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Bazaruto

 

Explore the Bazaruto Archipelago, a group of six islands, 55 km off the mainland city of Vilanculos in Mozambique. It comprises the islands of Bazaruto, Benguerra, Margaruque, Banque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island) and Pansy Shell Island.

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These idyllic islands are known for their unspoiled beauty and diverse ecologies. The pristine coral reefs are home to more than 2000 fish species, as well as whales, turtles, Dugongs and dolphins. Small herds of Red Duiker still roam the islands, carving out a precarious existence alongside freshwater crocodiles and Samango monkeys.

The archipelago is a protected National Park including the surrounding coral reefs and is probably one of the most beautiful destinations within the African continent. As an official marine reserve, it hosts a Dugong population which is thought to be one of the last and largest on the East African coast.

To keep environmental damage to a minimum, visitors stay at one of several private lodges, which offer excellent scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and sailing. The islands are covered by large sand dunes (the sand is so soft it squeaks beneath your feet) and freshwater lakes, which are nesting grounds for beautiful black-winged Flamingos.

Trips to the Islands are typically taken by dhow (Arab-style sailing boat) from the mainland town of Vilanculos. With no roads, no shops and no tourist attractions other than its beautiful beaches, the Bazaruto Archipelago is rightly known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.