World Heritage Site

Ilha de Mozambique Travel Blog

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To get to Ilha de Mozambique without our own transport, the next morning at the local bus station we had to wait for a few hours crammed into a minibus until it had filled up completely. Then off we went, and arrived in Ilha before nightfall, which was at 3pm or something ridiculous. With the help of an enterprising child who spoke excellent English we found a very reasonable and incredibly beautiful room in an old colonial house with walls as thick as a fort’s, high ceilings and turn-of-the-century wooden furniture.
The city, which we explored that night and early the next morning, was as beautiful as our hotel but in very poor repair. We saw a lot of plaques by foreign agencies proclaiming the planned renovation of one or another building on the world heritage site, but very little had actually been done. Squatters occupied many buildings, including the general hospital whose inhabitants were stringing up colorful laundry between the columns of its grand portal as we were walking by. It was five o’clock in the morning, the rising sun was painting everything pink, and the fishermen were getting ready to leave shore. “No photos!” they joked, well aware of the scene’s picturesque quality,
Alas, we had a train to catch and so had to get going. We caught a ride over the bridge to the mainland, which supposedly was to connect with the main shuttle to Nampula. Instead we were brought to a square from where open-bed trucks were departing, 50 or so people crammed in any which way. The sun was burning down. Luckily we had brought our hats. It was very slow going, however, and halfway into town, the ride was disbanded, and we were forced to get onto yet another vehicle, this time a minibus, filled to the brim. We stood for an hour or two in the aisle, balancing on various suitcases, bags of agricultural produce and barely avoiding to step on any chicken or toddlers. It was an adventure!

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Ilha de Mozambique