and finding out more about the history of this fascinating region in a wonderful part of Africa.
The island was a major Arab port and boat building centre long before Vasco da Gama arrived in 1498. The Portuguese established a port and naval base on the island in 1507 and built the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte in 1522, now considered the oldest European building in the southern hemisphere!
Visit some of the historical landmarks to whet your appetite
When the Fort Sao Sebastiao was built during the 1600s, what is now called Stone Town became the capital of Portuguese East Africa. The island was then a vital missionary centre and was able to defy attacks from the Dutch in 1607 and 1608 while remaining a strong port for ships sailing to India. This was a major slave, spice and gold trading port. Only half of the town is made from stone. The hospital used to be the largest hospital south of the Sahara and was painted white after the Mozambican Civil War – people love its gardens with ponds and fountains.
Other buildings worth visiting include the Palace and Chapel of São Paulo, built in 1610 as a Jesuit College and subsequently used as the Governor’s Residence, now a museum. The Museum of Sacred Art, housed in the Church of the Misericórdia run by the House of Mercy displays an excellent Makonde crucifix and the Church of Santo António, the Church of the Misericórdia and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte are extraordinary religious buildings worth exploring. Today the island is entirely urbanised and a few mosques and a Hindu temple peep out from the architectural collection. You can walk the 3km bridge that connects the island to the mainland, erected in the 190s.
The island in itself is not very big, about 3 km long and between 200 and 500 metres wide. Most historical buildings are at the island’s northern end. The majority of the residents live in reed houses in Makuti Town at the southern end of the island.
UNESCO and the Mozambican government agreed to rehabilitate the San Sebastian Fortress in 2003 and this conservation project is still in progress and worth a visit.
Recommended accommodation on Ilha de Mozambique
Villa Sands Boutique Hotel is a charming aesthetic venue that makes the perfect base you’re your explorations of a magnificent isle steeped in culture and history, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991!
We certainly rate Villa Sands as one of best of Ilha de Mozambique hotels, lodges and guest houses as it takes luxury holiday accommodation to another level. The clever use of white painted walls is a wonderful extension of the white sandy beaches outside – bringing the outside in. The interiors are spacious with everything furnished to perfection – clean and uncluttered.
Created from 3 old warehouses, this elegant venue offers eight en-suite double rooms with king size beds, air-conditioning, ceiling fans,TV and stunning views. An exclusive rooftop suite boasts another a private pool, three double rooms, each with en-suite bathroom and private veranda. Honeymoon couples can settle in and stay a few days, enjoying the romance of an island lost in time…
You should really indulge in the seafront terrace swimming pool with its sun beds and bar service or try the fresh seafood in the restaurant. Shrimp is a seafood delicacy on the island, skilfully cooked at Villa Sands by the local chef. Conference facilities for up to 24 guests make this hotel a great business escape for tired businessmen.
Specials to Ilha de Mozambique will include day trips on board Edna, a custom made and handcrafted wooden dhow that is also motorized and can be hired for private use. While away time sailing leisurely in the vast blue ocean, exploring the nooks and cranny of this breath-taking nirvana.
Grab a bicycle and explore the island alone, stopping for a picnic on a secluded beach somewhere. Bird watching is also available for guests to enjoy. Embark on a journey of culinary discovery, savoring luscious dishes from the several restaurants and bistros in town.
We recommend a visit to this special island destination in Mozambique where you will enjoy a thrilling yet relaxing holiday in the tropics. Contact one of our consultants for more details!