BURTON FAMILY - WORLDWIDE TRIPS travel blog


First the tourist blurb: virtually unknown to the outside world and undisturbed for centuries, Ibo island is a place where time has stood still.

Well it oozes bygone times, an ancient Muslim trader site established before the Portuguese arrived in the fifteenth century. There was no love lost when the Portuguese arrived and displaced The Arab traders who refused to trade with them, resulting in Arab life and property destruction. The village is quite spread out melting back into the lush vegetation, grand old colonial buildings and a Catholic church with three forts over five hundred years old. Numerous small crumbling mosques and cemeteries were dotted around the island set against flowering flame trees. There were few visible inhabitants which gave the place the feeling of a ghost town far away from any other signs of human life.

The only commercial activity is found in the forts where forty odd gnarled silversmiths wield small blowtorchs to fashion exquisite and intricate silver earrings and bracelets adding to the stifling heat outside.

Once again this coastal settlement was a major supply point for slaves from the interior in conditions one can barely imagine, and all were involved: Europeans, Arabs and local chieftains.

Come the revolution in 1975 when Frelimo took over, the Portuguese residents were given 24 hours to get out, taking what they could carry, resulting in destruction of the country's wealth.

Our ship had to anchor four miles off the pier because of sandbanks and dubious charts which meant horrendous dinghy conditions in unusually high seas to get back to base. Looking on the bright side no-one was lost overboard and the captain agreed to launder our soaking clothing for free.



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