The Bazaruto Archipelago is a group of islands off the coast of Vilanculos in Mozambique.
Beach on Magaruque Island, Bazaruto Archipelago
The Bazaruto Archipelago consists of five idyllic islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangue. The Archipelago is truly one of the most beautiful destinations on the African continent. The area is now protected as a conservation area and national park, including the coral reefs surrounding the islands, making it the only official marine reserve in the country. The park is one of the largest in the Indian Ocean and a crucial achievement in global marine conservation. A nearly untouched paradise on earth, the archipelago has earned its reputation as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'.
Vilanculos and Inhassoro are the gateways to the islands.
Daytrips by dhow can easily be arranged from the mainland. If staying at one of the resorts contact them for a possible pickup in Vilanculos, and if coming just to dive then you'll come on day trips on the fast dive boats.
If you're lucky enough to be staying at one of the deluxe resorts on the islands, a direct seaplane flight from Maputo can be arranged.
Between the islands boats are the only option, on the islands walking is the way to go. For dhow trips to the islands, contact Sailaway Dhow Safaris (http://www.sailaway.co.za)
Sand dunes are found throughout the Archipelago and tidal flats and inland saline lakes support a wide variety of seabird species. Coral reefs are also home to thousands of fish and coral species and marine mammal species. The largest dugong population along the eastern African coast can also be found here.
Mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches also grace the island. The leeward side of the island chain is surrounded by calm turquoise waters while the windward side offers an even more isolated and untamed seashore with waves constantly pounding the coastline.
- Scuba diving – The archipelago's coral reefs and clear waters offer some of the best diving in the world, dive sites are uncrowded and marine life is varied and abundant. With sites at a depth of 12 to 30m and visibility up to 40m you will discover protected reefs teeming with dolphin, hump back whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta and spotted eagle rays, green and turtles.
- Dhow Safari – Experience the wonder of a traditional sailing dhow gliding through the Bazaruto Archipelago. The islands of Benguerra, Bazaruto, Magaruque and Santa Carolina are complete with azure waters, sandy beaches, palm trees and pristine coral reefs. See http://sailaway.co.za
- Game fishing – The area surrounding is ranked as the best Black Marlin destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season runs from early October through to end of January each year. The Marlin come close in to the shallow waters around the Islands and can often be found feeding around the shoals of various species of tuna that frequent our waters during this time of the year. The Bazaruto Archipelago area also offers salt water fly fishing for the sought-after bonefish
- Mozambique Horse Safari, ☎ +258 827639249 ([email protected]), . Specializes in custom-made horse safaris and day rides on Benguerra Island. Enjoy long stretches of untouched white sand beaches and magnificent views overlooking the islands. The area is suitable for riders of all levels of ability. Contact Pat or Lucy.
Unless you're staying at one of the resorts you'll likely have to pack a lunch from Vilanculos. If taking a dhow trip they will usually have chefs onboard that prepare delicious meals, from salads to calamari.
Some of the resorts serve alcohol in their restaurants.
- Archipelago Resort, Chibuene, Vilanculos, ☎ +263 912 565 264, . On site bar and restaurant: the bar is renowned for its exotic coctails, and the restaurant specialises in Portuguese cuisine and seafood (Prawns, crab & Lobster).
While offering an exquisite paradise, travelers may find accommodation on the islands prohibitively expensive, particularly with the closure of “Gabrielle’s”, the last reasonably priced accommodation, to make way for yet another luxury lodge. Fortunately the government is monitoring the development of the islands, and are allowing 'eco-friendly lodges', not massive hotels. If you can't afford these, Vilanculos offers a plethora of affordable places to sleep.
- Pestana Bazaruto Lodge, Bazaruto Island, tel: +258 21 305 000, [email protected], . Rooms from $188/night.
- Rani Resorts Indigo Bay, Bazaruto Island, tel: +27 (0)11 467 1277, [email protected], . $132-1150/night.
- Archipelago Resort, [email protected] (Chibuene, Vilanculos), ☎ +263 912 565 264, . Indonesian Casas Scuba Diving (PADI Registered) Deep Sea Fishing Child friendly beach Changing sea colours of the Deep Water Channel Very close to the Bazaruto Archipelago, Which includes Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque, Santa Carolina, Bangue. Bar & Restaurant on site: Portuguese cuisine Seafood Delights Prawns, Crab & Lobster $150-300/night.
- Sailaway Dhow Safaris, Vilanculos, ☎ +258 823876350 ([email protected]), . Fully catered Sailing Safaris in traditional dhows, exploring the islands of the Bazaruto archipelago. Day trips and overnight journeys, staying in our exclusive beach camp. $70 day safari, $230 overnight safari.
Sunburn can be a real risk on the islands, especially if on a day trip. Make use of the shade if you can find it during your lunch break, and bring a high SPF sunscreen.
- Vilanculos - is pretty much your only direct option.
- Inhassoro - Another beach town just to the north
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