The Quirimbas Archipelago National Park and Ibo Island
Diving Beaches Culture
Sensations of the Quirimbas Archipelago
Culture and history on Ibo island, sheer luxury of private island retreats, fantastic diving, snorkeling, island hopping, spectacular deep-sea fishing, catamaran cruises, whale watching, nature.
The Quirimbas Archipelago stretches from Pemba to the Rovuma River, which forms a border between Tanzania and Mozambique. The archipelago encompasses 32 tropical, coral islands and has an enormous cultural and historical value, influenced by Arabian, Portuguese and African cultures. This scattering of islands encapsulates all you can dream of: sumptuous beaches, friendly islanders, coral reefs, abundant marine and bird life and crumbling colonial towns.
The Quirimbas Archipelago has never been developed and remains an unspoilt tourist paradise. This area has started to become known as the African Caribbean, so come and make the discovery before it becomes as popular.
Established 10 years ago, the park protects 750,639 hectares of coastal forest, mangroves and coral reefs and the region was isolated for decades during the Mozambique civil war. On land, there are healthy populations of elephants, lions, leopards, crocodiles and even wild dog and the wide variety of habitats include mountains, forests, woodland, savannah, mangroves, beaches, coral reefs and sea grass beds.
The park contains a rich variety of marine life including sea turtles, whales, sharks, dugongs and many species of fish. In fact three hundred and seventy-five species of fish have been identified, including threatened pipefish and seahorses. It is a breeding ground for marine turtles as well as numerous reef fishes.
The archipelago is also an excellent destination for bird lovers. More than 350 bird species have been recorded and the count is not over. The Quirimbas are also on the route of migratory palaeartic migrants birds.
The World Wide Fund for Nature supports a project which attempts to ensure that local communities, park authorities and tour operators share both management responsibilities and benefits from the park. Objectives include protection and conservation as well as restoration of the land and marine environment, conservation of marine species and their habitat and promoting eco-friendly ways of making a living among the traditional inhabitants of the park.
Time has stopped in Ilha de Ibo, one of the most intriguing and romantic islands one could visit. Once the capital of the province, the 9km2 island was an important and prosperous trading post for Portuguese, Arabs, Persians, Indians and French slave traders over a period of 500 years.
Ibo’s history dates back to the early 16th Century. Arab traders did commerce trading gold, ivory then slaves Until the Portuguese attacked the Quirimbas in 1522, destroyed the Arab fortifications and made Ilha das Quirimbas their capital. However, after attacks from the sultanate of Zanzibar, this status was given to the island of Ibo. The pentagonal fort of Sao Joao Baptista was built in 1791 to provide a defense against Arab, Madagascan and French pirates but was soon utilized for the abominable slave trade.
The crumbling ruins of once majestic colonial buildings, three forts and an intact church whisper fascinating secrets of life on the island as it was until 1902 when the Portuguese moved en masse to the mainland and the present day city of Pemba.
Nowadays, traditional dhows and fishermen go about their daily life as they have for centuries; seagoing vessels are crafted on the beach; the women harvest coffee and cassava and hunt octopus in the shallow waters, and jewellery is created by silversmiths using the same ancient, Arabic techniques. The ghost town, with its sandy flowered streets offers a unique feel, a magical atmosphere on a stunning tropical island.
Ibo's beauty is quite intoxicating.
In March 2012 Ibo was voted one the best secret beaches of the world by "Travel and Leisure"