Ihla de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique is a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site and was the original capital of Portuguese East Africa. From around 400 years since the first landing by Vasco de Gama in 1499, Ilha de Mozambique was the site of the most important Portuguese settlement on the Indian Ocean seaboard.

Today, the island, which is less than a square mile in size and accessed via a single-lane bridge from the mainland, is a fascinating mix of abandoned colonial buildings and grass-thatch or tin-roof houses crowded together. The blend of Bantu, colonial, and Muslim influences gives Ilha a similar feel to other old Swahili ports such as Lamu, Mombasa, and Zanzibar. Immersing yourself in the island’s narrow alleyways, cobblestone streets, and local stores for an afternoon is a unique cultural and historical experience.

The best accommodation is at Coral Lodge Mozambique on the mainland peninsula, just a 20-minute boat ride away. Ilha de Mozambique is approximately a one-and-a-half-hour drive from the city of Nampula.