Mozambique Islands Guide
The Mozambique Islands are amongst the Indian Ocean’s best-kept secrets. These Indian Ocean islands offer the quintessential tropical island experience – palm trees swaying in the breeze, endless white sandy beaches, and clear azure seas – and some of the most luxurious and sophisticated hotels, lodges and resorts to be found anywhere in the world.
If you harbor a desert island fantasy, the Mozambique Islands offer a rare opportunity to turn this into a reality. Unwind on deserted, sun-kissed beaches, swim in warm clear waters and explore some of the world’s richest coral reefs.
Discover an ocean dotted with tropical islands, sailing on an ancient Arab Dhow – still built to the same design as the vessels which a thousand years ago sailed from India. Stay in boutique hotels and luxury lodges, and dine on the freshest of seafood.
The Mozambique Islands are the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern life, offering a magical holiday experience in a tropical paradise as yet untainted by mass tourism. Pure escapism!
- The Mozambique Islands consist of a number of smaller island groups, or archipelagos, which lie off the northeast coast of Mozambique
- The breathtakingly beautiful Quirimbas Archipelago is made up of 32 coral islands, of which Ibo Island is the largest
- The six islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago were designated a National Park in the early 1970s and are the least developed of the Mozambique Islands – no roads or shops, but wonderful wildlife and marine life to enjoy
- Most tourists arrive by air via Pemba, which is on the Mozambique mainland and well served by flights from Johannesburg
If you want world-class sailing, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, and diving, or just simple relaxation, then the Mozambique Islands have plenty to offer. For the culturally inclined, Ibo Island offers fascinating glimpses of its past as a center for slave and ivory trading.
The exclusive paradise island of Bazaruto, the largest of Mozambique’s islands, is a tranquil haven famous for its natural beauty. Do fishing, diving, snorkeling and birdwatching here. Wonderful beaches converge at the northern tip of the island, forming a narrow sand spit stretching several kilometers out to sea. There are freshwater lakes in the middle of the island, home to the freshwater crocodile.
Ibo Island is the most visited in the Quirimbas Archipelago due to its fascinating history and beautiful old buildings. Ibo was a major trading center for ivory and slaves.
Probably the most compelling attraction in the Quirimbas, Ibo’s 200-year-old ghost town and 16th Century forts make for a fascinating journey to an era long forgotten. Three forts, a cathedral, and numerous palatial homes once graced the town. Ancient cannons still grace the ramparts, though the fort is now inhabited by silversmiths, who make jewelry using ancient Arab techniques and tools — blowpipes, charcoal, lemon juice, and tiny metal files.
Quirimbas Archipelago and Benguerra
These islands, hardly touched by mass tourism, with glorious beaches, rare plant, animal and bird species and the majestic solitude of the mountains, are remote and full of history and adventure.
Visit exclusive destinations that few people have traveled to before. Whether you stay in a simple tent or the most luxurious of accommodation, impressive standards of service and the refinement and courtesy of the inhabitants make these wonderful, warm and welcoming places to visit.
When to visit
The Mozambique Islands enjoy a tropical climate and are equally suitable for a holiday at any time of year. However, the summer months from October through to April can be very humid and may not suit people who suffer in such conditions.
An all-year-round holiday destination
These tropical islands offer wonderful weather most of the year-round, with hot summers (October to March) and slightly cooler winters (April to September).
Summer rainfall is the norm, although almost every day is sunny and rainfall is usually in the form of brief, intense showers.
The wetter months from October to April can get rather stuffy.
Ensure you take high factor sun cream and a lightweight waterproof outer garment, whatever time of year you plan to holiday in the Mozambique Islands.
The tropical climate enjoyed by the islands means that most of the popular holiday activities – snorkeling, diving, sailing, sea kayaking, and deep-sea fishing – are available throughout the year.
The excellent whale watching opportunities around the Mozambique Islands are, however, restricted to the months of August through to early November, after which the whales migrate.
The island’s waters are also home to an abundance of dolphins and the rarer and more mystical dugong, or sea cow, which early sailors thought was a type of mermaid.