One of the most popular tourist areas in Mozambique is the Bazaruto Archipelago consisting of four islands - Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque and Santa Carolina. They are situated just off the mainland and are accessible by dhow from the town of Vilanculos.
The archipelago's coral reefs and clear waters are a magnet for snorkeling and the rugged terrain of the archipelago combined with its natural beauty, make it an ideal place to kick back and drink lots of cold beer!
On the beautiful Islands of the Bazaruto area, unless you plan on visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, you will never have an opportunity to swim and snorkel in such clear, warm and azure waters such as these! Here we see Justin, our tour guide and sensational cook, removing himself from the land locked country of Zimbabwe and braving the waters of the Indian Ocean....with life vest of course!
At the end of a hard day doing nothing (except swimming, sunbathing, sailing, sightseeing and eating) it is nice to sit and chat with fellow travellers over a few cold drinks. At US$1.50 for a 500ml bottle of beer, drinks were relatively expensive on the Bazaruto Islands compared with the mainland where the same bottle cost US70 cents. I did not complain once though!!!!
It is a very pleasent experince to sail around the islands just taking in all the peace and quiet and the stunning scenery. Other tourists are few and far between, however you may run into another dhow tucked away in a secluded part of this magnificent destination.
TIP....Take a towel to cover yourself with to protect yourself from the sun. Also take a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.
While on your dhow safari, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and snorkel. On the second day of our 3 day safari we were taken to a reef where we were given the opportunity to snorkel in deeper water. It was an enjoyable experience and I did not see one person get out of the water without a smile on their face.
You will require a captain for your dhow, although in Africa the captain is not always the boss! Our dhow had a "driver", a cook, a "packer" and "unpacker" as well as a guy who interpreted for us and who also seemed to be the boss of the other three! They all did their part in ensuring we had a great few days and I suggest you tip them as a group when you leave.
When we first boarded our dhow Anne asked me if the crew cooked in the timber box that was located in the middle of our timber boat. Don't be silly I said "the boat would burn to the water line!" Well I was wrong! They do place coal in the box and they do cook in it and I still think they are CRAZY!
This relaxing and idyllic destination on the coast of Mozambique is a perfect location to take in some beautiful sunsets. This proved even more relaxing as this sunset can be comfortably observed from the bar while sipping on an ice cold beer!
Bazaruto - you have to walk up the sandunes on Bazaruto, the view of the other islands is spectacular and running down the dunes is great fun!
Benguerua - walk to the freshwater lake in the centre of the island, it has crocodiles in it so dont get in it but its a great walk through all the local villages where the kids come running out a shouting out hello! you can also organise diving and snorkelling trips to the reefs. Or just relax on the perfect beaches with no one else around. You have to watch the sunset on Benguerua, its fantstic.
Magaruque - you can go snokelling along some rocks but its not very good. You can walk all around the whole island in just 1 1/2 hours which is well worth doing.
If you take your own boat I recommend hiring a local that knows about the area, where the great spots are and know where to go and how to get back cause it really cann get confusing if you are a first timer... It cost us about R100 or about $15... for a whole day....not to bad and could be gotten for less as ours was a fully fledged skipper... so if you can skipper then your set....