March 22nd is the date set for this season’s final visit by the MSC cruise ship Sinfonia. Preparations are already underway to make this visit the best one yet.

Ilha Blue are the official activities organisers and each trip gives us the opportunity to fine tune the tours to best suit are mostly South African cruise ship clients.

The Guided Tour of the Museum and Fortaleza is the most popular activity. The guides are UNESCO trained and do a fantastic job; they always come in for special praise for providing an informative and fun way to experience this World Heritage site. Many people combine this activity with lunch at one of the islands restaurants.

Snorkelling takes place near the Fortaleza and marker buoys are used to indicate where the best reefs are. As well as colourful coral the site teems with fish and other tropical marine life. Snorkellers can make use of a traditional wooden dhow which we anchor at the site, to be used as a rest stop and dive pontoon.

Dhow trip on the Edna. Many of the most impressive World Heritage buildings face the water and this one hour trip by traditional sailing dhow is the best way to see and photograph them. More than any other activity this one sells out quickly so book early.

Ticket  to Fortaleza. If you don’t want to go on a tour but still want to get a feel for the island’s history then a ticket to the Fortaleza is perhaps the answer. Buy tickets onboard to avoid queuing at the museum and allow at least 40 minutes to explore the churches, cisterns, captains residence and cannon lined battlements.

Other activities. In addition to what Ilha Blue organise there are local dhow operators, motorbike and car taxis and even a few people with bikes to hire. On the Pontáo and other key sites you’ll see traditional Tofu Dancers performing a welcome dance (feel free to join in for a photo or just for fun) Everybody takes Rand now although its still an unfamiliar currency so be patient while deals are done. Drinks, snacks and plenty of souvenirs are also easy to find. Ask on board the ship for a free map of where to go and what to see