Monday, August 30, 2010

Ibo Island

the view of the main harbour

Ibo has the same haunting and majestic feel as one might find in the Angkor complex in Cambodia. However rather than crumbling Buddhist temples one witnesses nature reclaim old colonial mansions, creating the sensation time has stood still for hundreds of years and one is living on an elaborate film-set.

ruins on Ibo

strangling figs

Ibo has always been the larger though lesser island to Ilha de Mocambique. With a similar history of trade with the Arabs as well of strategic position for the colonialising Portuguese it also shares a darker history during the slave trades. Many of the colonial mansions are clearly in a state of complete disrepair, over-run by meandering roots, plants and general dilapidation, providing a haunting backdrop to this tropical paradise.

the cemetary

The island boasts three villages (a total of some 4000 people inhabit the island) three forts, and interesting cemetery and a lighthouse. The main fort is particularly magical at sunset and has stalls selling silver, textiles and other local crafts.

Bicycles can be rented by the day starting at US$5 for the most basic model from Two Trees Hotel.

Up until two years ago the island boasted its own electricity supply but the generator fell into a state of disrepair a couple of years ago, Allegedly it will return again to the island at the end of this year.

Places to Stay and Eat

Staying in the Karibune Campsite near the large fort and next to the Ibo Lodge boutique Hotel, i take a quarto, a room in a divided mud hut for Mtc400. A chalet is Mtc800 and camping is Mtc120 per person. It is quite basic, but has a small restaurant and a generator providing some electricity in the evenings. The Mama is very obliging and her sons speak English.

A much cheaper community alternative is Tikidiri. The opposite side of town a chalet is Mtc150 and Mtc100 t camp. Homemade meals are available at Mtc100.

The very smart Miti Miwiri (Two Trees) looks quality. This privately owned French place charges US$50 per night, offers a decent breakfast at Mtc120 including a pot of filter coffee, has evening meals pre-ordered for Mtc300, and light snacks are available throughout the dat. Internet access is available for Mtc60 per hour. Same room prices are available at the centrally located Cinqo Portales.

The Ibo Lodge is an expensive boutique hotel with large quarters and charge some US$450+ per night all inclusive.

For a cheaper food alternative check out the centrally located Sukira Muryu pasteleria where prices are inflated, not fixed and run by an eccentric woman and her equally eccentric daughter. A fish burger seems to be about Mtc50, coke for Mtc35 - 40 and donuts for Mtc15. You need to push to receive change.

Arquipelago Das Quirimbas restaurant looks good, but was closed possibly because it is Ramadan at the moment.

two friends

local girl

my catch partners

There is no Vodacom signal that i can find on the island although i am told MSI connections work.