A small coral island located in the Bay of Mossuril, 4km off the coast of Mozambique.
With 3km long and less than 500m wide, it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. Inhabited by about 16 thousand people, the vast majority live in the macuti (coconut palm) neighborhood, although the “stone and lime town” occupies half of the north of the island.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. The terraced houses lined up along the beach create a horizon line that invites you to dream.
I love you without refusing
The island has its own charm. In it you can read 500 years of history. It was used as a Portuguese trading post en route to India.
There the capital of Mozambique was installed until 1898, after which it passed to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo).
Its remarkable architectural unity is due to the constant use of the same methods, decorative principles and building materials – coral stone or macuti, since the 16th century.
The nearest airport is Nampula, which is about 200km from the coast. To do this route, it is possible to rent a car in Nampula, or else take a “chapa” (local public transport).
If you choose to drive, follow the road in the direction of Nacala, and look for the sign for Ilha de Moçambique (which is in Monapo). It will take about 2h and the road is in good condition. When you arrive you will have to cross the bridge, which costs about 5 MZN.
If you want to get a “chapa”, they leave at Av. Dos Trabalhadores in Nampula (near the train station) and cost about 80 MZN.
The island is relatively small (about 1km2), so the easiest way to get around is by foot – about 20 minutes from one end to the other, only 3 blocks wide. You can also rent bikes for a day.
PLACES TO VISIT
Mussiro – a beauty treatment product, which is made from tree root, completely natural, and without artificial additives. The root is ground into a stone and mixed with water to form a cream that smooths and softens the skin. It is claimed to be rejuvenating and fight acne. Therefore, “macua” women begin to use it in the passage from adolescence to youth, staying all day with the face painted and only washing it at night. Whole body treatments are sometimes still part of the preparations for the traditional wedding in the region.
NOT TO LOSE
Tufo Dance – dance of Arab origin, essentially feminine, in which the men only participate as instrumentalists. Among the dancers is established a hierarchy, with the designation of a queen. One of the criteria adopted for the choice is the grace and beauty of the lines of the face and body.
The rigor in costume and adornments are fundamental. The women are in makeup and their faces are painted with mussiro. They wear capulanas (traditional cloths) tied to the waist, blouse and headscarf, of gaudy colors. For the dance, the women are arranged in a row, according to their heights. The choreography is soft and privileges the cadenced movement of the feet, arms, hands, waist, while the dancers tilt the trunk and head, all coordinating to the beat of the music of the drums.