Posted by: Caroline | February 24, 2010

Ilha de Moçambique (or Ballpoint Pen Island)

After our frustrating evening with the police in Maputo, we spent Valentine’s Day flying to Nampula (our Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique breakfasts even included heart-shaped chocolates — would you get that on Delta?) and getting to the small and remote Ilha de Moçambique. We caught a minibus from Nampula through a countryside covered in granite mountains and police checkpoints (we were stopped five times over the course of a three-hour ride).

The Ilha was the colonial capital of Mozambique before it was moved to Maputo, and Portuguese influence is still evident in the architecture of Stone Town on the northern side of the island.

On the southern side, Makuti Town has more of an African village feel.

Although the Ilha is a World Heritage Site, we encountered few other tourists. Ilha residents often seemed suspicious or at least surprised to see us, but a few “Bom dias” (good mornings) smoothed things over quickly.

Children are the only true indicator that tourists do actually come here (besides an adorably small tourist information desk). Apparently tourists of the past have showered these kids with canetas (pens) because they all expected some from us. We couldn’t give them canetas, but we could take their photos — which was so exciting for this boy that he wanted to see what it looked like before we even finished taking it.

Views from our favorite restaurant, Reliquias

Reliquias had some amazing prawn curry with coconut milk-soaked rice.

The Ilha at work and play

A beach on the north end of the island

Entrance to the island’s hospital


  1. nice blog yall. everything looks amazing.

  2. […] Boston you know you’ll probably be back someday. But when you’re somewhere like the Ilha de Mocambique, you’ve got to consider it your one and only […]

  3. […] say it’s the most beautiful small colonial city we have been to–and we’ve seen our fair […]

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