Having grown up in Zimbabwe I had often been told about Mozambique’s fabled beaches and islands, so I was very excited to be setting off (ironically from the UK) to finally explore these for myself!
Many of our customers like to spend time at the beach after their safari and whilst this has always been easy to achieve in East Africa, Southern Africa has tended to be a little more of a challenge. However, for an exotic beach location to combine with South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia, the wonderful beaches of southern Mozambique are the ideal answer, and well worth the extra effort to get there.
The Bazaruto Archipelago in southern Mozambique is best accessed from Johannesburg via Vilanculos, and is home to some of the most beautiful and unspoilt islands in the world. There are few visitors, fantastic white sand beaches and turquoise seas teaming with marine life and bright coral – a paradise for beachcombers, divers and fishermen.
During my time in southern Mozambique I visited seven beach properties, two of which are on the mainland and the others on the islands of Benguerra and Bazaruto. Each is very individual in character and style.
On Benguerra Island there are three properties to consider. Marlin Lodge has a warm, friendly feel ideal for families (with older children) and couples alike. Azura is a more luxurious product and would suit honeymooners looking for something really special, whilst Benguerra Lodge, the longest established property on the island, offers a unique blend of safari chic and Swahili style.
Bazaruto Island is the largest but least developed of the islands with only two properties, Bazaruto Lodge and Indigo Bay. Bazaruto Lodge is very much a three star hotel with a-frame chalets reflecting its 1970’s heritage. Indigo Bay is a modern, resort style hotel with fantastic facilities and a wonderful hilltop spa (which I did inspect)!
On the mainland, but accessed by boat from Vilanculos, Dugong Beach Lodge is situated within 30 000 hectares of the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary, and offers a unique wilderness and beach experience. Further away but still within the sanctuary on the San Sebastian peninsula is Nyati Beach Lodge.
The different properties will suit different requirements and budgets, but my favourite region was Benguerra Island, and my favourite property was Marlin. Highlights of my trip included snorkelling on the famous 2 mile reef, a picnic breakfast on a sand dune with views towards the distant African coast, and a dhow sunset cruise with dolphins swimming along next to us!
My main conclusion about southern Mozambique was that if you are seeking what Mozambique is able to offer, then it is well worth making the effort to get there. It really was magical!