Hotel Review: Ibo Island Lodge, Mozambique

Marianne Perez

Bébé Voyage Rating – 8.5/10

If you are looking for a family-friendly adventure (way) off the beaten path, then Ibo Island Lodge is for you. Located on Ibo Island, Mozambique, the luxurious lodge takes great care of the needs of babies and kids so that parents can enjoy their time on the island and the surrounding marine reserve.

Family friendliness

Ibo Island Lodge was extremely family friendly. Our 3-year old’s room came with a high twin bed, which he was excited to sleep in, but they also offered us one that was lower to the ground as well as a closed crib. The room was reasonably child proof, without any fragile decorations or tangles of cords.

They had an ingenious system for creating a high chair which consisted of putting an extension on the feet of a regular chair to boost him up a few inches. The kitchen was also great about checking in about our son’s food preferences and asking if he wanted snacks.

Generally the staff was very child-friendly and willing to take care of him including when we were out for excursions on the boat and sand bank.

Location

Ibo Island Lodge is well located on Ibo Island, Mozambique with ocean views and a spectacular sunset over the mangroves. A part of the Quirimbas National Park, Ibo offers easy access to various marine and wildlife activities, as well as World Heritage nominated historical sites on the island. Beware though that Ibo Island is difficult to get to. We recommend avoiding LAM and taking South African Airlink from Johannesburg to Pemba and then a prop plane from Pemba to the island. The lodge does a superb job of arranging the short flight from Pemba to Ibo which is worth it for the views alone.

Rooms

The rooms were well appointed with comfortable four-post beds and mosquito nets. The ample family suite has a separate children’s room, which had a fan, but no air-conditioning. We particularly appreciated the turn down service which took care of setting up the mosquito nets for us every evening.

We were not entirely convinced by the lock on the trunk which acted as the safety deposit box and the lighting, especially for reading, could have been better.

Style & character

Housed in 3 adjacent restored colonial buildings, Ibo Island Lodge has tasteful and distinctive decor. The gardens with their swinging benches offer a nice respite from the heat. Details such as an old gramophone and a wooden trunk in lieu of a safety deposit box lend to the charm.  

Service & Facilities

Overall, the service and facilities at Ibo Island Lodge were great. Within a day, they knew our food and activity preferences. Every evening, while having sunset drinks, a staff member would meet with us to plan the next day’s outings and run the menus past us.

For those coming from fast-moving metropolises, you will need to adjust to a more relaxed pace and sense of time. As one of us likes to swim laps, we felt that the pool could have been longer. We also found the wifi to be intermittent and no real effort made to fix it.

Services & facilities available:

  • 2 swimming pools (small and medium)
  • Massage and spa
  • Complimentary wifi in reception
  • Activity bookings
  • Dive center
  • Restaurant on premises
  • Turn down service
  • Morning coffee/tea/juice delivery
  • Air conditioning
  • Back-up generator

Activities

We loved all the marine activities that Ibo Island Lodge prepared for us: snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and lunch on a sandbank. Our guide helped us spot rare species on the coral reef and expertly helped us approach some slightly skittish dolphins. And while we were in the ocean, the skipper took great care of our son, setting up a tent on the sandbank and looking for seashells with him.  During the dolphin swim, the catering crew came out to the sandbank and prepared an extraordinary tented lunch for us (including crêpes!)

Back on the island, the historical tour was pretty good, especially the visits of the various fortresses. The cultural tour however, could have been more thought out, for example with a home visit, or church/ mosque visits.

Food & drink

The kitchen was very good about respecting our (somewhat complicated) food preferences. We thought the food was good, but not exceptional. As we were having all our meals at the lodge, we did find it a little repetitive after a few days.

 

Value for money

Like all accommodations in Mozambique, the price is very high compared to the quality. In South Africa, for example, you can find places that are much better value for money. Because the Mozambique’s tourism infrastructure is poorly developed, accommodations, restaurants and other services that cater to tourists have to shoulder a large portion of the costs that are externalized in more tourism-friendly countries.  

 

Contact information

Ibo Island Lodge (website)

Reservations E-mail: [email protected]

Tel Line: + 27 21 785 2657

 

Rates

International resident rates from US$375

SADC resident rates from R2595

Air transport from Pemba to Ibo not included.
Special thank you to Dana Tours who helped us with the booking.

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