Quirimbas Archipelago tours & holiday packagesIdyllic and historicarchipelago offshore of northern Mozambique
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With similar attractions to the better-known Bazaruto Archipelago (including superb snorkelling and diving), the remote Quirimbas – in particular Ibo Island – are also tangibly steeped in history
The Quirimba Archipelago consists of 32 small, beautiful islands strung along the Indian Ocean coastline between Pemba and Palma. In 2002, the most southerly 11 islands, together with a large tract of the facing mainland, were gazetted as the 7,506-square-kilometre Quirimbas National Park.
The islands are protrusions from what is effectively a vast fringing reef that runs along the Mozambican coast for hundreds of kilometres and incorporates some of the most pristine coral ecosystems in the Indian Ocean. With 375 species of reef fish recorded alongside dugong, five marine turtle species and several types of dolphin, whale and large shark, the snorkelling and diving is thrilling.
Everything that is great about Bazaruto seems to be amplified twice on the Quirimbas. The islands really do feel fantastically remote, and tiny but antiquated Ibo is a real off-the-beaten-track, semi-urban gem!
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The closest thing to a tourist hub in the Quirimbas, the small but historic town of Ibo is reasonably accessible to travellers on a budget. Situated on Ibo Island, the town was occupied by the Portuguese in the late 15th century, and today it is lined with semi-ruinous palaces and villas built in its 19th-century trade heyday. Older still is the central Igreja de Nossa Senhora Rosario basilica, possibly built in 1580, and the star-shaped, out-of-town Fortaleza de São João Baptista built in 1791.
Elsewhere in the archipelago, honeymoon-friendly idylls such as Matemo, Medjumbe and Quilálea host some of Mozambique's finest and most exclusive beach resorts, all of them aimed squarely at the fly-in barefoot-luxury market.
There is also a more 'bush' style lodge on Vamizi, one of three islands that make up a community-based sanctuary managed by the Maluane Project. The beach at Vamizi is an important turtle-breeding site, and the island also supports an endemic dwarf python and the bizarre giant coconut crab.
Quirimbas Archipelago Map
Quirimbas Archipelago's location on Google Maps