Ibo Island Lodge: The Lowdown

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If you want to experience coastal Africa with serious soul, then we think Ibo Island Lodge is for you. The three beautiful villas that make up the lodge were a labour of love for owners Kevin and Fiona, and feel as if they’re giving you a temporary window into a way of life that’s barely changed for generations.

What’s Ibo Island Lodge really like?

First off: the crucial thing we think you should note is that there’s not really much of a beach at Ibo Island Lodge. It’s incredible, very relaxing and seriously beautiful, but not really about the beach.  To Ibo’s fans (who are legion) this has never presented a problem, as frankly, the pools are lovely, there are pristine offshore sandbanks and there is so, so much more in the Quirimbas to do than lying on the sand. You can get beaches anywhere, but the people who come to Ibo come for the magic- after dinner drinks under the stars, endless scrumptious seafood, gorgeous architecture, and most importantly, the sense of discovering an unspoilt part of Africa that so few others ever find.

Ibo Island Lodge is made of three delightful, once crumbling, now beautifully restored villas with 14 rooms split between them. As you’d expect from this sort of authentic, charming hotel, all of the rooms are slightly different, but in general walls are thick and made of coral rag, with teak beams overhead, carved wooden furniture and splashes of tropical colour. The sea-facing rooms are all marginally more expensive than the other rooms and come with large four poster, verandahs and a tub to drift off in at the end of a lazy day.  The two historic rooms don’t have a bathtub or a sea view, but do both have a small lounge area, while the Garden Rooms are mainly twin bedded (one has a double bed) and look out onto the lovely tropical gardens.

What can I do at Ibo Island Lodge?

For such a peaceful spot, there’s a remarkable amount to do at Ibo- and for us, the chance to discover this joyously unspoilt island is a major part of Ibo’s allure. Ibo Island Lodge can arrange dhow trips to remote sandbanks (this is as close as Ibo gets to a conventional beach experience), visits to the island’s ancient Stone Town- seeing the silversmiths at work here is a particular treat. There is also a PADI dive instructor, snorkelling, sailing trips out to spot dolphins, kayak excursions through the mangroves, sunset dhow cruises, and fishing trips. The latter does depend on boat availability so please let us know in advance if this is something you are keen on. And to be honest, if that also sounds rather exhausting, Ibo can organise a small range of massages, which is an ideal way to properly relax into the pace of island life.

Giving back at Ibo Island Lodge… Ibo Island Lodge has been carefully and thoughtfully planned project from the start, to bring ruined villas back to life and provide sustainable employment on the island. To give you just a few examples: the lodge supports the island’s only primary school (this operates in three shifts per day just to try to fit everyone in, and you can visit it during your stay), souvenirs purchased from the silversmiths are not only beautiful, but help to support local families, and over 200 trees were planted as part of the building of the lodge.

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