If you are looking for a few relaxing days by a beach at the end of your safari, Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique is a string of idyllic tropical islands with superb beaches and wonderful opportunities for snorkelling and diving. There are a number of lodges ranging from rustic to luxury on the islands. The easiest way to get here is by air to Vilanculos from Johannesburg then a boat or short flight to the island. Along the historical MoÃ§ambician channel, opposite Vilanculos on the mainland, lie a chain of 5 islands: Bazaruto, Benguerra, Maraque, Banque and Santa Carolina.
Bazaruto Island: The island is 37 kilometres long by 7 kilometres wide, with flora and fauna abounding. Flamingos frequent the tidal flats, and the freshwater lakes on the island are home to many large crocodiles. The west of the island is savannah grassland and thicket and the East is composed entirely of enormous sand dunes that change colour in the different lights of the day.
Benguerra Island: This is the second largest island, at 11 by 5Â½ kilometres. It's about 14kms offshore. The landscape is a mix of forest, savannah, freshwater lakes and wetland ecosystems. It has a diverse range of flora and fauna, and was declared a National Park in 1971. It is alos famous for its unspoilt beahces and wonderful dive sites. Horse riding and fishing are other possible activities.
The whole Bazaruto Archipelago is part of a conservation project whose primary objective is to maintain the ecological and social integrity of the Bazaruto National Park by wise sustainable use of the resources. On Benguerra, cashew nut trees are indigenous and grow on the seaward side of the island. The local residents harvest the nuts and the toxic husk from the nuts is used to brew very intoxicating liquor! Orange trees, sisal plants and palms are used to make mats and other woven products that can be bought from the locals as souvenirs.
The Bazaruto islands are an attraction for divers, fishermen, nature lovers or just those wanting to enjoy the sun and beaches. Coral reefs and old wrecks provide a variety of dive sites and snorkelling areas are easy to reach too. For birding enthusiasts, approximately 164 different birds have been identified and confirmed on the Bazaruto islands in habitats varying from the coastal dunes, open grasslands and fresh water lakes. Cuisine on the islands consist mainly of the fresh seafood that abounds the shores with a Portuguese influence.
An all-villa resort offering lots of water and land-based activities, a choice of cuisines, pool and spa.
AndBeyond Benguerra Island offers sumptuous accommodation in a beautiful ocean front setting.
Azura Benguerra Island is a luxury lodge on a private beach. A stunning location.
A comfortable lodge offering a unique combination of beauty, comfort and relaxation on an island in the Bazaruto Archipelago.
Dugong Lodge is an lovely recently renovated lodge on a sandy beach near Vilanculos.
Pambele in Vilanculos is a luxury villa style lodge for exclusive use in a beautiful part of Mozambique.
A rustic beach lodge at Vilanculos with access to many marine parks, islands and activites.
Time: GMT +2 hours
No direct flights from the UK, but daily access is via Johannesburg or Dar Es Salaam. There are light aircraft connections to the more remote islands and reserves.
Language: Portuguese is widely spoken in Mozambique and remains the main language. English is understood in a few larger towns.
Most nationalities do need a visa for Mozambique
This is a malarial area and several vaccinations are receommended.