Ilha De Mozambique

History of Ilha

Also known as Mozambique Island, Ilha De Mozambique is a World Heritage Site visited by the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama in the late 1400’s.

In 1507, the Portuguese settled on the island. Ilha became an important centre for boat building, and had strong trading ties to Madagascar, Persia, Arabia & India.

Over time people from various locations settled on the island, marking it as an ethnically diverse port.

In the 1500’s, the Fort São Sebastião was erected on the Northern tip of the island. This development resulted in Ilha becoming the capital of Portuguese East Africa, and the islands importance of trading quickly grew, with the rise of gold, spice and slave trading. This also makes it the oldest fort in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is still intact.

Another interest on the island is the chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, which dates back to 1522, therefore making this the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere.

Due to African developments, in the late 1800’s Mozambiques’ capital was moved to modern day Maputo, and much of the trading was relocated to Nacala, which is now one of Africas deepest natural ports.

This now leaves Ilha De Mozambique an interesting tourist destination, allowing you to see where Mozambiques’ interesting history started

The island is 1 1/2 hours drive from the comfort of Libélula, and is easily done as a day trip, allowing you to see the sights, and have lunch on the island, before making your way back to Nacala. Alternatively we can arrange a 2-day sightseeing trip including transfers, a tour of the island and a dhow sailing trip.

Ilha De Mozambique