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Ilha de Mozambique

The old capital of Portuguese East Africa, the island has a rich colonial history evident in the crumbling forts on the island. Joined to the mainland by a long bridge the area is a UNESCO heritage site.


Ilha de Mozambique was an early Arab trading port before being taken over by the Portuguese as a naval base, and then a fort in the 16th century. Much of the original architecture still stands despite the many attacks by the Dutch. Subsequently there are many shipwrecks that now are home to a great variety of coral reefs and sunken treasures!

What to do in Ilha de Mozambique

An unusual island off the coast of Mozambique called Ilha de Mozambique has a magnificent warm water coastline, swaying palm trees, and delicious seafood, and it is mostly unexplored by tourists. It boasts a tropical environment and diverse structures where time has essentially stopped, fascinatingly various religions and civilizations coexist, and a great deal of natural beauty that is just beginning to blossom after decades of relative isolation.

 There is a lot to see and do in this intriguing location, including:

  • Visit Portuguese colonial structures from the 17th century, such as forts, cathedrals, and mansions.
  • Visit Makuti Town, where residents reside below sea level.
  • Enjoy the surprisingly tasty and diverse local cuisine in Mozambique.
  • Enjoy mangrove snorkelling which is excellent for beginners.
  • Visit a traditional dhow during the whale-watching season.
  • Swim off a barren island and then eat a picnic on the sand.
  • Purchase locally created jewellery from vintage silver, antique pottery, and ancient coloured glass from historic windows. 

Who is Ilha de Mocambique good for?

Ilha de Mozambique is well worth a visit as a convenient stopover destination, or stay for a few nights to explore the unique history of one of Africa’s most interesting and utilised islands. It’s great for couples and young families.

Where to stay in Ilha de Mozambique

Feitoria Boutique Hotel

Connected to the mainland by a bridge, Feitoria Boutique Hotel sits on a small coral island, 4km off the coast of Mozambique.

Coral Lodge

Situated near the coastal historical town of Ilha de Mozambique, this comfortable and affordable lodge is surrounded by mangroves and even has its very own sea lagoon.

Villa Sands

Situated on the Mozambican coast is the beautiful and elegant hotel, Villa Sands. Rich in culture and history, it is the perfect place to explore the historical Ilha de Mozambique.

Tours including this destination

Mal-Zam-Bique Combo

22 days / 21 nights
Zambia, Malawi & Mozambique

Whales & Wildlife

15 days / 14 nights
Malawi & Mozambique
Nuarro - Mozambique - Crafted Africa

River Ocean Explorer

15 days / 14 nights
Zambia & Mozambique

Bookings and Enquiries

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Ilha De Mozambique

What is the best time to visit Ilha De Mozambique?

The best time to visit Ilha de Mozambique depends on your preferences and the activities you want to engage in during your trip. Ilha de Mozambique has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. Here are the two main seasons to consider:

  1. Dry Season (May to October): This is considered the best time to visit Ilha de Mozambique. The weather is cooler and more comfortable during this period, with lower humidity levels and less rainfall. The dry season is ideal for sightseeing, exploring the historical architecture, and enjoying the beaches. July to September are popular as the weather is pleasant, and there’s less chance of rain.

  2. Wet Season (November to April): The wet season has higher temperatures and increased humidity. While this period sees more rainfall, it doesn’t necessarily mean constant downpours. Instead, you might experience short but heavy rain showers followed by sunshine. The wet season is less crowded, and accommodations might be more affordable, making it a good option for budget travellers. However, some activities and tours might be limited due to weather conditions.

Remember that weather patterns vary yearly, so it’s always a good idea to check current weather forecasts and travel advisories before planning your trip. Ultimately, the best time to visit Ilha de Mozambique depends on your preferences for weather, crowd levels, and available activities.

How do I get to Ilha de Mozambique?

To get to Ilha de Mozambique, you have several transportation options:

  1. Air Travel: The most convenient way to reach Ilha de Mozambique is by air. The nearest major airport is the Nampula International Airport (APL) on the mainland. Regular flights connect Nampula with the capital city, Maputo, and other major cities within Mozambique. From Nampula, you can take a taxi or arrange transportation to the island, about a 3-4 hour drive away.
  2. Road Travel: You can also reach Ilha de Mozambique by road. You can drive to the island if you’re already in Mozambique or the neighbouring countries. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge so you can access it by car or bus. The road network might vary in quality, so it’s advisable to check the condition of the roads and plan your route accordingly. Remember that road travel might take longer and be less comfortable compared to air travel.
  3. Train: Another option is to take a train to Nampula and then continue your journey to Ilha de Mozambique by road. The train journey can provide a unique and scenic experience, allowing you to enjoy the landscape and local culture.

Once you arrive in Ilha de Mozambique:

  • Getting Around on Foot: The island is small and compact, making it easy to explore on foot. Many of the main attractions, including historical sites and beaches, are within walking distance of each other.
  • Taxis: Taxis are available on the island and can be a convenient way to travel between different parts, especially if you have luggage or prefer not to walk.
  • Bicycle Rentals: Some accommodations on the island offer bicycle rentals, which can be a fun and eco-friendly way to explore the area at your own pace.

Before you travel, check the latest transportation options, schedules, and travel advisories. It’s also a good idea to book accommodations and transportation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Ilha de Mozambique.

What is the local culture of Ilha de Mozambique?

Ilha de Mozambique has a vibrant local culture, with music, dance, and handicrafts being popular among locals and tourists. Visitors can explore the local markets and shops to discover unique souvenirs to take home. The island is also home to several festivals throughout the year, including the Festival da Ilha de Mozambique, which celebrates the island’s culture and history.

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