In early November Kerry, I and some friends traveled to Ibo Island for some vacation time and we were utterly impressed with what we found. What an absolutely fascinating place. The sea and the Mangroves were stunning and the reefs were certainly in better shape than ours back in Kenya. It was the town itself though that really made the trip.
We stayed at Ibo Island Hotel. It was well run, very pretty and it fitted into the historic setting very naturally. We were told that it had been the Governor’s residence which would explain the commanding view of the bayside and the open sea.
History on Ibo is easy to access and the tour of the town was one of the highlights of our time there. Ibo was a very strategic port in the slave trade, having been first developed by the Arabs in AD 600. Gold and Ivory as well as amber, jet and turtle shell were traded here and evidence of the cultures that gravitated to Ibo are everywhere. The Portuguese held the island for the longest but they had to wrestle it off the Arabs in pitched wars that one can only imagine were very brutal. There are Chinese graves on Ibo from the 1600s and there is a section of town that was exclusively Indian.
In 1975 at Independence, the Portuguese were given the boot and since then very little development has happened on the island. This is really what makes it so special. There are no Coke signs or any signs for that matter, just beautiful architecture in different degrees of decrepitude. Seriously cool – Highly recommended. Here are some more pics: