Bazaruto Archipelago tours & holiday packages
Diving, snorkelling, birding and paradisiacal Indian Ocean beaches
Fringed by inviting palm-lined white sands and hemmed in by some of the region's finest coral reefs, the Bazaruto Archipelago is the ideal beach destination for active travellers
Gazetted in 1971, Bazaruto National Park comprises a quintet of small sandy Indian Ocean islands lying about 20 kilometres offshore of the Mozambican mainland between Vilankulo and Inhassoro.
The park's main attraction is its extensive coral reefs, which lie in crystal-clear water warmed by the Mozambique Current. In addition to the array of dazzling and oddly shaped fish that inhabit the coral gardens, marine turtles, humpback whales and three species of dolphin are frequent visitors. The islands are also renowned for their challenging game fishing, with marlin, barracuda and various sailfish among the more alluring targets for anglers.
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Fringed by a succession of white palm-lined beaches, the islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago are also great for more conventional beach holidays. For wildlife enthusiasts, freshwater lakes on the two largest islands, Bazaruto and Benguerra, support relict breeding populations of crocodiles. Turtles, including the rare loggerhead, breed on the beaches. Terrestrial mammals include the Suni antelope, red duiker, bushbuck and samango monkey. The shallow ocean around Bazaruto also supports what is probably eastern Africa’s last viable population of dugong, an endangered marine herbivore related to the manatee of the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sharks occur here too.
The archipelago has much to offer birdwatchers. Roughly 150 species have been recorded, including several that are rare or localised elsewhere in southern Africa, such as crab, sand and Mongolian plovers; olive and blue-cheeked bee-eaters; and a variety of petrels, gulls and waders. Lesser flamingos are sometimes seen on the lakes.
In medieval times, the archipelago supported East Africa’s most southerly Islamic trading outposts, few traces of which remain. Later, under Portuguese rule, it became an important centre of pearl production. During the 15-year-long civil war that ended in 1992, Bazaruto Archipelago was one of the few parts of Mozambique that remained safe to visit, leading to its development as an upmarket tourist destination that functioned in near isolation from the rest of the country.
Today, all the lodges on the archipelago still slot comfortably into the upmarket or exclusive price bracket, attracting a fly-in clientele comprising mainly visitors on a multi-country itinerary who barely set foot on the Mozambican mainland.
Bazaruto Archipelago Map
Bazaruto Archipelago's location on Google Maps
Frequently Asked Questions about Bazaruto Archipelago
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