The remote and untouched tropical islands of Mozambique are rarely visited – yet hugely rewarding for those that do venture into the unknown. Two archipelagos just off the central and northern Mozambique coast boast warm and crystal clear waters, ideal for diving, snorkelling, fishing or relaxing on the sandy white stretches of beaches.
The remote and untouched tropical islands of Mozambique are ideal for African safari holidays. It consists mainly of two archipelagos just off the central and northern Mozambique coast. The waters are warm and crystal clear, ideal for diving, snorkelling, fishing or relaxing on the white beaches. In addition to humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays and turtles, some 100 dugongs survive here – one of the very few viable populations on the East African coast.
Bazaruto Archipelago: The resorts on Bazaruto and Benguerra Islands are amongst the most popular tourist areas in Mozambique.
Quirimbas Archipelago: Consisting of 32 small islands, including Ibo Island, the area boasts some of the richest coral reefs in the world. Ibo Island is a former Portuguese trading post and has been nominated for World Heritage status. The island is steeped in history and ancient culture.
Niassa Reserve: Situated in far northern Mozambique, this is one of the largest protected miombo woodland ecosystems. Niassa Reserve is surrounded by many rivers and has a good concentration of wildlife.
When to visit & How to get there
The best time to visit Mozambique is between May and November, when rainfall and temperatures are at their lowest. It is also good to travel during the early part of the warm rainy season from November to January, but be prepared for sweltering temperatures, especially during January. The height of the rains is from February to March/April.
Federal Air – previously trading as Pelican Air – offers a daily service from Johannesburg to Vilanculos International Airport in Mozambique. Federal Air also has numerous daily connections from Nelspruit to Vilanculos (facilitating ideal bush and beach combos). From Vilanculos guests are transferred via helicopter to Benguerra/Bazaruto Islands. The flying time is approximately 10 minutes. For those with an aversion to air travel, the lodges have speedboats on request. Guests choosing to transfer by boat should be prepared for a knee-deep walk through the sea.
To reach the islands of the Quirimbas Archipelago one can take a scheduled flight on SA Airlink or LAM (Mozambique Air), from Johannesburg to Pemba. Then continue on a light aircraft flight (+/- 20 min) to the chosen island/lodge. For Lugenda, also travel on SA Airlink or LAM to Pemba, and then connect onto a light aircraft for the flight (+/- 90 min) to Lugenda’s own airstrip. Luggage restrictions on the light aircrafts is 15kg.
Benguerra Lodge (Benguerra Island)
This lodge has a rich East African/Arabic feel – evinced in both the décor and the unique and delectable food. The rooms all merge naturally into the surrounding forest and are only moments from the silver-white beach of Benguerra Bay. There are three different kinds of accommodation.
There are Cabanas built right on the edge of the beach. They each have queen-sized beds, overhead fan, Private deck with jacuzzi/plunge pool and sun lounpers. The Casitas embrace Benguerra’s unique blend of safari chic and Arabic style. Each Casita has a queen-size bed, lounge area, 100m2 of private timber deck with plunge pool and outdoor dining gazebo for starlit dinners. Villa Chibuene is ideal for those wanting unsurpassed comfort and privacy. The Villa has two double/twin bedrooms, overhead fans, beautiful copper baths, lounge/dining area, private wooden deck with swimming pool and private chef.
Activities include : Diving, snorkelling, fishing, dhow cruises, castaway picnics, Land Rover trips, bird watching, island walks, village visits, sea kayaking, catamaran cruises, and horse riding. Benguerra is passionate about conservation and works closely with WWF and EWT to ensure that the National Marine Park that surrounds it is well maintained. Fishing is allowed on a ‘catch-and-release’ basis only.
Azura (Benguerra Island)
Built entirely by hand by the local community and operated in partnership with them, it has just 14 villas, modern chic, just footsteps from the beach. All guests have a dedicated Mozambican host to look after them during their stay. A top chef combines local ingredients with contemporary style and flair, with an emphasis on fresh fish and seafood. Azura’s spa has 2 double treatment rooms located right on the beach.
Azura has 3 Luxury Beach Villas, furnished in contemporary style, each with private plunge pool, air-conditioning and fans, king size beds, large private undercover deck with daybed, beach-side sala. There are 11 Infinity Beach Villas with the best beachfront locations. They differ from the Luxury Beach Villas in that they are larger, have infinity pools, an additional separate toilet, and dining facilities on the large undercover deck. Villa Amizade is a 2 bedroom en-suite villa, perfect for families or a couple requiring more of a private residence feel, and represents good value when occupied by 4 people. The epitomy of style and luxury, with its own unique decor, the Presidential Villa at Azura is one of the most luxurious private residences to be found anywhere in the Indian Ocean.
Marlin Lodge (Benguerra Island)
Marlin Lodge offers a total of 14 suites, each with a sea view and only a few steps from the white sands of Flamingo Bay beach. The Beach Suites have practical yet sophisticated designer finishes, including slated flooring, plastered surfaces and soft lighting. Each features a four-poster bed with mosquito netting, air-conditioning, private lounge and veranda with deck chairs, minibar, privacy and direct access to the beach.
The 3 Executive Beach Suite offer the same amenities and sophisticated finishes but are much larger in size and are decorated in chic Afro style. Additionally each offers a king-size four-poster bed with mosquito netting, hammocks on the veranda, and private walkway to the beach.
Activities include diving, snorkelling, horse riding, island tours, dhow sailing and fishing. Marlin Lodge boasts the best fleet of fully equipped fishing boats in the Bazaruto Archipelago, as well as an outstanding tackle centre.
Indigo Bay (Bazaruto Island)
There is a variety of accommodation here, all excellently situated on and around the beach. All rooms at this hotel in Mozambique are air-conditioned; fully mosquito screened, with en-suite shower and or a bath, mini-bar, 24-hour power, satellite TV and telephone access. The 29 Beach chaletsfeature king size extra length beds, veranda, and open plan living area. The Beachfront Honeymoon Chalet is only 20 metres from the beach and separate from the other rooms and suites, and has a private plunge pool. The 12 Luxury Bay View Suites each have two bedrooms. The suites are complemented with an outdoor dining area, sala, private plunge pool, and fully equipped kitchen. The Executive and Presidential Suites offer further unsurpassed luxury.
Activites include dune boarding, a number of different horse riding experiences: from visiting stables, riding lessons to a number of different trails around the island. There is an on-site scuba diving instructor who can assist with beginner courses to more advanced reef diving. ‘Indi’ is a supervised children’s club with playstation, jumping castle, jungle gym and swings. The Sanctuary Spa offers a range of pampering treatments.
Matemo Island Resort (Quirimbas Archipelago)
Matemo Island in Mozambique, approximately 2400 hectares in size, with palm groves, palm vegetation and vast vistas makes for island discoveries, beach walks and striking sunsets. This resort has 24 beach chalets (two interleading family units) and provides a relaxing environment with lounges, restaurant, pool and bar areas in a magnificent setting. All chalets are beautifully furnished and equipped with air-conditioning, an outdoor hammock, ceiling fans, full mosquito screening, hair dryer, mini bar, personal electronic safe, satellite TV and the convenience of tea/coffee making facilities. Matemo Island offers a full range of water sports and island activities including diving and fishing, and is an ideal base from which to explore the rich cultural history and diversity of nearby Ibo Island. Matemo is ideal for family leisure, couples, fishing and diving enthusiasts.
Ibo Island Lodge (Quirimbas Archipelago)
Rooms are either bay or garden facing. Garden-facing rooms step out into lush tropical gardens, with chunky palm trees, and intimate swimming pools. All rooms boast mahogany handcrafted beds, air conditioning and ceiling fans. Rooms share wide verandas, which house comfortable plantation style chairs and soft cushions. A carved Indian screen divides the space, providing that extra bit of privacy. Ibo Lodge offers a slightly alternative aspect in terms of the activities on offer. Kayaking (led by an expert guide) through the largest mangrove forests in Africa is truly amazing. Experience a guided journey recounting the history of Ibo, and introducing Ibo Island of yesterday: old forts and ancient romantic buildings, are full of intriguing facts. Traditional silversmiths on Ibo Island handcraft exquisite, intricate, jewelry using ancient Arab techniques and tools. Guests can observe these artists at work and commission special pieces from them.
Vamizi Island Lodge (Quirimbas Archipelago)
This five star lodge has 13 timber villas, of which three have been specifically designed as family units, with large double (possible triple) bedrooms adjoining a central decked lounged area. Bedrooms have king-size 4 poster bed with billowing muslin mosquito nets and Egyptian cotton sheets; whilst an assortment of sunloungers, planters chairs, peponi beds and Swahili swing beds make relaxing outside a pleasure. Stretched along the beach the main dining room, bar and sitting room have all been created with open sitting areas and secluded corners. The cuisine is based on Mediterranean and Indian Ocean flavours. The wine list is in part sourced from a French vineyard. For the more active, Vamizi Island Lodge offers snorkelling, diving, big game fishing, salt-water fly-fishing, mountain bike trails, birdwalks, dhow cruises and private picnics. Various spa treatments are offered and some of the best energy and body treatments are available –such as shiatsu, reiki and cranio-sacral therapy.
Lugenda Wilderness Camp (Niassa National Reserve)
Remote yet luxurious, Lugenda Wilderness Camp has pioneered a wonderful retreat in a game-rich area in far northern Mozambique. It’s an African wilderness for the discerning traveller looking for a wonderful nature experience. Lugenda has 8 elegant and well appointed east-African style en-suite tents set on platforms next to the Lugenda River. All tents are fully mosquito-screened and have an en-suite bathroom with bath and shower, ceiling fans, hair dryer, safe, international plug points as well as a deck. The main area consists of a lounge and a dining area and the camp has a swimming pool. Activities include game drives and walks. Dinner is served in the riverbed or in the boma (enclosure). There is also a collection of fine wines to enjoy. Lugenda Wilderness Camp offers an escape in style to an untouched area and is open annually from 1 June – 15 December (out of rainy season).
Get in touch today for the opportunity to speak with the experts about an African safari and archipelego holiday in Mozambique.