Bazaruto Archipelago | Mozambique
The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of six idyllic islands lying off the Mozambique coastal town of Vilankulo: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island),Bangue and Pansy Shell Island. Mozambique Holidays to the Archipelago are some of the best on the African continent.
Renowned as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” the Bazaruto Archipelago offers exclusive Mozambique Accommodation options to guests: peace, solitude and incredible sunrises and sunsets. Visitors have their choice of island at their fingertips – they can relax on pristine white beaches or walk for miles and see no one else. They can dive the depths of the warm Indian Ocean or fish for hours from a boat.
Between them the six islands within the archipelago's coral reefs and crystal waters offer some of the best diving in the world. Dive sites are not crowded and marine life is varied and abundant. With sites at a depth of 12 to 30 metres and visibility up to 40 metres you will discover protected reefs teeming with dolphin, humpback whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta rays and turtles. Snorkelling above the splendid coral reefs is an unforgettable experience in this untouched paradise to which honeymooners flock during all seasons of the year.
Ranked as the best Marlin fishing destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean, the seas around the six Bazaruto Archipelago islands are a fishermen’s playground. The season runs from early October through to end of January each year. Try salt water fly fishing for the sought-after bonefish.
Experience a traditional sailing dhow around the Bazaruto Archipelago. All of the islands support populations of traditional fisherman and their families, many of whom are not permanent residents and may migrate between the Archipelago and the mainland in their pursuit of good fishing waters.
Horse riding is another popular activity around and through the waters of the Islands. Day rides and guided trails are suitable for all levels of experience and professional horse guides make sure guests see marvellous sites from horseback.
The islands were formed from sand deposited by the Save River, which has since shifted its course. Tourists come from all around the world to sample exquisite sandy beaches, coral reefs and diving, fishing and surfing opportunities. Since 1971, the archipelago has been protected as a national park making it the only official marine reserve in Mozambique.
The Bazaruto Archipelago Marine National Park and surrounding marine environment is a unique eco-system sustaining a diverse population of fauna and flora including forest, savannah and wetlands. The Bazaruto Archipelago boasts numerous sand dunes, tidal flats and inland saline lakes which support a wide variety of seabird species. The freshwater lakes are the nesting grounds for beautiful black-winged flamingoes.
Not only does the Bazaruto Archipelago sustain the last and largest viable population of the endangered dugong on the coast of Africa, but so too does it host four species of turtle, hundreds of fish species and more about 180 bird species. Wildlife on the mainland includes the samango monkey inhabiting the islands and mangroves, as well as small antelope, flamingos, pelicans, otters, and crocodiles in the inland island lakes. Dolphins and humpback whales cruise the azure oceans.
Bazaruto (Portuguese for ‘island of the mist’) is the largest island in Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago and in the Bazaruto National Park . It is a sandy island and it seems that the warm, southward-flowing Mozambique Current contributes to the increasing build-up of sand along the coastline. The incredibly clear water along this coastal area means that visitors are often able to see several narrow lines of plankton bloom parallel to the shoreline. Bazaruto Island is the most important island within the Bazaruto Archipelago and within the Bazaruto National Park. Only 35km in length and seven kilometres wide, it is a little piece of paradise. The island is unquestionably a beautiful and unexplored destination, characterized by its wildlife, azure waters and heavenly beaches.
Benguerra Island in Mozambique is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago which broke away from the mainland thousands of years ago. Lying about 14 kilometres off shore in the Indian Ocean, Benguerra Island is famous for its perfect white beaches, amazing dive sites, exciting horse riding and unbelievable fishing.
The island is about 55 square kilometres and was declared a National Park in 1971 due to its high biodiversity value. Forest, savannah, fresh water lakes and wetland eco systems sustain a variety of wild animals and plants – there are crocodiles and more than 140 bird species to be found.
The third largest island in the Mozambique Bazaruto Archipelago it is 1.6 Km long and 1.4 Km wide. It is also the closest island to Vilanculos and it has a permanent deep water channel immediately in front of the villas. Guests can experience reef snorkelling on their doorsteps. It only takes 10 minutes by plane from the mainland to reach utter seclusion and relaxation in a tropical paradise.
The area boasts some 2 000 species of fish including the popular Marlin and Sail Fish. Widespread tidal flats on the landward side create a mosaic of sapphire, indigo and aquamarine with the tides.
Santa Carolina (Paradise Island):
Santa Carolina Island is only 40 minutes’ walk in circumference - the smallest of the Archipelago islands and the closest to the Mozambique mainland. Protected from the ocean by a ring of three coral reefs, it is a real rock island with deep channels, three stunning beaches and coral reefs close in to shore. Santa Carolina used to be a prison colony during the Second World War apparently for Italian prisoners. Today. There are no sand dunes or fresh water lakes but the island is covered in tall pine and palms trees which shade the ruins of the once famous and very popular Santa Carolina Hotel.
Totally unpopulated and undeveloped Banque Island (Ilha Bangue) is a tiny island lying around 15km off the Mozambican mainland in the Inhambane Region of Southern Mozambique. A wonderful place to explore on day trips, it is a popular fishing destination and falls within the national park.