All you need to know
When should I visit the Quirimbas?
Quirimbas has a tropical climate, and most of the year it is sunny and warm. The wettest months tend to be in January and February. The best time to visit the Quirimbas islands is between April and October, when rainfall and temperatures are at a minimum. Between July and September it can get chilly as the wind picks up.
What vaccinations do I need?
The advice on required vaccinations varies from country to country, so please consult your doctor before departure.
Can I drink the water?
Except at the upmarket hotels where water is filtered, it is not a good idea to drink un-bottled water or to use ice-cubes.
Is there healthcare on the island?
The island has a very basic local hospital and pharmacy, but these are ill-equipped so please bring any medication you require with you. It’s also wise to bring insect repellent and antihistamines, sun block/sun cream, and anti-diuretics.
What else should I bring?
We suggest you bring shoes suitable for walking through water / on rocky wet surfaces and long sleeves/long trousers to protect yourself from the sun and mosquitos. In the local villages knees should be covered so a long skirt for women would be useful.
Can water sport equipment be hired?
You can hire kayaks, SUPs, bicycles and snorkelling equipment on the island.
Do I need a visa?
Everyone visiting Mozambique requires a tourist visa, except for passport holders from Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. Visas are available on arrival or can be purchased before you depart.
At the time of writing (2021) tourist visas last 30 days from issue. To apply you need a passport with at least 6 months validity, several blank pages, a return air ticket and an invitation from family/friends or a confirmed hotel reservation. You may also be required to show proof of funds for your visit.
Contact your local embassy/consulate for the most up to date information about costs, duration, and what documents you need to apply.
A comprehensive list of international Mozambican Consular offices / representatives, can be found here: www.embassypages.com/mozambique
What’s the local currency?
The currency for Mozambique is Meticals (MZN/MT). We suggest you bring US Dollars (USD) or Euros with you and change them before you leave Pemba. Euros can also be changed on Ibo at Saakata store and Cinco Portas.
Does Ibo have an ATM?
IBO does have an ATM which takes international visa card (not Mastercard or Amex) BUT it is often empty of cash and it can be several days before it is refilled, so DO NOT COUNT ON IT.
Can I use my credit card on the islands?
A few mid to high range hotels accept payment by credit card (with a 5-10% charge).
Can I change money on the island?
If you’re left short, you may be able to change money on the island.
Will my phone work in the Quirimbas?
In the Quirimbas you can only connect to the Movitel network. You can only buy Movitel SIMs in Pemba, not in the islands. 3G is available across Ibo but coverage can be limited elsewhere. Wifi is available in the mid to high range hotels, for guests only. Vodacom has very limited coverage in the islands, and does not work on the road between Pemba and Tandanhangue or on the boat crossing.
What language is spoken in the Quirimbas?
The Mwani language of Kimwani is spoken on the coast of Cabo Delgado and in the Quirimbas Islands. The population also speaks the official language of Portuguese. You can get by in English, but a phrasebook would be useful.
Where can I find local tourist information on the island?
An info point is being established at the Fortaleza which will provide maps of all the district’s areas. In the meantime, you can download several maps here:
How can I travel between the islands?
There is no regular boat service between the islands, except for a daily chappa (informal local passenger boat) between Ibo and Quirimba, which departs both islands at high tide (in daylight only). This is a very informal service for the locals. It takes any number of passengers and is unlikely to have life-jackets or other safety features. Be aware that the service doesn’t always run. Most departures are from the town beach outside Miti Mirwiri. Check on the ground for up to date departure times and locations.
You can visit Quirimba, Matemo, and Rolas (or Ibo if you are staying elsewhere) as part of a day or overnight excursion. These can be organised with your accommodation, with Choice Boat, or enquire locally for an informal arrangement with local boat owners. Be aware that every journey in the islands is dictated by the tides, so visits to some islands may only be feasible by including an overnight stay. Find out more about the excursions here: LINK TO ACTIVITIES PAGE and accommodation on Quirimba and Matemo here LINK TO ACCOMMODATION PAGE.
How can I get to the Quirimbas?
Please check the information on the ‘Plan your Trip page’ for all of transport options between the mainland and the Quirimbas islands.
Can I travel directly to Ibo from Pemba by boat?
There is now a ferry between Pemba and Ibo Island. Its schedule varies and you will need to enquire when you are in Pemba. Its relatively cheap and takes between 4 and 5 hours.
Can I camp or stay with a local family?
All current accommodation options are listed on the accommodation page.
How can I prepare responsibly for my visit?
Please refer to code of conduct for advice on travelling responsibly in the Quirimbas.