Think of unexpected outliers and Ilha de Mocambique should spring majestically to mind. A crescent-shaped island off Mozambique’s north coast, it marinades in the Indian Ocean with a delightful shimmer.
Ilha exists in its own little space. The entire island is barely two miles long and a few hundred yards wide, and yet it has wielded supreme influence over the years. Historically the island was east Africa’s trading centre. European, Arab and Indian merchants passed through the island and in doing so left behind a small token of their own cultures.
Today, these remnants are still visible, in the island’s mosques, its fortress and distinct colonial architecture. It comes as no surprise Mozambique Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
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Perhaps the most iconic, certainly the most sultry, locale is Stone Town. Head for Ilha’s north and bask in the friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The streets are wide, the air is clean, the atmosphere bucolic. Come nightfall and the all-pervading peace takes on a more atmospheric tone. It’s hard not to imagine a plaintive saxophone tableau wafting in the distance, such is the noir quality of the deserted alleys. Here is a real treasure island with plenty of tranquil riches to unwrap. (Honest Editor: Half-arsed)