With its impressive stretch of Indian Ocean coastline, Mozambique is an underrated island destination compared to its more glamorous cousins, Zanzibar and the Seychelles. Dotted with pristine beaches, marine parks, coral reefs and colonial ruins, the coastline and scattered islands together blossom with relaxed beach vibes and offer a unique melting pot of culture.
The most popular Mozambican islands are the Bazaruto Archipelago in the south and the Quirimbas Archipelago in the north. The mode of transport used to travel between islands is the dhow, a traditional Arabian boat with lateen sails and stitched construction.
Your Mozambican beach experience begins in Maputo, the lush capital city that sits on the shore of the Indian Ocean. Maputo has excellent restaurants and nightlife as well as plenty of historic, cultural and scenic attractions where the strong Portuguese influence can be clearly seen.
After two nights in the city, you’ll head north to the Bazaruto Archipelago for a luxury stay in island paradise. The pristine coral reefs and soda-white beaches of Bazaruto are a masterclass in unspoilt beauty. You’ll stay in a stunning array of beach lodges, choosing from rustic and simple or 5 star indulgent. Your days will be spent soaking up the delicious Mozambican sunshine, diving or snorkelling around the reefs and sipping colourful umbrella-bedecked cocktails. This is your ultimate island escape.
You'll arrive at Maputo Airport and and be transferred to Polana Hotel, your home for the first two nights of your Mozambique adventure. Polana is perched right on the edge of the Maputo shoreline with views of the harbour and expanse of turquoise ocean. It's a playground of the rich and famous, having hosted everyone from celebrities to actual royalty. The decor and architecture is chic and sophisticated, and the trendy bar and Victorian tea gardens provide every kind of space to relax and indulge during your stay.
Prior to the 1970s and 80s, Maputo was one of the most glamorous cities in Africa, enjoying a mix of Portuguese and African culture that attracted socialites and visitors visitors from around the world. During the war of independence the city fell into disrepair, but it is in the middle of a renaissance and has once again become an exotic fascination that attracts a wide range of guests.
The history and culture of the city have a strong Portuguese influence with Portugese being the main spoken language. If sightseeing is your thing, get ready to savour the Maputo experience. Visit the Cathedral on Independence Square with its imposing lines and soaring white spire and make a stop at the Fortress, one of the city's oldest buildings which is now a colonial history museum. The Jardim Tunduru botanical gardens make a wonderful place to picnic and escape the midday heat, while the fish market and central market - offering crafts, fresh produce and clothing - are fascinating and lively places to pass the time and pick up small treasures. From the harbour, you can take the ferry out to Inhaca Island to visit the maritime museum and historic lighthouse before having lunch at a restaurant overlooking the ocean.
After the bustle and excitement of Maputo, you'll be ready to hop on your flight to Vilanculos Airport where you'll catch a boat out to the idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago.
The archipelago consists of six islands, all of which lie just off the mainland between Vilanculos and Inhassoro. The largest island is Bazaruto, followed by Benguerra, Margaruque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island), Banque and Pansy Shell Island. This is the place to get away from it all and relax, sip cocktails and indulge in seafood beach dinners and castaway picnics on dhow sailing trips to neighbouring islands. Explore deserted white beaches fringed by swaying palms and shallow cerulean ocean, snorkel or scuba dive in the superb Bazaruto Marine National Park or kayak lazily along the coastline and simply take in the sights.
The national park status means the dive sites are not crowded and spectacular marine life can easily be seen in the clear waters - you might even be lucky enough to swim with a turtle or dolphin. and even swum with. This area is home to whale sharks, manta rays and Hump Back whales as well as the rare Dugong turtle.
The lodges are a treat, whether you choose to move around and experience a few or stay at one place and take day trips to surrounding islands. The Bahia Mar in Vilanculos is a very stylish yet reasonably priced alternative to the expensive island lodges it overlooks - ferries from here to Bazaruto and Benguerra Islands take just 30 minutes. &Beyond Benguerra Island Lodge is an exquisite luxury getaway set on the calm waters of a deep lagoon and bordered by a channel that cuts straight out to sea, allowing for swimming right off the private beach.
An alternative to the Bazauto island stay is 2 nights at Machangulo Beach Lodge on Inhaca Island and 3 nights at White Pearl Resort in Ponta Mamoli, just a couple of hours south down the coast of Maputo. Both beach lodges offer the best of the Indian Ocean coastline, including exclusive beaches, uninterrupted sea views and barefoot luxury.
It's a tough farewell to this tropical paradise as you make your way back to Maputo for your international flight home. Or, we can always assist you in finding the perfect extension to your Mozambique experience, like a safari in Kruger.