We take a minivan next morning to Mozambique island. The roads are substantially better, and the driver keeps to the speed limit!! After 3 and a half hours of comfy driving (we again have secured the front seats) we arrive on the island. A long single lane concrete bridge spans the shallows between the mainland and the island. On the island we pass through the local town of houses that are fill the low ground either side of the high street, and on to Stone Town where we are staying at Casa Yasmin. The stunning architecture is old Portuguese. We wander round the market and find an out of the way restaurant where we eat a whole grilled squid with chips. The local beer, is also the best we have had in Africa.
At Casa Yasmin we meet a young Austrian couple Micheal and Maria. They have made the same crossing from Malawi that we have just a couple of days before us. We stay a couple more days , visiting the old Portuguese fort, and museums, and using the internet, finally! We then move hotel to Casa Luis where Micheal and Maria are staying, as we have arranged for the owner Luis to drive the 4 of us north to Quasanga, and the nearby port of Tandanhangue which is the departure point to the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago. We depart Mozambique island at 2am, and are at the port at 10am. The journey is simple, compared to what we would have needed to do if we had taken buses. We arrange a boat and wander out through the mangroves to the waiting dhow. Aboard we wait for the tide to rise and within 30 minutes we are sailing out. Another 30 minutes and we are insight of Ibo, the largest of the islands. We land at the beach and make our way to the nearest cafe and E and Michael wait with the bags, while C and Maria check out the accommodation options.
The girls return and we make our way to the chosen destination called Karibuni, but along the way we see Baobibo lodge. Here if we stay for 5 nights we get half price. We go to Karibuni and have a beer while we decide where to stay. Micheal and Maria have a tent, and so will camp at Karibuni. E & C decide to take the bungalow at Baobibo, which is new and of very comfy modern design, and views of the sunset over the water.
The lodge is run by a Swiss woman Lucie, and there are island safaris available with her French boyfriend Erwan. We decide to take a 3 day safari with Micheal and Maria and depart a couple of days later. Ibo is a beautiful island, and there is a feeling that it is very untouched and unspoilt by tourism.
We take a guide and walk at low tide to Querimba island, through the mangroves and across the wide beach. There are so many amazing seashells littering the beach. We lunch on crab. The return journey is taken by dhow and we must punt through the now flooded mangroves.
The island safari is undertaken in a dhow sailing boat, that also has an outboard engine. We visit a sandbar that disappears at high tide, and the islands of Matemo and Rolas, where we snorkel on a stunning reef of corals and fish. The waters are paradise colours of blues and greens, and we spot whales, turtles and dolphins. We stay 2 nights on Matemo island in wooden huts on the beach. In the evening we have a delicious meal of Octopus curry. The octopus is so very tender that it melts in the mouth.
On our last day we snorkel on an old Russian ship wreck, and the amounts of colourful fish is breathtaking. Returning to Ibo, we have a final meal with Micheal and Maria at a lodge called Cinco Portas, and dine on lobster. The next day they depart for the mainland and their journey home to Austria.
We stay on Ibo a few more days waiting for the southerly wind to return. When it does, we take a private dhow north passed the islands to Pangani. We share the ride with Kevin, from USA, and spend a couple of days at the beach. Kevin returns with the boat to Ibo, while we begin our trip to the Tanzanian border.