Ilha de Moçambique, Nampula, Mozambique
Agent: Cliff Jacobs - Managing Principal Estate Agent
Agent Cellphone: +27 (0) 84 413 1071 / +27 (0) 61 716 6951
Agent Office Number: +27 (0) 21 554 0283
Agent Email Address: email@example.com
Type: Heritage Boutique Hotel
Yield: Not Disclosed
The Island of Mozambique (Ilha de Moçambique) lies off northern Mozambique, between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay, and is part of Nampula Province. Prior to 1898, it was the capital of colonial Portuguese East Africa. With its rich history and sandy beaches, the Island of Mozambique is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Mozambique's fastest growing tourist destinations. It has a permanent population of approximately 14,000 people and is served by nearby Lumbo Airport on the Nampula mainland.
Pottery found on Mozambique Island indicates that the town was founded no later than the fourteenth century. According to tradition, the original Swahili population came from Kilwa. The town's rulers had links with the rulers of both Angoche and Quelimane by the fifteenth century. In 1514, Duarte Barbosa noted that the town had a Muslim population and that they spoke the same Swahili dialect as Angoche.
The name of the island (Moçambique) is derived from Ali Musa Mbiki (Mussa Bin Bique), sultan of the island in the times of Vasco da Gama. This name was subsequently taken to the mainland country which is modern-day Mozambique, and the island was renamed Ilha de Moçambique (Island of Mozambique). The Portuguese established a port and naval base in 1507 and built the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte in 1522, now considered the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere.
During the 16th century, the Fort São Sebastião was built, and the Portuguese settlement (now known as Stone Town became the capital of Portuguese East Africa. The island also became an important missiionary centre. It withstood Dutch attacks in 1607 and 1608 and remained a major post for the Portuguese on their trips to India. It saw the trading of slaves, spices, and gold.
Apart from the ancient fortifications, only half of the town is stone-built. The hospital, a majestic neo-classical building constructed in 1877 by the Portuguese, with a garden decorated with ponds and fountains, was repainted white after the Mozambique Civil War. For many years, it was the biggest hospital south of the Sahara.
With the opening of the Suez Canal, the island's fortunes waned. In 1898, the capital was moved to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) on the mainland. By the middle of the 20th century, the new harbour of Nacala took most of the remaining business.
Other notable buildings on the island include the Palace and Chapel of São Paulo, built in 1610 as a Jesuit College and subsequently used as the Governor's Residence, now a museum; the Museum of Sacred Art, housed in the Church of the Misericórdia run by the House of Mercy, displaying an excellent Makonde crucifix; the Church of Santo António; the Church of the Misericórdia; and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte. The island, now entirely urbanised, is also home to several mosques and a Hindu temple. A 3 km bridge was erected in the 1960s to connect it to the mainland.
The island in itself is not very big, about 3 km long and between 200 and 500 metres wide. Most historical buildings are at the island's northern end. The majority of the residents live in reed houses in Makuti Town at the southern end of the island.
Welcome to the Garden of Aloes, a place where history and imagination meet....
This is an approach we have applied to the site, food and services we offer. We are located on Mozambique Island, Nampula Province, north of the 2000 km long Mozambican coastline.
We are building a Boutique Bed and Breakfast out of ancient ruins in one of the most historically rich and best preserved sites in the whole Southern African region. Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese sailor and explorer who found the route to India for the Portuguese Crown, anchored here in 1498. The Swahili sultan of the time, Mussa bin Bike, unknowingly gave his name to what later came to be known as Mozambique.
In fact Vasco’s “scribe” reported that they landed on the Island of “Moça m bique”, thus naming the island after the sultan.
Soon thereafter, Mozambique Island came to play a pivotal role in the Portuguese route to India and over time became the capital of the growing inland territory of Mozambique. Willingly or unwillingly it became a merging point of four continents and several cultures for over 500 years.
Its huge ancient walls and palaces and the more recent “macuti” houses (palm roof huts), where some local inhabitants live, are all recognized by Unesco as World Heritage sites. Today, the island contains a bustling population and is home again to a variety of peoples and cultures.
Myself, Bruno, an Italian from Rome, Judite, a Mozambican from Maputo, and Lucio Flavio, our little son born in Alexandria, Egypt, started this adventure four years ago after moving here but nine years before on paper, considering that then we acquired the first ancient walls for this purpose. Later more of them were added with the aim of building our home and B&B. We make an effort to make you feel as friends in our home not guests in a conventional hotel. We pay particular attention to details (too much some locals and friends say) and have personalized all areas and rooms as the historic walls suggested.
Finally, the B&B complex will include the family residence, a two-room-suite/apartment, three more one-room-suites, one double and one single bedroom, the garden and the swimming pool, terraces and verandas, all of which are centuries old … except for the swimming pool, of course … but careful, all these when the restructuring works ... will be completed, Insh'Allah.
So far, with much effort from all sides, and low efficiency everywhere, one area out of three has been completed … except for a few minor details.
Presently nobody can honestly see the end of all the works; who can do it are only the various Gods one can choose according to the various traditions and religions of the Island.
The premises are called Jardim dos Aloés (or Garden of Aloes) due to the many varieties of Aloe plants the owners nurture, which include the local Aloe Massawana, the imported Aloe Vera and Aloe Arborescens, Ferox, Marlothy, etc. Each of them gives its name to one room.
We are longstanding devotees of fresh aloe gel. Gels for skin and consumption are made in the house as well as Aloe flower jams … and more. This is practically a family tradition since 1983 and is one of the strong points of the adventure. During your stay you may also enjoy a sailing trip on our 24 foot yacht, historic walks, mainland and bush visits … and more.
What you can see in the pictures of the website are details of the Aloe Vera Suite/Apartment, the Aloe Arborescens Bedroom, the Aloe Ciliaris Suite, the loggia terrace, the external walls, etc.
Again, Welcome to the Garden of Aloes!
The biggest sub-regional flight hub is Johannesburg. There is a good direct flight to Nampula almost everyday. Alternatively there are direct flights to Nampula from Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. Third easy connection is via Maputo, with the national carrier for internal flights. You can get to Maputo via Johanneburg, Addis Ababa and Nairobi or directly from Lisbon. Adventurers come also with enormous motorbikes or by 4x4 cars from several places of Africa! From Nampula to the Ilha de Moçambique there is a taxi service that can be booked through our little hotel.