Bazaruto Archipelago - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Bazaruto Archipelago

Bazaruto Archipelago

Consisting of five paradisiacal islands off the coast of Vilanculos in Mozambique's Inhambane Province, the Bazaruto Archipelago is the most popular tourist area in Mozambique and widely considered to be the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'. It is a luxury destination sought after by divers, fishermen, nature lovers and well-to-do sun seekers.

The main islands of Bazaruto and Benguerra, as well as the smaller Santa Catalina, Magaruque and Bangue islands, are protected within a national park, one of the largest of its kind in the Indian Ocean. The warm seas are home to whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles and the endangered dugong, while unspoilt coral reefs provide underwater enthusiasts with first-rate diving and snorkelling opportunities amid thousands of fish and mammal species. On land, miles of deserted sandy beaches shaded by palm trees offer frazzled city executives a dream holiday getaway, where the most stressful thing is deciding between activities like bird watching, fishing and shell collecting, or simply lying on the sand and enjoying the sunshine.

The largest and most popular island is Bazaruto, which gives the archipelago its name. To the west is the smallest island, Santa Carolina, nearly two miles (3km) long and less than half a mile (500m) wide, surrounded by protective coral reefs and deep water ideally suited to big game fishing. A narrow channel separates Bazaruto from its southerly neighbour Benguela, the second largest in the chain; followed by Magaruque, which is the closest island to Vilanculos on the mainland and primarily a diving resort. From Magaruque, the tiny uninhabited island of Bangue can be explored.

Information & Facts


The Bazaruto Archipelago enjoys a warm, tropical climate. Evenings are seldom cold, except for a few nights in June and July and the region experiences less rainfall than areas further south. In summer temperatures can soar but the islands experience less humidity than the mainland because of their exposed position.

Portuguese is the official language, and there are 13 main national languages spoken. English is taught in secondary schools, but is only spoken in the southern tourist regions.

The official currency is the New Metical (MZN), which is divided into 100 centavos. In the southern parts of the country, South African Rand, US Dollars and Pounds Sterling are also accepted to pay for accommodation. Credit cards are accepted in some upmarket hotels in Maputo, but facilities throughout the rest of the country are limited; it is advisable to carry cash or travellers cheques. ATMs are limited and tend to be unreliable, but local banks have branches in most cities.

The largest island in the archipelago, Bazaruto Island is about 23 miles (37km) long and four miles (7km) wide, surrounded by magnificent stretches of white sand. Enormous sand dunes comprise the eastern strip, while the interior contains large freshwater lakes frequented by a wide variety of water birds such as flamingos, and is inhabited by crocodiles. On the northern tip of the island is a lighthouse built by the Portuguese over 100 years ago, which signals to the large number of ships travelling the historical Mozambique Channel and affords spectacular views from its tower. World famous for its large game fishing, Bazaruto is also well known as a popular diving destination, with a rich variety of marine life surrounding the island. Tourist facilities, upmarket lodges and exclusive resorts are geared towards luxury tourism.

Benguerra is the second largest island of the Bazaruto Archipelago, less than half a mile (1km) south of Bazaruto and like its neighbour, has stunning beaches, large sand dunes and freshwater lakes. Its forest and wetland areas attract a huge variety of birds and animals, while its surrounding reefs offer some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities on the African continent. Two-Mile Reef is to the east of Benguerra, and its protected pool known as the Aquarium is an underwater paradise with beautiful corals and a wealth of tropical fish, popular with both divers and snorkellers. On the surrounding sandbanks to the north of the island is where the famous Pansy shells can be found. Most visitors come to Benguerra for the big game fishing though, as its deep waters teem with the likes of marlin and barracuda, and the area is world-renowned as a sport fishing destination. Tourist facilities, upmarket lodges and exclusive resorts are geared towards luxury tourism.

Looking for something a bit different?  Check out our selection of cultural & adventure holidays or if you're looking to go it alone then see our selection of solo holidays.

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