Ilha de Mozambique displays a charming blend of Portuguese colonial relics and African heritage. During the nearly 400 years of Portuguese occupation, this island was the capital of Mozambique before the leaders moved to Maputo in 1898. Before that, it spent centuries as a strategic base for Arab traders and marine explorers. The hundreds of years of cultural diversity have made their mark, and today Ilha de Mozambique harbors a healthy collection of historic sites.

This urbanized island is just over one mile long and only 500 yards wide. It is connected to the mainland by a one-mile bridge and divided into two distinct areas. In the south find the residential area Makuti Town abuzz with daily life and Makonde citizens. Stone Town, so named for its grand stone fortress of San Sebastian, occupies the northern part of the island and is where most of the former colonial buildings are planted.

UNESCO has declared Ilha de Mozambique a World Heritage Site, its dramatic architecture and cultural traditions deemed important enough to include on the global list of shared human heritage. Many colonial and neo-classical examples of architecture contribute to its landscape, and many of them now house museums for the island’s art and history. Within Stone Town’s fort lies the Church of Nossa Senhora do Baluarte, built in 1522 and one of the oldest surviving examples of European architecture in the Southern Hemisphere.

Mozambique luxury travel with Ker & Downey and our expert local private guides will take you to the heart of the unique culture on Ilha de Mozambique. The people of Ilha de Mozambique are cheerful, filling their days with music, dancing, and fishing. Taste fresh fish dishes from a local baracka, tour past colonial churches and buildings, and celebrate a life lived leisurely on this tiny island. Explore with us from Stone Town to Makuti, uncovering excellent Indian Ocean spots for diving and fishing, and watching the frivolity of the locals in the very best bars and restaurants.