One comes to Ibo island to enjoy the island feeling, to be far removed from all normal luxuries and consumerism.
People on Ibo live modest and simple lives. Many of its inhabitants have never been in Pemba, the nearest city, and can count their days on the mainland on one hand.
Walking through Ibo gives you the feeling of being placed in a time-warp. The ‘bairro cemento’ of Ibo is full of coral stone houses, some recently renovated, others simply subsiding under the unrelenting sun and steady sea breeze…
The most used means of transport for the islanders is still the traditional dhow of all shapes and sizes with improvised or proper sails. A fair deal of fishermen also use the local dug-out canoes, called kaskinia, to peddle their way to the best fishing spots.
Most households keep a few goats, but these are mainly reserved for ceremonial purposes. The goats take in their own special place in family life and you’ll see them climbing on walls, looking for any sort of shrub to eat and then return home at night to sleep with their family.
Ibo has some 4000 inhabitants and is situated in the National Park of Quirimbas. The main activity of ibo’s inhabitants is subsistence fishing. Tourism is fairly new on the island, which means that you’ll regularly come across a child that sees a white person for the first time and runs off with big tears running down its cheeks shouting ‘Wazungu wazungu’ to the safety of his mum.
When you arrive by plane it is not uncommon that your pilot will fly over the airstrip once before he actually lands. This is only to chase away the cows, as the airstrip doubles as a grazing ground.
Links of interest:
A Lost City at World's End: East Africa's Ibo Island. Time
La isla proyecto. El País
Dos gotas de África. El Páis
Kaskazini Travel Agency. Pemba
Ibo Tide Calendar