Bazaruto Archipelago Travel Guide

Consisting of six islands off the coast of Vilanculos, in Mozambique's Inhambane Province, the Bazaruto Archipelago is the most popular tourist area in the country and widely considered to be the 'Pearl of the Indian Ocean'.

It's a luxury destination sought after by divers, fishermen, nature lovers, and sun seekers. The main islands of Bazaruto and Benguerra, as well as the smaller Santa Carolina, Magaruque, Bangue and Pansy Shell Island are all protected within a national park, one of the largest of its kind in the Indian Ocean.

The warm seas are home to whales, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, and the endangered dugong. Unspoilt coral reefs attract this rich marine life, providing underwater enthusiasts with top-class scuba diving and snorkelling adventures.

On land, miles of deserted beaches stretch beneath the shade of palm trees, offering weary city executives a dream getaway. The most stressful thing is deciding between activities like birdwatching, fishing, and simply soaking up rays of sunshine.

The largest island is the popular Bazaruto, which gives the archipelago its name. To the west is the smallest island, Santa Carolina, nearly two miles (3km) long and less than half a mile (500m) wide, surrounded by protected coral reefs and deep water suited to big game fishing.

A narrow channel separates Bazaruto from its southern neighbour Benguela, second largest in the chain, followed by Magaruque, which is primarily a diving resort. Travellers can also explore the tiny uninhabited island of Bangue when travelling from Bangue.