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Every year, Ibo Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago of Northern Mozambique comes alive with celebrations for Mozambique’s independence, focusing around the island’s rich traditions and family.
As one of the oldest settlements in Mozambique, the history of Ibo Island goes back to a time when slaves, gold and ivory were traded by Arab merchants. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived and the island was colonized.
Today, this coral and palm-fringed island is still largely untouched and tucked away from the modern world, that is except during its annual festival. Ibo Island Festival is summed up as Kueto Siriwala – “don’t forget your roots, regardless of how far away from home you are.” Each year during the festivities the air is scented with sweet coconut milk.
This year, from early morning boatloads of people traveled from the mainland to be there for the celebrations – as is the African culture, everyone relishes the excuse to party all night long!
Many cycling and running races took place throughout the centre of the village,along to the island’s big fort, Forte São João Baptista, and back through the stone town. There were thrills and spills with some tough competition! Ibo Island Lodge sponsored the Kaskinia race and it was no surprise that local fisherman Selemane Juma – who usually provides the lodge with the largest catch of the day – won the race for the second year running (no pun intended).
Ibo Island was lively with a myriad of culture, with groups of women singing and performing a traditional snake-like dance “Nyoka” under the backdrop of a mango tree.
Stalls throughout the village displayed local crafts and fresh produce, including fine traditional foods for guests to taste.
The regatta race, Saint Jao, invited many dhows into the surrounding seas as they competed for the winning title. All in all, this was a wonderful time to spend 72 hours in Ibo Island.
Enchanting Travels Top Tip: Highlights of the festival each year are watching a game of soccer alongside hundreds of local supporters and the midnight fogueira or bonfire lighting.
Would you like to explore Ibo Island further? Speak to one of our South Africa Enchanting Travels Consultants and design your trip today!
Bradley Yandell, Enchanting Travels | April 4, 2017
Enchanting Travels was born more than a decade ago, in 2004, by two passionate travelers turned entrepreneurs. After finishing their MBAs at INSEAD in France, they knew they wanted to share their joy of travel in a more seamless, professional and authentic way in order to give guests better experiences and memories to last a lifetime. Today, the company is international with 6 offices across 4 continents, and in 32 different countries. Enchanting Travels employs nearly 130 people and is on a mission to continue redefining custom travel experiences.