Since we decided to drive through Mozambique and we started to read up on the country, Ilha de Mozambique has been on the top of our list of places to see.
The island is 3 km off the coast and is connected to the mainland with a bridge. Long before the Portuguese arrived in 1498 Ilha de Mozambique has been a trading settlement with connections to Madagascar, Arabia and Persia. After discovering the Island the Portuguese established a settlement there, continued the trading, made it a naval base, built a fort, and the Island became the capital of Portuguese East Africa until the end of the 19th century when the capital was moved to Maputo. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ilha de Mozambique is about 3 km long and between 200 and 500 meters wide, and has roughly 14,000 inhabitants. In the southern end are the main living quarters and on the northern half are the remains of the old large houses, but there are people living there too.
Next to the bridge on the mainland there is a campsite, but there are none on the Island. As we drove out on the bridge we decided we would look for a room for the night, because we would like to stay out there. As we were driving around looking, some teenage boys were a little too eager to help us, but as soon as we had parked the car and walked around, we were left to ourselves. People continued with what they were doing and let us walk around without much attention. We found a room at Patio dos Quintalinhos and they also had secure parking for the Patrol in a locked garage. The owner is Gabriel, a friendly and helpful Italian. He is an architect and he have renovated and built up the Patio.
Here Espen is relaxing on the sofa one evening. The sofa is a small wooden boat that hangs from the roof.
First we thought we would spend one night on the Ilha de Mozambique, but in the end it became three nights. As with many places you get to, your first impression is not the best, but the more time you give the place the more you like it. Some other travellers thought it looked like a war zone, and in one way it does, but it is also a really fascinating place.
We spent the days wandering around in the streets, relaxing at Patio dos Quintalinhos and eating good fish meals in the restaurants.
Here are some photos from our wanderings around town.
A dhow in front of the fort.
People arriving on the island with a dhow.
The fishing port.
Bringing fresh fish home for dinner.
Another couple that was out for a stroll.
The old hospital.