Wordtravels

Wordtravels

Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique © Stig Nygaard
Ilha de Mozambique © Stig Nygaard

Ilha de Mozambique is an island in the Nampula Province of northern Mozambique, up the coast from Beira. Home to a fascinating heritage, it was an ancient trading port and the capital for nearly four centuries while under Portuguese rule before the move to Lourenco Marques, now Maputo.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Island of Mozambique is an exquisite mix of Portuguese and Muslim architecture. These divide old Stone Town in the north and Reed Town in the south. There's a great museum found inside the Palacio Govierno, a big red building in Stone Town.

Also worth seeing is the fort at the eastern tip of the island, home to the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte. It is possibly the oldest surviving European building in the southern hemisphere, dating back to 1522.

On a beach on the northern end of the island, there is a dive centre where visitors can take boat trips or just laze on the sand. The more adventurous should travel by dhow to Chaga or Mossuril on the mainland to explore the coast.

Requilias and Escondidino are two popular restaurants in Stone Town, and there are a number of local places serving fish and rice, or chima. One of the best options for accommodation is the campsite on the mainland, next to the bridge.

Transport: The tiny island is accessible via a bridge from the mainland. Because of its size, visitors won't have any trouble walking around the island; it's a 20-minute walk from end to end, and Gabriel's has bicycles for hire.