Ilha de Mozambique - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique

Ilha de Mozambique (Mozambique Island) is an island in the Nampula Province in Northern Mozambique, up the coast from Beira, with an unparalleled historical heritage. It was the capital of Mozambique for nearly four centuries under Portuguese rule before the move to Lourenco Marques (now Maputo), and was used as a base for Arab traders long before that. It is not only a wonderful tourist sight in Mozambique, but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ilha's an exquisite mix of old Portuguese and Muslim architecture, dividing the old Stone Town in the north and the 'Reed Town' in the south. There is a great museum in the form of the Palacio Govierno, a big red building in Stone Town. Also worth seeing is the fort at the northern tip of the island, home to the Church of Nossa Senhora Baluarte, quite possibly the oldest surviving European building in the southern hemisphere, dating back to 1522.

At the northern end of the island there is a dive centre, situated on a beach from where visitors can take boat trips or else just laze on the sand. For the more adventurous, a dhow can be taken to Chaga or Mossuril on the mainland to explore the coast. Requilias and Escondidino are two restaurants in Stone Town and there are a number of local places serving fish and rice, or chima. The best option for accommodation is the campsite on the mainland, next to the bridge.

Information & Facts

Portuguese is the official language, and there are 13 main national languages spoken. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.

The official currency is the New Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rand, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are also accepted to pay for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted in some upmarket hotels in Maputo, but facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited; it is advisable to carry cash or travellers cheques. ATMs are limited and tend to be unreliable, but local banks have branches in most cities.

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