Highlights and main attractions of Vilanculos and the Bazaruto Archipelago

The sleepy seaside town of Vilanculos is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago, a series of five islands – Bazaruto, Benguerra, Magaruque, Santa Carolina and Bangué – scattered along the southern coast of Mozambique. Known as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean’, the archipelago is the quintessential tropical paradise; renowned for its white palm-fringed beaches and warm, azure seas.

Most of the archipelago lies within the marine protected area of Bazaruto National Park, established in 1971 to protect the endangered dugong and its habitat. The coral reefs that surround the island chain offer unparalleled snorkelling and diving opportunities, with dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays, whale sharks and over 2000 fish species inhabiting the crystal clear waters, while flocks of flamingos and pelicans fly overhead.  

The pristine beaches and diverse reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago are among the best in Africa.

WHERE IS VILANCULOS & THE BAZARUTO ARCHIPELAGO?

The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

The islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago offer the ultimate in barefoot luxury, with a number of exclusive resorts and laid-back beach lodges dotted throughout the archipelago. The town of Vilanculos itself has some stunning beaches nearby, attracting water sports enthusiasts from across the world, and is a great place to sample the regions traditional Portuguese-style cuisine.

Starting from Vilanculos, it is just a short dhow ride across the Mozambique Channel to the archipelago. Bazaruto Island, the largest of the islands, is somewhat of a microcosm of the African mainland, with several freshwater lakes frequented by crocodiles and flamingos and savannah grasslands that are home to the diminutive red duiker antelope. Giant sand dunes tower above the shoreline, gently sloping down towards clear blue seas. From here you can sail further on to the deserted island of Santa Carolina, often referred to by the locals as simply ‘Paradise Island’.

To the south of Bazaruto lies Benguerra Island, where the regions most sumptuous resorts look out over white-sand beaches and secluded lagoons, with coral reefs brimming with marine life. Leatherback, green and hawksbill turtles can all be found here, along with bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks and dugongs.

The Bazaruto Archipelago is an idyllic destination for honeymooners or those seeking relaxation after their African wildlife safari.

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