Exotic, remote, unexploited. Some of the key words which set Mozambique aside from other beach destinations, while offering expanses of white sand and warm Indian Ocean waters.
The islands of Benguerra and Bazaruto are easily reached from Johannesburg or directly from the Kruger National Park; the far northern regions of Pemba and the Quirimba Archipelago are newer developments along an incredible 3500 km coastline.
The Bazaruto and Benguerra Islands lie about 15 kilometres off the town of Vilanculos on the Mozambican coast. Vilanculos is regularly serviced by a scheduled flights out of Johannesburg and the flight is an easy 90 minutes. From Vilanculos, you connect to either a light aircraft transfer to the islands or a boat transfer (depending on the lodge concerned).
There is also a flight direct from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Vilanculos twice a week (Thursday and Sunday) which makes a combination between a safari experience and a beach stay easily done.
There are three properties on the islands which we recommend, Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa, Azura and Benguerra Island Lodge. Bear in mind that these are more lodge style properties as opposed to Mauritius style resorts and are remote - there are no shops, clubs or night life to speak of nearby. On the mainland, south of Vilanculos and accessed by boat or helicopter lies the San Sebastian Peninsula, a marine and wildlife reserve, with lodges such as Nyati Lodge, Pambele and Dugong.
Pemba and the island archipelagos in the far north of Mozambique are accessed from both Tanzania (Dar es Salaam), where daily flights connect Pemba with this East African city, or Johannesburg with 5 flights weekly. On arrival in Pemba, an air transfer will take you to your island resort, including the Quirimbas, Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort & Spa, Quilalea and Vamizi. Ibo Island is highly recommended as a day tour or an overnight extension if staying in the Quirimbas archipelago - a major trading centre for slaves and ivory dating back over 500 years, its 200 year-old ghost town and 16th century forts make it an intriguing place. The silversmiths still working there produce intricate jewellery using ancient methods.
There have been recent developments to open up and rehabilitate once pristine game reserves in Mozambique, including Niassa in the far north, and Gorongosa in the central part of the country.