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The Bazaruto Archipelago – Mozambique Islands

The Bazaruto Archipelago is a chain of islands just off the coast of Mozambique, near Vilankulos, on the mainland. This archipelago consists of six islands, Bazaruto, Magaruque, Banque, Benguerro, Shell, and Santa Carolina, known also as Paradise Island. This chain of islands is very special for many reasons, which we will try to envision here. If you are traveling to this area, you should make a point to stay at one of the luxury lodges that are available, which we will talk about a little later. For now, let’s take an overview of these islands and see what is so special about them.

Luxury Island Lodges

Luxury Island Lodges

The Bazaruto Archipelago was formed by the Limpopo River, through millions of years of the river dumping sand into the Indian Ocean. Now the river has shifted and no longer continues to flow here. What has been left behind is a chain of islands that are the secret gems of the coast, with sandy beaches, stunning coral reefs, and many opportunities for surfing, ocean fishing, or just laying on one of the many pristine and unspoiled beaches.While there are lodges on the islands, overall there are no paved roads, leaving the islands to their natural beauty. Because the people of Mozambique wanted to keep these islands in as pristine a condition as possible, it was declared a National Marine Park in 1971. The island of Bazaruto gets the warm Mozambique current, which contributes to the sandy coastline.The water here is exceptionally clear, and you can see the plankton blooming just below the surface, which runs parallel to the shoreline. If you are seeking relaxing beaches, this is the island to go to. This island is also where the Dungong, one of the most endangered species on Earth call home. Bazaruto also boasts four different species of sea turtles.

Island Paradise...

Island Paradise…

Benguerra island is the second largest of the archipelago, and it is 11 kilometers long and five and a half kilometers wide. This island has a little bit of everything, from freshwater lakes, wetlands, forests, and savannah, as well as it’s most famous features, the white unspoiled beaches. It has many different sites to see, the freshwater crocodiles, the 140 different species of birds, as well as diving and snorkeling near the two mile reef. One can spend time enjoying the beaches, and even horse back riding, amongst many other activities.

Life is relaxed in Mozambique

Life is relaxed in Mozambique

Santa Carolina sits at the mouth of the Limpopo River and is small, only a few kilometers long and less than a kilometer wide, and yet is considered the gem of the island chain, often referred to as Paradise Island. This is a true rock island, with deep channels, coral reefs and three beaches.The Bazaruto Archipelago is truly a remarkable place, and it is no suprise it was declared a national park and protected area. With its diverse ecosystem of wetlands, forests, beaches, as well as an extensive marine habitat, you get it all in one place. There are so many different species of animals that call this area home, from samango monkeys, small antelope, otters, and even the aforementioned crocodiles. Humpback whales and dolphins that use this route to go to and from their breeding grounds can often be seen off the shoreline. Many different species of fish are located here. Some of the 160 different birds include pelicans and flamingos, just to name a few.

The coral reefs here offer a variety of different activities, from diving to snorkeling. The sites are uncrowded, the undersea wild life is abundant, and some of these sites are more than 30 meters in depth. Visibility can be more than 40 meters at times. Some of the marine wildlife you will be able to see are whales and dolphins, whale sharks, turtles and manta rays, as well as a variety of shark species. This area is world renowned for its superb marlin fishing, as well as other famed game fish, some of the best in the whole eastern Indian Ocean. The fishing season here runs from October through January. In addition to the marlin fishing, many come here for the fly fishing to catch the extremely popular bone fish. There is much to choose from here, and these islands, while extremely popular, are pretty much one of areas that have been left in its pristine beauty.

Noon cocktails on the beach

Noon cocktails on the beach

 

This has much to do with its status as a national park, and that there are rules and regulations about development on the islands. Because of this, the only way to get around on the islands is walking or horseback riding, and transportation from one island to another is by boat. All of these are provided by the many different lodges and accommodations you will find here. Climate here is warm and tropical all year round, so be sure to bring your bathing suits, short sleeves, and plenty of sun screen. So if you are ever interested in coming to Africa, this is one location that you have to see if nothing else. With so many activities, not only will you want to plan your stay for a while, but you will have to come back again. The different sights and sounds of the Bazaruto Archipelago are simply amazing and unique.

This chain of islands and the surrounding marine area is a National Park, and therefore a protected area. Snorkeling, diving, sailing and the superb fishing that is available in this region makes it unique. The fact that this archipelago is only accessible by boat from the mainland, between the islands themselves, and that the only ways around the individual islands is on foot or on horseback. So you may be wondering just how you visit this magnificent gem of the indian ocean; as there are restrictions, the only way to visit and stay on these islands is through one of the many different types of lodges that are located here.

There are no major hotels or resorts, just lodges, so you won’t have to worry about the problems that often go along with these types of accommodations. Just because they are labeled as lodges, doesn’t mean they are any less luxurious, in fact, they can be much more, with private villas, as well as central lodgings for dining. These lodges are also much better because there are so many activities to choose from in one location. You don’t have to worry about not being able to rent that sailboat or snorkeling equipment. Fishing trips are scheduled right from the lodge itself as well.

One of the many beach lodges

One of the many beach lodges

The largest of these lodges is the Indigo Bay Island Resort and Spa, located on Bazaruto Island. This lodge was completely rebuilt in 2001, and upgraded in 2006. Now there are many different facilities that are offered, from chalets to suites. These have all been redesigned to blend into the surrounds, yet offer some of the same amenities you would find on mainland resorts. Air conditioning, satellite television, mosquito protection, and even phone services. Here you will also find the main base where you can arrange for diving, snorkeling, fishing excursions, horseback riding, as well as all the other activities the Bazaruto Archipelago is famous for. There are beach chalets that have private bathrooms with indoor showers, as well as oval baths that face the ocean. They also have outdoor showers for when you need to rinse off after a swim in the ocean. There are king sized beds, dressing rooms, and even an open living area.

Mosquito screens are provided. Satellite television, electronic safes, and international electric plug ins are also just part of the amenities. There is one honeymoon chalet, and this is just twenty meters from a private and secluded beach. It includes all the amenities of the other chalets, but also has an extra lounge area and private splash pool. The executive suite also has a private pool and veranda.

Endless amazing beaches

Endless amazing beaches

The Presidential suite also includes a king sized room as well as a twin room, each with its own bathroom. It also features a spa bath as well as a private swimming pool. There are luxury bay suites that have two bedrooms, an outdoor dining area, pool access, and adjustable air conditioning in every room. There are mini bars, coffee stations, as well as a fully equipped kitchen. These suites are ideal for the family vacation, or a romantic get away. There are plenty of activities, and unlike many of the other lodges, the Indigo Bay Lodge is able to accommodate children. There are child safe beaches, swimming pools, many supervised activities and even a playground.   Some of the activities that are available for all guests are sport fishing, safe snorkeling, and even dive instructors. There is an abundance of water skiing, knee boarding, and even complimentary water sports, wind surfing hobiecats, and even kayaking. You can arrange horseback riding, whale watching, and many others.

Another great place to stay is the Benguerra Lodge Casita on Benguerra Island. This lodge can accommodate just 26 guests, and although an island lodge, it has been constructed in such a way as to give the feeling of an African Safari.

Diving and snorkeling paradise

Diving and snorkeling paradise

It is surrounded by Milkwood forests, and set right on Benguerra Bay. It is surrounded by beaches, coral reefs, and the sea is a deep clear turquoise. The main lodge is where the gift shop and reception area is located, as well as the dining room, bar, library, and large sun deck. Here you can enjoy your favorite drink while planning the day’s activities, or just chill out after a full day. The Casitas are spacious and private, with grand sea views. Each has a comfortable lounge area, private lumber decks, outdoor dinning, and even a plunge pool. There are plantation shutters on the windows, so you can enjoy the fresh breezes. The casita includes fans and mosquito netting, bathrooms with copper bath and showers. They also have an outdoor shower as well, surrounded by mosaic art. There are mini bars, coffee services, and direct access to the beach.

One of the more unique features of these bungalows is a butler service, to accommodate your every need. If you are seeking the ultimate in island experiences, try one of their luxurious cabanas. Each has a king size bed, large bathroom, private deck with jacuzzi and pool, mini bar and coffee maker. These are located right on the beach, this is truly the place to be. Some of the activities that are available are diving and snorkeling, salt water fly fishing as well as deep sea fishing. The lodge has its own fully equipped diving and snorkeling facilities so you can learn how if you don’t already know. They also have a professional team with 7 meter Acecats to get you out into deep waters.

A truly amazing part of the world, where tropical island dreams become a reality

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