We arrived mid afternoon at the coast and were confronted with the short drive across the 1.5km single lane causeway to the Ihla do Mocambique. The drive was interesting with motorbikes and people scrambling clear of the car, but event-free except for being stung twice for the toll. We could have argued, but although irritating, for 50c it was more hassle than it was worth - and they knew that as well. Ihla do Mozambique, or "Ilia" as it is known to the locals is a UNESCO world heritage site, one of the most alluring and historically significant places in East Africa. An important Muslim trading centre prior to becoming a Portuguese colony in the 1500's. The island was a slave port and for several centuries was a major centre for trade on the route between Europe and the East. Ilha was also the site of the earliest battles between European powers in Africa, instrumental in shaping African colonial history. Renowned for its history, the 2.5km island holds some interesting examples of Portuguese colonial architecture, but like the rest of Mozambique it lies predominantly in ruin, with only a few exceptions.Arriving on the island it did not take us long to realise that the island was essentially one of two halves. The south, linked by the causeway housed the majority of inhabitants in low-lying slum like conditions and as we would later discover, the beaches were filthy - riddled with litter and bare black bottoms as the locals ventured down to relieve themselves on the shoreline. As well the smell was nauseating. In contrast the North, although run down seemed far more pleasant, scattered with more derelict concrete colonial buildings, but with a hint of past grandeur. It was at this end that we found our small hotel. By chance, the hotel we had chosen was quite impressive and upon arrival we were pleasantly surprised, almost shocked, we had not come across anything remotely similar throughout Mozambique in the budget traveller price range. Large airy rooms, tall ceilings, private bathroom (although detached), hot water, a double bed and a fan………this was luxury. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones now aware of this little oasis, and with only 1 nights availability we were left with the task of finding a different place for the following nights accommodation. We wandered up the road and discovered our next quaint little Pensao (B&B), before spending the afternoon meandering the northern streets and exterior of the islands' most famous landmark - Fortaleza Sao Sebastao. The northern island beaches were quite pleasant, and the locals and tourists alike seemed to be enjoying the warm waters, but the impressive hotel pool was just far too inviting, and after booking ourselves in to dinner at a scenic restaurant overlooking the water we returned to the hotel.A quick dip, and even quicker change and we were rendezvousing for cocktails in the bar. That evening we all felt like we had a new lease of life, we felt invigorated by our fresh and clean new surrounds, and so we took the opportunity to dress up and step out in style for a change, shorts, thongs and a collared shirt for me, and a splash of make up for Kaz. With the beautiful outlook we dined perched on the waters edge…………. it was just a pity it was too dark too see it and there was no lighting. Unphased, we just sat and imagined the view, it was peaceful and relaxing, we could've been anywhere, but when our meals arrived there was no doubting we were in Africa. For the first time in the trip I had some serious food envy, what would you expect when you order a cold seafood platter and end up with a mix of prawns and tinned tuna, mmmm. My meal aside, it was a nice evening with the four of us, followed by pleasant evening stroll back to the hotel. The following morning we went out for breakfast, it was an interesting meal for want of a better word, and I'm sure the flies got more of it than we did, but it did the job before we journeyed off to the Fort for a better look.On entering the Fortaleza Sao Sebastao we were approached by 2 youths asking for an entry fee, it seemed a little dodgy, especially seeing they had followed us from the confines of their local hangout, but they had all the paperwork and things seemed to match up so we handed over the cash.It was then one of the youths introduced himself as our guide, and his name was - wait for it……………………………….Harry Potter. He was completely serious, and didn't bat an eyelid, perhaps he thought we wouldn't notice the connection, but his English was excellent and he seemed a jovial character so we figured we'd follow his lead. Harry seemed to know his stuff about the fort, and between anecdotes about his life we were enriched by his knowledge A bizarre moment occurred whilst wandering throughout the ruins when an owl suddenly appeared from nowhere, fluttered across the roof, and then disappeared into a concrete crevice……….given Harry Potters' affiliation with owls, maybe this guy was the real deal. He didn't quite get the gag. Moving on we came to the interesting white washed chapel Nossa Senhora do Baluarte. Built in 1522 on a rocky outcrop, and situated between the fort wall and the ocean the well preserved chapel is known as the oldest European building in the Southern Hemisphere. Who would have thought…….. right here in Mozambique. By now the sun was getting high in the sky and it was stinking hot, but Harry potter in his long baggy jeans didn't seem to mind at all. He remained full of life bouncing around and chuckling at his own jokes every now and then (I'm sure they were funny but I guess something was just lost in translation).We had wandered the entire fort and our tour was over. The sun was beating down, and we were all drenched in sweat, we needed refreshments. After a short recharge Kaz and I moved on to discover the previously unexplored south end of the island. In total contrast to the north it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The reed town huts sat side by side in stagnant pools of flood water and the inhabitants own filth. The place stank of raw sewage, litter lined the roads and gutters, and if only we'd smelt half as bad as the rest of the place the flies would have picked us up and carried us away. There were a couple of picturesque colonial buildings, but each was surrounded by more filth. It was an unpleasant place to be but we continued walking in the hope of finding something worthwhile, and before too long we had navigated the whole island. We returned to our pensao, but not before passing "black butt beach", where we watched the locals swim, shop and of course s***, and where the sand could barely be seen from the piles of rubbish. We were glad to be back in the fresh air of the north, and dinner at the 4 star hotel seemed the best option. There was no way we were eating locally traded produce tonight. Having seen the best and worst of Ilha, we were glad we had come, it had been interesting but we had seen enough and so decided to move on the following day.We were on the road again, but this time in a sparkling clean Kal, we had the previous nights security guard to thank for that. He must have been bored throughout the night…………..or perhaps it was thanks for our generosity having offered him a late night snack of mango, peanuts and cashews the night before.