Ibo Dhow Safari

Ibo Dhow Safari: Our full report

Up to 8 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 2 reviews
All year

The Ibo Dhow Safari, is a mobile island-hopping safari, offering comfortable fly-camping on uninhabited island beaches. Operated by Ibo Island Lodge, with a full support crew looking after you, this is a unique way to explore Mozambique's most remote coastline.

We have not yet had a chance to experience the Ibo Dhow Safari, however here are some details that Ibo Island Lodge have given us themselves.

Guests travel between islands using a mix of sea kayaks and sailing on the dhow. Explore up wide coastal river mouths, teeming with red listed bird species and pristine mangrove forests. Snorkel off deserted white sandbanks in turquoise seas, and sleep in mobile fly-camps on uninhabited tropical islands.

The dhow safaris are led by experienced guides, and are backed up by a 12-meter traditional dhow, with a Mozambican skipper, crew and a chef on board to whip up seafood feasts around the campfire! The crew handles all the camp duties, leaving you free to kayak or walk around the islands and explore, relax, swim or snorkel.

These safaris look perfect for families or groups of friends. They can be tailored to suit various budgets, length of safari and any special interests or needs. Alternatively, Ibo Island Lodge also has set scheduled international departures of 7 nights that you can join throughout the year.

Our view

Ibo Island Lodge developed these dhow safaris as a novel way of exploring the archipelago for those with a spirit of adventure and looking for something totally different. A dhow safari is best combined with the comfort of a stay at Ibo Island Lodge.


Location: Quirimbas Archipelago, Mozambique

Ideal length of stay: The minimum stay that’s recommend is three nights. This will give you a good idea about the island hopping experience and allow time to visit the various islands and mainland highlights. Though it would be very easy to spend a week here exploring and relaxing.

Directions: There is an airstrip nearby on Ibo Island, which is a short 20-minute flight in a light aircraft from Pemba. Pemba is accessible from Johannesburg with SA Airlink or Mozambique Airlines (LAM) and also from Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi on LAM. Its then about a three and a half hour road transfer from Pemba takes you north through the Quirimbas National Park to the little fishing village of Mucojo which is the starting point of most of the safaris.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Breakfast: Starts with local tropical fruit, cereals, and freshly baked bread. A hot breakfast cooked over an open fire is also on offer.

Lunches: In keeping with the tropical island atmosphere, these are lighter meals served Alfresco on the beaches or under the shade of the main safari tent. Seafood wraps, prawn or kingfish kebabs with traditional island sweet chili sauce, served with fresh bread are typical specialties, followed by a fresh fruit salad or pancakes and Ibo honey.

Dinner: Is always cooked over the open fire and depends on what is freshly caught or bought from local fishermen each day with seafood and fresh line fish being the main star attraction!

Any vegetarians and non-seafood eaters can be accommodated with prior notice and are well catered for. Though it's vital to let us know in advance, due to the remote location. Children are also easily catered for with pasta dishes, plain grilled seafood, and lighter options. Your chef is very flexible.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are not included here; they are paid for as extras.

Special interests

Family holidays: These offbeat family beach holidays in Mozambique are operated by Ibo Lodge, and are best for families with older children. You’ll travel to pristine beaches by kayaks and a private, staffed dhow. Snorkel; visit Ibo's schools; join bird walks, football and boat races!

See more ideas for Family holidays in Mozambique

Honeymoons: Those looking for a unique honeymoon to Mozambique can do a private dhow safari for 2, island hopping and camping in remote and romantic destinations with just your crew there to spoil you. Combine this with a stay at the very luxurious Ibo Island Lodge for an idyllic honeymoon.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Mozambique

Birdwatching: The Quirimbas Archipelago doesn't have the density of species that you'll often find in mainland Africa, but the birdwatching at Ulumbwa River and Ibo Island is particularly good, with many coastal wading species seen.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Mozambique

Diving & snorkelling: Northern Mozambique has areas of pristine corals – and good snorkelling is possible from several hot spots on the safari. The diving in this area can also be very good, although there isn't currently any commercial diving operation here.

See more ideas for Diving & snorkelling in Mozambique

Cultural experiences: Visiting the traditional fishing villages in the Quirimbas isn't staged; it's a friendly way to experience a real slice of African island life. Fishermen build dhows on the beach, silversmiths make jewellery using ancient techniques, and curious children call out greetings.

See more ideas for Cultural experiences in Mozambique


Attitude towards children: These safaris are perfect for older children and families who are fairly active and adventurous.

Property’s age restrictions: Children are welcome.

Special activities & services: There are specific activities that are suitable for children like guided bird walks, kayak and dhow races, kayaking, football, swing-ball, snorkelling and visits to Ibo's schools.


Power supply: None

Communications: There is mobile phone reception on the islands.

TV & radio: No TV or radio.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: For minor injuries there is a first aid box. The nearest doctor is in Pemba, on the mainland, about a 20-minute flight away.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers on the dhow and each island camp, and emergency procedures are in place.


Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge

Money: Cash is required for any payments made on the island – US$, Mozambican MTS or South African Rand are accepted. There are no credit card facilities here.

X  Close