Looking out the window as you fly down the thousand-mile-long Mozambican coastline you see dozens of idyllic little islands strung in long archipelagos, surrounded by pristine reefs and beaches. They have beguiling names like the Quirimbas, the Bazaruto Archipelago, Azura and Benguerra. If you are seeking a real “civilised desert island” experience, perhaps seeing yourself as a pampered Robinson Crusoe, these islands will fulfil your dream.
Like all remote islands they are not easy to reach – that is part of their appeal. Once you’re there however, you can look forward to superb snorkelling and diving on the thriving reefs where an astonishing variety of coral gardens flourish, home to iridescent coral fish, moray eels and sometimes whales. Should you find yourself marooned on the tiny Vamizi Island, you and a few fellow survivors will have to endure cordon bleu cuisine, lazy rides at sunset in an old dhow, the occasional massage, perhaps a spot of deep sea fishing, or snorkelling over glorious reefs. If the lapping of the waves yards from your bed wakes you early, you might sit on the deserted beach outside your villa and watch a big sun emerge from the immense Indian Ocean heralding the start of another day in “paradise”.
Mozambique is also becoming one of Africa’s most exciting “new” safari destinations as the remote Gorongosa and Nyassa National Parks are reopened. Between April and December, Africa Exclusive can arrange superb walking, open vehicle and river boat safaris. Staying in small remote camps you have one of Southern Africa’s most beautiful national parks literally to yourselves. Explore the beautiful rivers, floodplains and palm forests seeing elephant herds, sable and lion. Then it’s just a hop in a small plane to one of those delightful islands.
Choosing the right island and the right lodge at the right time of year is not straightforward and you should call Africa Exclusive to discuss which would combine best with your safari and whether you should go to the coast first or after your safari. The larger more southerly islands like Benguerra have several large beach lodges and a different weather pattern from the smaller exclusive islands of the more northerly Quirimbas Archipelago such as Vamizi.