Quirimba is the 2nd largest island (app 1200 hectare) of the Quirimba Archipelago, Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique. It is situated 10 km opposite Quissanga on the mainland and with Ibo island in the north, Sencar south east and Quilalea in the south as its neighboring islands. The Archipelago was named after Quirimba due to the history of the area.
Together with island Mefunvo and later Quisiva, Quirimba in the early 1500’s, was the largest trading posts mainly for the Muslim merchants, who manufactured cloth and exported ivory, various sources of food, turtle shell, cowries and palm products to different destinations. In 1522 the Portuguese recognized the important centers of trade, mainly controlled by the Muslim community, and sent an expedition to raid Quirimba in order to take full control of the commercial existence of the island merchants.
They then obtained land grants and settled on the island. Dominican church ruins, ‘Nossa Senhora de Rosario’ (constructed in 1564) and ‘Santo Antonio’ (construction date unknown), bear testimonies of Portuguese occupation on Quirimba.
In 1936, Friedrich Gessner in partnership with Herbert Lehmann, acquired a 250 hectare young coconut plantation, which they increased to 600 hectares and another 100 hectares were added a few years later. Rainer Gessner (third generation) is currently living on and managing the farm with a few older palm trees left, cattle and coffee. Attempts were made to replant and continue the coconut farming, but all 18000 seedlings planted the past 10 years died due to lack of rain fall and infestation of the rhinoceros beetle. Rainer is now considering to grow Moringa and to increase the coffee production. Bee/honey farming is also on the agenda.
Besides eating, drinking, reading, relaxing or swimming at high tide, there are other activities on offer. Bird watching, walking on the sea bed at low tide, a car trip around the island, walking trails to baobab trees and a visit to the local village are some to mention. A walk to Sencar Island at low tide is also an option. Day long activities include a walk through the mangrove swamps to Ibo Island, exploring and visiting old buildings and the fort, getting to know the history and visiting a few lodges. Return trip to Quirimba by boat. A return trip by boat to Quilalea Island, a walk around the island with a meal served and drinks to be enjoyed is also an option. A luxury lodge is based on Quilalea and only when not too occupied, will this outing be possible.
Quirimba is not linked to the national power grid and electricity is supplied by a generator which runs for four hours during the day and from 17:30 until the last guest goes to sleep. A small hourly amount will be charged for guests wanting the generator to run through the night, to enjoy the usage of air conditioned rooms .
With Quirimba being ‘difficult to get to and difficult to leave’, Rainer and his team are determined to achieve their own motto with guests arriving on Quirimba: ‘arrive as strangers and leave as friends’.