Discovering the Quirimbas Islands Archipelago – day 1
The Quirimbas Islands are a paradise not known yet by mass tourism and a fabulous destination with much to offer: unspoiled vegetation, white beaches, crystal clear water and rich marine life. The Quirimbas form an archipelago of 32 islands of different sizes, off to northern Mozambique. The best way to explore this untouched gem of Africa is camping on Ibo Island. There are 2 options to get there: the first and hardest is with local transports, the easiest is by flight from Pemba.
We reach Ibo after a very long trip with local transports. At first, we take the bus from Namialo city (you can take it from Pemba or Ilha de Mocambique), and after a 9 hours ride, we get off a few kilometres from Pemba. Here, with the help of the local people, we jump into a car until we arrive at Tanganhague jetty, where we take a wooden boat to Ibo. Surely it’s better to take a flight but using the local transports in Africa is always a unique and fun experience. They run, but you don’t know when! Ibo is an ancient city, one of the most ancient settlements in Mozambique and a combination of Portuguese, Indian, Arabian and African influences.
On the first day, we want to discover all the best spots of this place. Along the town’s old streets, we meet a young local guy named Abu, who offers to lead us for the next few days. After visiting the fort Joao Baptista, the church with the old colonial stone houses and the small market, we decide to have a nice trip along the island to reach the old Portuguese lighthouse.
The hike is fascinating but under a scorching sun and takes almost 4 hours (round trip), passing through the mangrove swamp, reefs, beaches lined with high palm trees. Once we reach the lighthouse, a small white building no longer in use, we take a few pics; then, since it’s impossible to swim in this area, we head back to see the sunset along the Ibo beach. In front of us a wonderful view: the sun, with its warm red colour, sets in the distance where the sky meets the sea while the low tide shows many mangrove trees in the middle of the water.