Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique (Mozambique Island) is an island in the Nampula Province in Northern Mozambique with a historical heritage that's unmatched in the rest of Mozambique, and indeed the rest of Africa. It was the capital of Mozambique for nearly four centuries under Portuguese colonization before the move to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and had been used as a major base for the Arab traders long before the arrival of the Portuguese. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tiny, roughly 1 sq km island is connected by a concrete bridge with the mainland and is said to be crowded by 16000 inhabitants, most of them living in shacks with dismal sanitary conditions.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 29.4 29.4 29.4 28.9 27.8 26.1 25.6 26.1 26.7 28.3 29.4 30.0
Nightly lows (°C) 27.8 27.8 28.3 27.8 26.7 24.4 24.4 23.9 23.9 25.0 26.7 27.8
Precipitation (mm) 270 275 133 40 8 4 4 3 2 11 19 193

From fr:Île de Mozambique

Get in

By plane

The closest passenger airport is in Nampula, and it has flights from both other Mozambican and some other major African airports including Maputo, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

By car

The island can easily be reached by road from Nampula. If you're driving follow the road towards Nacala, and turn off at the signpost for Ilha de Mozambique (which is in Monapo). It'll take around 2 hours and the road is good. When you get there you'll need to cross the causeway which costs about Mts 5,000.

By minibus

If you're taking a chapa (minibus) they leave from Ave de Trabhadores in Nampula near the railway station and cost Mts 80,000.

Get around

Ilha's is fairly tiny and you won't have any trouble walking around it - it's about a 20 minute walk from end to end, and only about 3 blocks wide. Gabriel's has bikes you can hire for the day.


Ilha's a mix of colonial Portuguese and old Swahili architecture. It basically divides into two halves - the old Stone Town in the north and the "Reed Town" in the south which is set down from the main streets.

The fort.


You can take boat trips or just laze on the beach. Swimming is however not advisable as the water is very dirty. If you're feeling adventurous take a dhow over to the mainland at Chaga or Mossuril and explore along the coast there.


Some great souvenirs to purchase here literally come from the sea. On one hand there are shells and corals and objects made of them, on the other hand there are remains from the many shipwrecks from the waters around the island that have been flushed onto shore. In addition, there are also old Portuguese silver and bronze coins, from the colonial age.


Fishermen in the waters outside Ilha de Mozambique

There aren't that many restaurants on the island, with Reliquias and Escondidinho heading the list up in Stone Town. But you can find a number of local places serving fish and rice or chima. Establishments in Drink also serve food.



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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.