Wed Feb 15, 2012
Bazaruto is a chain of five islands, comprising three larger islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, as well as the smaller Banque and Santa Carolina. © inhassoro.com ©mozcon.com
The Archipelago, declared a National Park in 1971 sustains a diverse population of fauna and flora including forest, savannah and wetland eco-systems. To maintain the ecology and social integrity of the Bazaruto National Park, a long-term "Multiple Resource Use" Project for the Archipelago is underway. The area is now protected as a conservation area and national park, including the coral reefs surrounding the islands, making it the only official marine reserve in the country. The park is one of the largest in the Indian Ocean and a crucial achievement in global marine conservation. A nearly untouched paradise on earth, the archipelago has earned its reputation as the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'. ©wildafrica.com.au
Vilanculos and Inhassoro are the gateways to the islands. Daytrips by dhow or motor boat can easily be arranged from the mainland. If you're lucky enough to be staying at one of the deluxe resorts on the islands, a direct seaplane flight from Maputo or light twin engined plane from Gorongosa Nature reserve on regular weekly flights can be reserved.
Sunsets, peace and solitude are a reality on the Bazaruto islands, allowing the visitor to choose what to do - or not to do. However, guests can relax on unspoilt, uncrowded, pristine beaches while for the more active there is excellent bird watching, superb diving and snorkelling as well as excellent fishing.
Sand dunes are found throughout the Archipelago and tidal flats and inland saline lakes support a wide variety of seabird species. Coral reefs are also home to thousands of fish and coral species and marine mammal species. The largest dugong population along the eastern African coast can also be found here.
Madagascar Bee-eater ©news.ripley.za.net ©rhinoafrica
Mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches also grace the island. The leeward side of the island chain is surrounded by calm turquoise waters while the windward side offers an even more isolated and untamed seashore with waves constantly pounding the coastline. ©wayfaring.info
Dive on awesome reefs, with colourful corals and a huge variety of aquatic life. This is an opportunity to get to know the beauty and variety of marine life that flourishes in the warm tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. Blessed by the swift Agulhas current flowing south from the Equator beyond the Bazaruto Archipelago chain of islands, this amazing body of water carries with it an abundant supply of food for all sea life in the Mozambique channel. From the great whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, barracuda, wahoo and mackerel to the humble little clown fish hiding in the anemonies, all are benefited. ©thedivesite.co.za
For angling enthusiasts, the area surrounding Bazaruto is ranked as the best Black Marlin destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season runs from early October through to end of January each year. The Marlin come close in to the shallow waters around the Islands and can often be found feeding around the shoals of various species of tuna that frequent our waters during this time of the year. The Bazaruto Archipelago area also offers salt water fly fishing for the sought-after bonefish. ©indigobay.co.za
While offering an exquisite paradise, travelers may find accommodation on the islands prohibitively expensive, particularly with the closure of “Gabrielle’s”, the last reasonably priced accommodation, to make way for yet another luxury lodge. Fortunately the government is monitoring the development of the islands, and are allowing 'eco-friendly lodges', not massive hotels. If you can't afford these, Vilanculos offers a plethora of affordable places to sleep.
Camping and budget accommodation at Blue Waters Beach Resort in Vilanculos ©moztour.com ©mozambiqueaccommodation.co.za