There’s a wonderful sense of going back in time as you arrive at Ibo Island’s only luxury hideaway. Dating back to 1897, the two grand colonial mansions that make up Ibo Island Lodge were originally the headquarters of the Niassa Company, the royal Portuguese company tasked with controlling northern Mozambique. These days, the properties are no less majestic. The three sea-facing rooms in the main house are airy and homely, stylish yet contemporary and, most importantly, in keeping with the island’s unique heritage.
The Portuguese and Goan decor, evident throughout – from the antiques to the hand-carved furniture – are testament to Ibo’s illustrious past as a vital trading hub ruled by the Arabs and Portuguese. Mahogany four-poster beds sit under original wooden beams with sturdy walls made of the traditional blend of lime and coral stone in the lofty bedrooms while deep clawfoot tubs give the bathrooms a hedonistic touch.
The grounds are equally impressive with exotic gardens of coconut palms, baobab and marula trees, spider lilies and fuchsia bougainvilleas framing the infinity pool and six gardenfronted rooms perfectly.
But the real beauty of a stay at Ibo Island Lodge are the quiet moments spent reading, pondering and simply savouring the solitude. The rooftop terrace offers an idyllic vantage point from which to watch the sun dip beneath the horizon, casting a warm amber glow across the silky mudflats and verdant mangroves – a playground for the 884 bird species that call the Quirimbas Archipelago home. Meanwhile, in the distance, silhouetted against the evolving sky, are the billowing sails of dhows slowly returning to the bay.
And how better to start the day than with a fresh pot of tea enjoyed in a whicker rocking chair on the silent verandah with only the occasional waving local and distant sound of laughing children for company? Pure bliss.