Dhow Safaris

Do you have a sense of adventure? Are you looking for an adventure safari of a lifetime? Under the expert leadership of a pro guide and experienced skipper and crew, explore the islands of the Quirimbas on a magnificent 12 meter traditional Arab dhow. Activities include snorkelling, diving and sea kayaking. Throw in the comfort of Ibo Island Lodge with all its fascinating history and culture, and you are set for a dhow safari of a lifetime.

Sail (or kayak) up wide coastal river mouths teeming with red listed bird species and pristine mangrove forests. Snorkel off deserted white sandbanks and into the turquoise sea and sleep in mobile eco-fly camps on uninhabited tropical islands. The famous chef will whip up the freshest of seafood over an open fire under the stars, leaving you free to soak up all the wonder of the moment.

Nearly everyone's favourite, the delightful dolphin, are in abundance in the warm Mozambican waters. During your dhow safari you have a chance to encounter common, spinner, bottle nose and humpbacks. Watch out for them off the bow as you sail through the azure waters. The Zambezi shark, tiger shark, blue spotted, sting ray, manta ray, and black and white tip sharks have also been seen.
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For 7 Nights
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At A Glance
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Sample Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrive Pemba – road transfer via Mucojo to Mogundula Island

You will be met off your flight at Pemba airport by meet & greet representative and shown to the transfer vehicle for the approximate 3.5 hour road transfer (subject to change based on road conditions) to Mucojo. You will travel through parts of the Quirimbas National Park and arrive at the little coastal village of Mocoja, where you will board a traditional dhow bound for Mogundula or Macaloe Island.

Usually the mobile eco camp is set up under the shade of the islands beautiful Chestnut trees. Your guide and crew will offer you drinks and settle you in to your tents and no doubt you will be keen to hit the beach for a swim and explore.

  • Day 2: Clear day to explore Mogundula Island and her surrounds

At Mogundula, you are carried beyond the reach of holiday crowds to sights and experiences few have seen. Exotic little hideaway’s offer intimate bays to explore. The sand spit beach of the island offers sublime swimming and don’t forget to explore the lake and look out for an excellent range of bird life.

Other options are a sail or paddle to nearby Macaloe Island and explore there, or sail to the mainland to explore the beaches and remote fishing villages in the Pangane Peninsula.

  • Day 3: Mogundula Island, via Rolas Island to Ulumbwa River mouth

Today will have you climbing aboard your dhow accompanied by your trusty guide and crew, carrying all mobile camp equipment and supplies for your exploration into the Quirimbas Archipelago! Sail south into the clearest of blue water with pristine corals below to explore under snorkel.

Dependent on conditions – you’ll stop at the tiny Rolas Island and its clear waters with excellent reefs to snorkel and a stunning white sandy peninsula to swim from. Local legend says the island is owned by the sacred resident coconut crabs, the largest species of land crabs. Tonight you’ll set up camp south of Ulumbwa village on the mainland, which is home for two nights.

  • Day 4: Clear day to explore Matemo Island

Rise early with the tropical sun to enjoy a fortifying tea or coffee and followed by an early morning sail up the Ulumbwa river mouth, this is an estuary seen by very few people and you will be viewing a variety of bird species of which the beautiful Mangrove Kingfisher is always a highlight.

The riparian forest along the river is a great habitat for a wide range of birds and you should see flocks of Black-bellied Starlings and other birds. The mangrove forest in this region is some of the most impressive in Africa and makes for great roosting spots. Dusk and dawn should reward you with sightings of Dimorphic Egret, Great White Egret, Yellow-billed Egret, Little Egret, Pink-backed Pelican, Yellowbilled Stork, Crab Plovers and Woolly-necked Storks.

The guides who lead these safaris are avid birding guides and will bring this unique ecosystem alive for you.

Next you’ll sail back into the blue water again to explore the southern tip of Matemo Island. Matemo is one of the larger islands inside the Quirimbas National Park. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a leisurely swim before returning to camp at Ulumbwa.

  • Day 5: Ibo Island and Ibo Island Lodge

Probably the most compelling attraction in the Quirimbas, Ibo Island and her 200-year-old ghost town and 15th Century forts make for a fascinating journey to an era long forgotten. Ibo has been described as one of the most unique and magical islands in the world and is the perfect place to explore the culture and heritage of the Quirimbas.

Once Mozambique’s mighty trading centre, Ibo Island has remained almost cut off to the outside world for almost a century. The island today is steeped in history and rich in culture and has been nominated as a potential World Heritage Site.

For the last 500 years, Ibo Island was a prosperous trading post. In the stone town three forts, a beautiful old catholic church and numerous ancient trading buildings stand guard over the sea. Pirates, slaves, ivory and intrigue are a part of this tiny palm-fringed coral island’s history. Boundless secrets, history and culture are still contained amongst the marvellous ruins, which date back to the early 1500’s.

When visiting Ibo it is not just the natural beauty of the island that strikes you. It is the beauty of the local people. It’s the mystery of the ancient buildings. It’s the slow and steady dhows that drift across the horizon, tracking the tides as they have done for centuries. It’s is a place that time forgot and now at last people are returning to know it again.

Ibo Island Lodge offers the island as a personal discovery for everyone who visits, and perhaps one of the major draw cards of the experience is the chance to interact with the local people and understand the culture with acclaimed guided experiences.

  • Days 5, 6, and 7: Spent at leisure at beautiful Ibo Island Lodge

You can be as active or as relaxed as you desire. There are included guided heritage and cultural experiences each day with your guide, as well as a full range of other activity options. Don’t forget to also relax at one of the pools, take a massage and soak up the unique atmosphere that is Ibo.

One of the most exciting aspects of visiting Ibo Island and Mozambique now, is the chance to be a part of the restoration of many National Parks and conservation areas and to contribute to and experience the beginnings of a grand tourism plan to launch and sustain responsible tourism developments in Mozambique.

Ibo Island is the headquarters of the Quirimbas National Park. It is also the hub of the tourism plan for the north. Various organizations including USAID, WWF and Conservation International to name but a few are involved in the restoration and tourism vision for Ibo Island. As the pioneer anchor tourism investor on Ibo Island, Ibo Island Lodge believes that it is critical that local communities benefit from tourism development which is based on sustainable and fair trade tourism.

  • Day 8: Ibo Island to Pemba for flight out

A beautiful light aircraft flight over the islands and turquoise waters transfers you to Pemba International Airport from Ibo Island Lodge.


  • Guided island hopping safaris
  • Island hopping & explore tropical bliss
  • Snorkelling over untouched corals
  • Sea kayaking
  • Dhow sailing
  • Viewing red listed species and mangrove forests

Total package price from: R 0

Packages are priced per person sharing, inclusive of:

  • International return, economy class flights
  • Airport taxes
  • Domestic flights or boat transfers
  • Return airport transfers
  • Accommodation for indicated number of nights
  • Meal and drinks plan as indicated

Prices are a guideline and may vary depending on date, time and class of travel, final rates would be confirmed at time of booking.

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