We did the sunset boat tour around Ilha with Ilha Blue and had a wonderful time. The Ilha Blue staff was very warm and professional, and showed us around the beautiful island. Sunset is also a great time of day to be out on the water. All in all, I would highly recommend using Ilha Blue for exploring Ilha de Mozambique.
I’m pretty sure the title says it all… I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the sunset boat trip around Ilha with Gail and Pete from Ilha Blue. Especially at the end, jumping off the boat and taking a swim and then having drinks by the fortaleza. Magical experience and a must-do!
Denny – Ilha de Mozambique
A friend had recommended Ilha Blue & there was also a brochure in my hotel. It was good to know the owners only employ local people & focus on local capacity building. I found all the staff to be knowledgeable, very pleasant & helpful, so I really enjoyed the time I spent with them.
First I went beach-combing with Selemani to find ancient trade beads that had washed up on the shore from the shipwrecks around the island. I found exactly two while Selemani’s sharp eyes picked up a handful, together with porcelain pieces. No Ming porcelain for me sadly, though divers have found some in the past.
Secondly we went by traditional dhow to look for whales & again the sharp eyes of the staff made sure we saw whales, dolphins & turtles. Our day was complete after snorkelling, followed by a delicious lunch on a tranquil deserted island. My next adventure was to take a bike ride around the island, once again with the knowledgeable Selemani. I had done a short walking tour when I first arrived with a lad who purported to be one of the hotel’s official guides (who I later found was not) but his English was poor & his information was often incorrect. So it was a pleasure to cycle slowly round the island with Selemani & learn about all the different buildings, cultures & activities. As well as the historical information, he told me where to find good food & coffee, how to buy a ticket to visit the fortress, where to swim, etc.
My last trip with Ilha Blue, since I was on the island when there was a blue moon, was by dhow to Sena Island, also called Ilha das Cobras. This island is only reachable at low tide, so Ilha Blue organises a night’s camping with delicious seafood meals so that visitors can take kayaks to a hidden lagoon at the back that only fills at high tide. A beautiful lagoon surrounded by mangroves, I had the impression of being on a volcano lake because the water enters via underwater passages – some of us followed the underwater passages to the outer caves. Our beautiful moonlit night was somewhat spoilt by a rain storm that blew in very rapidly from the ocean, unexpected by everyone and very unusual, which was a pity. I am tall & the blanket we were given wasn’t big enough for me, especially when the tent leaked at the sides, so I wished I had brought a light sleeping bag, but that was the only hitch in a wonderful trip. The staff were quick & efficient & were especially concerned about my safety getting in & out of the boat. A wonderful few days.
Isla G – Harare, Zimbabwe
Virtually any hotel or restaurant in Ilha de Moçambique displays brochures from Ilha Blue (well designed brochures and very informative, by the way!); I found one at Villa Sands and decided to give a call on a lazy, warm afternoon. Pete was so kind, invited my partner and I to drop by Ilha Blue’s office to get all the information we wanted and we immediately opted for the sunset dhow sail. We were very lucky, because the huge, wonderful dhow was all for the two of us – although a whole crew was keeping it going and Pete suggested to come with us as to take care of things, including drinks (yes, drinks, because you will enjoy your aperitivo on a sail, wooden boat overlooking the sunset…). We accepted joyfully and the whole sail – going around Ilha, jumping in the warm water before the Fortress, chatting, relaxing and sipping a beer – was incredibly pleasant. Pete and his partner Gail, whom we had the chance to briefly meet just before saying goodbye, are caring yet discrete, besides being passionate professionals with strong attention to the people and the places they interact with. Thank you, guys!
Sestante – Maputo, Mozambique
I would definitely recommend the bicycle tour. Do this on the first morning after you arrive so you can get an idea of the island and the historical streets and buildings. I also went on the sunset dhow cruise which was also very good. If you’re lucky Gail might make her excellent pesto for the trip!
Reviewer – Cape Town, South Africa