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Mozambique Island

The Ilha de Moçambique is a historical gem, and just a wonderfully laid-back slice of heaven. The entire island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and architectural significance, in particular its fine 16th century fort and associated chapel. It’s the island, not the mainland that first took the name ‘Mozambique’, derived from the sultan Ali Musa Mbiki who was the ruler here in the late 15th C. When the Portuguese arrived, and drove the sultan out, they established an outpost that would dominate the region for nearly four hundred years. Eventually the mainland assumed the name of this European base and when the bulk of trade then shifted south to Maputo, the Island of Mozambique faded from the world stage.

capela de nossa senhora mozambique architecture

Highlights

The Island of Mozambique is the oldest European settlement in East Africa, with the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte (Our Lady of the Ramparts) thought to be the oldest European building south of the equator. The chapel dates to 1522 and is protected by the impressive limestone of Fort of São Sebastião. The fort was completed in the second half of the 16th century and saw off a number of major attacks, most notably by the Dutch in 1607 and 1608. The São Paulo Palace Museum is fascinating, as are the Sacred Art and Maritime Museums. And to top off these more cultural pursuits, there’s also sea-kayaking trips, excellent snorkelling, diving and boat-based humpback whale watching.

coral reef mozambique diving holiday

Travel tips

The Island of Mozambique is not easy to get to. It’s in the far north of the country and the roads can be slow. The closest airport, at Nacala, is a two-hour drive to the north and the international airport at Nampula about three hours’ drive inland. The island’s upmarket hotels will arrange all necessary transfers, but if you’re on a tighter budget then prepare for an adventure. Regional buses and taxis only cost a few dollars, but you may have to switch between them en route. When you arrive you’ll find a wide range of hotels, from breezy romantic suites to family resorts and affordable backpackers. There are cash machines on the island and the bigger hotels accept credit cards, and everywhere you stroll you’ll feel completely safe, day and night.


Popular Mozambique Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Kruger to the Mozambican Coast (7 days)

Kruger to the Mozambican Coast (7 days)

Combining the bush and the wildlife found in the famous Sabi Sand in the Kruger National Park with a tropical stay in one of the sublime lodges of Mozambique's Ponta Mamoli...

 | South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

In this exciting safari holiday, you'll get to experience both Southern Africa's bush and beach beauty...

Dhow at andBeyond Benguerra Island | Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Luxury Land and Sea Safari in Botswana and Mozambique (10 days)

Experience the Okavango Delta and the tropical Indian Ocean island of Benguerra for the best of both the bush and the beach...

 | Blissful Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (6 days)

Blissful Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (6 days)

Romance, exclusivity and barefoot luxury are the themes of this honeymoon...

 | Mozambique Island Honeymoon Getaway (6 days)

Mozambique Island Honeymoon Getaway (6 days)

Spend 5 romantic nights at Ibo Island Lodge, situated in the magical Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique. ...

 | Luxury Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (7 days)

Luxury Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (7 days)

Powder white beaches and crystal clear, warm ocean water is what honeymoons are made of - and this is the perfect honeymoon option for you if this is what you are looking for. ...

Relax on the hammock  | Magical Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (6 days)

Magical Mozambique Honeymoon Holiday (6 days)

White sandy beaches and the warm waters of an Indian Ocean island make a perfect setting for the most romantic getaway of your life...

The beach deck at Anantara Bazaruto | Bazaruto Private Island Holiday (8 days)

Bazaruto Private Island Holiday (8 days)

Enjoy sandy beaches and scenic lakes on Bazaruto private island in Mozambique, try your hand at water sports or simply laze the days away at the pool...

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