This was truly a day to remember. We started off watching humpback whales cavort in the water around our boat, then landed on a desert island where the crew gave us a delicious lunch and finally we sailed back to Ilha with the sun setting over the Indian Ocean. Everyone was extremely friendly as well as skilled at their jobs. You must do this if you are visiting Ilha!
Having planned an impromptu trip with Ilha blue the night before going on the snorkelling and dhow trip, the experience with Ilha Blue was nothing but great! We met up for the dhow cruise at 8.30 am and got a briefing on the what to expect, the plan was to go out hopefully in the search of seeing some whales and dolphins, but not to be to optimistic as we were right on the tail end of the whale migration.
We got onto the dhow, from the pier right outside the Palace and Chapel of São Paulo around 9 am and set sail north east round the top of the island with fantastic views of the Fortaleza de São Sebastião. The plan was to sail to the east into open water past the island Ilha de Goa a small outpost island with a old Portuguese built lighthouse and try and spot some whales. The cruise was nothing but magical, and after being out on the water for about an hour and a half, and not spotting any whales or dolphins the crew decided we’d sail back to the shores of Ilha de Goa to snorkel over a couple of shipwrecks. Although the water was choppy the water had crystal clear visibility and the variety of fish and starfish around the shipwrecks made for a super exciting snorkel. After being in the water for some time we then decided to head over the the beach on Ilha de Goa and sit on the pure white sand and relax and explore the vast variety of beautiful shells on the beach and lighthouse on the island.
We then sailed back to the pier from which had had left around 12.30 pm to get back onto the main island just in time for lunch.
A dhow trip with Ilha Blue is must when visiting Ilha de Moçambique. Take plenty of sun protection and a hat as the sun can be brutal.
A lively group of 9 children aged 3-10 attend a learning center on Ilha de Mocambique. On Fridays one of the children’s parents are in charge of setting up a program for the kids. Upon hearing about this, Ilha Blue were so friendly that they offered to take the bunch out on a whale watching excursion as a gift. The group did not only see a family of whales at such a short distance that you could hear them breath, but the family decided to come and inspect the boat with its young “crew” up close. To see the whales so up close was already an amazing experience but when they started to “sing” and everyone could hear the unusual sounds coming from them, the children were spell bound. Ilha Blue took the group to Ilha de Goa where they climbed the light house to see the coast and Ilha from a new perspective. Ilha Blue’s crew were fantastic and the kids felt at ease during the entire journey. All children and also their parents would like to thank Ilha Blue very much for the fantastic experience they have provided to these youngsters. Muito OBRIGADO.
The crew was amazing, well organized and really nice during all the day. We also saw the whales really close to our boat, amazing experience. After we went to see some reef and we had the lunch on an incredible beach with white sand and crystalline water.
Giorgio – Milan, Italy
We were two 28-years-old girls backpacking the country for two weeks and we had just an awesome day discovering the secret spots of Ilha de Mozambique and its surroundings. We chose the Ocean Safari option, which offered us the chance of seeing whales, discovering the fairy underground world of the region by snorkelling near Goa Island and having a very tasty picnic on that island. They took care of everything, so we only had to wear our swimwear and sun cream. And this all was thanks to Gail and her local workmates who, in a very intimate atmosphere since we where just 4 visitors, showed us their natural paradise by sailing with a typical dhow. Furthermore, they helped us plan the following days further north, by giving us contacts and good tips. Definitely I recommend them to anyone who is interested in discovering and enjoying the area.
I highly recommend staying for more than just a few days, which most people tend to do, I was fortunate enough to stay for a month. The adventures I’ve had are mind blowing from little walks where I have found old and beautiful buildings from the area of the Portuguese, to the joy of the locals, some of the happiest people I’ve met in my travels happy to show you and sell you things, or even teach you how to run a long with a tire and a plastic bottle. (not as easy as the kids make it look.)
A great way to get a first hand look in to the locals way of life and the history of the island is to go on a bicycle tour, the guide (Salamani) is very knowledgeable and friendly, its well worth it’s weight in gold.
If you are here during the season of the humpback whales, (late July/August) then the whale tour I also did was fantastic!
We where lucky enough to get very close to the whales, a little bonus was that we were sailing in the local and traditional Dhow so we didn’t have the noise of the motor.
Highly recommend. 🙂
I traveled solo in Ilha de Mocambique. Ilha Blue tours were part of a great experience. Going on a guided tour on bike around the island was a great way to enter inside the historical atmosphere. Seeing a beautiful sunset from the dhow, going to see the whales and having lunch on a beautiful little island or snorkelling around the Discovery ship made my stay on the island memorable. I only missed a trip to Ilha das Cobras. Next time!
Emanuela – Suceava, Romania
Great atmosphere, laid back sort of place and setup. I had a perfect day, very solid boat and professional guys to take you to a variety of islands for snorkeling, picnic and WHALE WATCHING… very WOW. Amazing clear blue water for snorkeling and a picture perfect beach to stop for a while. Surprisingly it’s run by a delightful Aussie/English couple… (I don’t mean that it’s unusual for them to be nice).
Sylvia Scaglia – Sydney Australia
I’ve been on the bicicleta tour, whale-watching trip and 3-fortaleza kayaking tour of the island – all absolutely amazing and led with great professionalism by local guides.
The bicicleta tour was a great way to explore the island, to see parts of it, such as the interior of the macuti town and the slavery memorial garden, that I might otherwise have missed, and have the history explained by our local guide (in Portuguese, but I believe he also speaks English well). The whale watching trip was out of this world – beautiful humpback whales leaping from the waves, sometimes just a few metres from the dhow (my one concern would be that us being so close to the whales might disturb them?), followed by snorkelling in the clear waters over a coral reef, and a picnic lunch on a little sandy island. The crew were really friendly and helpful, and seemed just as excited as we were every time a whale jumped out of the water!
And last but not least, the kayaking trip gave yet another perspective of the island: paddling through the shallows and chatting to local women as they waded out to collect shellfish; glimpsing bright starfish and dark sea urchins on the sea floor; seeing the warehouses from the angle they were built for; climbing up onto the craggy tidal island of the Fortaleza de São Lourenço, still littered with Portuguese cannons; watching a boatfull of fishermen hauling their nets in; seeing absolutely incredible, colourful fish as we snorkelled in the coral reefs, including a younger reef that has grown on the hull of an abandoned ship; and having another picnic in a little cove beside the Fortaleza de São Sebastião. My arms were exhausted by the end but it was definitely worth it!
Thank you Gail, Pete and the team for designing these tours with such imagination, and delivering them with such friendliness – hope to be back soon 🙂
Katharine H – Nampula, Mozambique
Such very nice people (both the owners and staff). Great day kayaking one day and sailing/whale watching another. Very knowledgeable about local history, sites, activities, etc. They also helped us arrange ground transportation from Pemba, a town a few hundred kilometers North of Ilha de Mocambique – much lower cost than flying, and much quicker and more comfortable than the minibuses that are the major source of land transportation in Northern Mozambique. Highly recommended.
We loved this trip. Pete took us out with his local boat team. We saw humpbacks breaching from a safe distance. Great food and drink on a lunch stop with clear vis snorkelling. Pete is a wonderful person and we chatted and exchanged views – fantastic. If you visit Mozambique island then call in for a chat. They will likely always have something to offer anybody. We wanted more time to do the sunset sail too! Weather was perfect and watch this Island as it is going to be very popular. I would go with this outfit over any competition as they consider the employment of their local team as the real reason to do the business. They keep them employed (and paid!) even in low (off) season which is so very special in this day and age. We really, really hope they do so well. They even joined us for dinner & drinks in the evening. Super people.
Jimmy – Newcastle, UK
Peter and Gail know the island and the area around, they know the people and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure your activity is top notch!! They even overcome nature. On a whale-watching cruise we happened to be in that short period of the year where the wind shifts from north to south and we had no wind. Peter came out over a mile in the ocean in a 2 meter boat, gave us the motor off the boat and rowed himself back to the island so that we could have a successful day. They are dedicated to making your experience enjoyable and increasing your knowledge about the wonderful Island that is Ilha de Mozambique!
Fred and Ethel – Beijing, China
The service provided by Ilha Blue was second to none from the very beginning and I’m so glad I stumbled across them whilst researching things to do on the island before leaving. This is a lovely operation, easily accessible from all hotels and hostels on the island, and run by a conscientious couple with a conscience!
Each tour they set up is done so with the intention of not being in competition with any other operation on the island, and they have a great relationship with their staff. They are warm, friendly and incredibly helpful with lots of useful tit-bits of advice extending beyond their own tours. I only went on the dhow sailing/whale watching tour but it was a wonderful adventure and exceptional value for money. The humpback whales eventually came out as if performing only for us, doing all sorts of things I’ve never seen whales do before! And lunch was spent on an island reminiscent of the ‘desert island’ of our dreams. Lunch was home-made and accompanied by local beers! What more do you need? Well, it turns out, a last minute race to see a whale at sunset before heading home, weary, sunned, and delighted. They will be my first port of call if I visit the island again and should be yours too.
Caroline – UK
Highly recommend going on the fabulous whale watching trip! Gail and Pete are so friendly and knowledgeable. The picnic lunch was so nicely thought out – a real highlight! Gail even hooked me up with some antibiotic magic powder to cure my scabs from a previous knock. Thanks again!
Joel – London
So many whales spotted that we lost the count! One even almost at our side, (it was a good feeling to be in a sturdy sailing boat that doesn´t agitate the enormous being).
After all the whales, a nice swim and wonderful lunch under cooling shade, before sailing back. Overall a very nice experience to be recommended! I just wish I had had my camera with me.
We stayed on Ilha for 6 days, and in this time took a whale watching trip on a dhow, and also did the bicycle tour of the Island. Peter and Gail run a great operation, very sustainable and clearly committed to engaging the local community. They were also a good source of information about the Island.
Tori Edwards – Sydney, Australia
Pete and Gail are great hosts, we popped in and asked about whale watching and a trip was immediately organised. We then decided to visit a local beach and a lagoon with them, this was a great day out with a lovley lunch of BBQ marlin and salad. After talking to Pete I got the view that the business Gail and he runs is very ethical and they engage with the local community on all their trips and don’t compete with what others are doing. The whale watching was fun from a distance we saw breaching whales and a couple swam within 200m of the dhow. I would highly recommend the trips we did.