Ibo is culturally the most interesting of the Quirambas islands, with fascinating echoes of the past at every turn. It has a (relatively) deep-water bay where trading ships could put ashore – it was a trading post from the 10thC and cargoes included slaves. Now it’s a ghost town, with the old colonial buildings crumbling and overgrown with creepers, but a happy one.
The top place to stay is Ibo Island Lodge, housed in three gracious former merchants’ houses standing side by side on the island’s ‘esplanade’. The furnishings, service and values are traditional, with caring and competent management by a South African couple who give a personal touch. There are grand views over the harbour entrance channel with its mangroves. Unusually, the lodge organizes dhow safaris. You can go on a highly informative island tour. The large secluded garden and raised swimming pool are perfect for chilling.
If you want something less expensive, try Cinque Portas or Two Trees. Both guesthouses are nearby in Ibo town, run by Northern Europeans – clean, with a mix of back packers’ rooms and more comfortable ones. Both have shady courtyards.