I fly from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, into a small tropical airport in a town called Vilanculos midway up the picturesque white sand coast of Mozambique. The airport has a rooftop bar overlooking the airstrip, so quaint, full of character and characters. From the airport my driver takes me five minutes over sand roads past palm trees and waving hands to the beach, I board a fishing boat and cruise through aqua water over the habitat of the rare dugong and whale shark en route to the ecological gem which is the Bazaruto Archipelago.
The Bazaruto Archipelago is nothing short of classic paradise: stretches of sun-bleached sand shaded by palms, turquoise seas, tranquil dawns and magical sunsets. The five islands of the archipelago were declared a National Park in 2000; snorkeling and diving are fantastic and big game fishing is world class. It’s the perfect place for nature lovers, watersport enthusiasts and those who just want pure relaxation in a tropical romantic setting. My boat pulls right onto the pillow soft white sand beach and I am greeted with a cool drink and smiles. I stayed in five different lodges during my visit to the islands; all were gloriously enchanting in their own unique way. Intimate lodges instead of large hotels were built on the eco-sensitive islands to allow tourism to develop without spoiling the environment with overpopulation.
On the edge of the deep Mozambique Channel, the Bazaruto Archipelago is Africa’s most productive area for black, blue and striped marlin as well as sailfish and warm water game fish such as giant kingfish, wahoo, king mackerel, dorado and bonito. All the lodges have fishing boats and guides. October to March is the prime marlin season and June to September the best for sailfish.
Mozambique offers some of the best diving in southern Africa. Dive sites are un-crowded and marine life is varied and abundant. The aquamarine waters hold a vast number of tropical and game fish species as well as rare creatures like dugongs, whale sharks and turtles. Conditions compare favorably with those of the Caribbean or the Great Barrier Reef but are not nearly as commercialized. Water temperatures range from 72°F in winter to 88°F in summer and visibility is usually between 15 and 105 feet, with an average year round visibility of 45 feet.
Mozambique Weather: warm and tropical with average temperatures in the 80′sF, hotter on the coast than inland, the coast can be sunny all year
Winter: April – September; best time to visit for comfortable temperatures; days are usually dry and temperatures are around 80F
Summer: October – March; gets hot and humid with temperatures in the 90′sF; electrical storms and rain; rain usually starts in December or January and goes through March; best to avoid February on the coast as this is typically hurricane season