The most spectacular jewels in Mozambique’s marine crown rest in its Cabo Delgado Province, in the far north. The Quirimbas Archipelago (or ‘Ilhas Quirimbas’ as they’re known in Portuguese) are a beautiful string of islands, often fringed by gorgeous beaches, which lie about 2,500km from Maputo. This is an isolated and remote area, it’s probably the last stretch of East African coastline where the marine environments and beaches are ecologically pristine and largely unexplored.
Lying just offshore and stretching for 200km, the Quirimbas Archipelago consists of 12 major islands; about 20 smaller, coralline outcrops; and endless sand-bar beaches . As a safeguard for the future, The Quirimbas National Park protects a large part of the archipelago’s southern side.
Development here is still in its infancy; the beach lodges (they’re all smaller than what we’d normally think of as ‘beach resorts’) are all fairly new, and many of their staff are being trained up on the job. So if you want slick, first-world service and precise attention to detail – then these might not be for you. (Better look towards Zanzibar or the Bazaruto Archipelago, in Mozambique’s south, both of which have had years of practice with visitors!)
Barra is a small community of diverse interests and backgrounds, but are brought together on the beaches around the bay as a tight knit family of people, making it the perfect holiday destination where you can kick off your shoes and become a part of the sand, the sea and the people that make Barra magic!
The village is close to Inhambane, the local markets, an airport and everything you may need during your stay.
Barra offers a wide variety of activities for the adventurous at heart, but also provides leisure activities ensuring that you return home feeling both rested and invigorated.
Once one of the most diverse reserves in Africa, with many endemic species, Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique became a virtual wasteland in the 1980’s when rival armies competed for meat and ivory during the long civil war.
Gorongosa National Park is situated in Central Mozambique at the southern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and has a collection of varied ecosystems from grassland and savannah to arid forests and seasonal pans leading up to the plateau of woodland types.
Set up in 1920 as a 1000 sq km hunting reserve for the use of administrators of the Portuguese Authority the park was later proclaimed a National Park by the Portuguese authorities in 1960 and hunting was banned.
The Gorongosa National Park quickly became one of the most sought after safari reserves in Africa for photographic tourism. The 1960’s saw a great deal of development of roads and tourist facilities in the park.
A war of independence [1964 – 1974] threatened the stability of the Gorongosa National Park but strict protection of the area by the authorities resulted in limited damage and poaching but with the revolution in Portugal in 1974 the new government let go of power in all foreign territories and Mozambique gained independence.
A rebel army, armed by South Africa, took up arms against the new government and based itself in the vicinity of Gorongosa. Ivory poaching and hunting to feed the army decimated the wildlife populations and the park was closed to tourism.
In 1976, just after independence an aerial survey revealed the Elephant numbers at 6000 and Lions at 500. In 1992, at the cessation of conflict an aerial count of Gorongosa revealed the Elephant numbers at 300 and only 6 Lions.
With the ending of the civil war in 1992 the Mozambique the poaching slowed but it was only in 1996 that proper protection was afforded the park with the help of donor funds. In 2004 a US-based organization, the Carr Foundation, set up funding for the future development of Gorongosa and tourism facilities were re-developed.
The project is in place to assist all communities on the boundaries of the park and has been phenomenally successful and tourism to the park is picking up. Wildlife has been trans-located into the park to swell the numbers and Gorongosa National Park, the Eden of Africa, is reclaiming its place as one of the top safari destinations in Africa.
The idyllic islands of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique are known for their unspoilt beauty and diverse ecologies. The pristine coral reefs are home to more than 2000 fish species as well as whales and dolphins. Needless to say, the diving and snorkelling in the Bazaruto Marine National Park is superb and sought after by many travellers. Mozambique visitors who would just like to get away from it all will find Bazaruto just the place to relax, sip cocktails and indulge in a delicious seafood beach dinner or perhaps sail away on a dhow for a castaway picnic!
There are actually 6 islands within the Bazaruto Archipelago which lie just off the mainland between Vilanculos and Inhassoro. The largest island is Bazaruto, then Benguerra, Margaruque, Santa Carolina (Paradise Island), Banque and Pansy Shell Island.
Our favourite accommodation in the Bazaruto Archipelago includes Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, Azura Benguerra Island and Benguerra Island Lodge. The unique eco-system of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique sustains diverse fauna and flora. Visitors exploring the islands will find huge dunes, forest and savannah, inland lakes and wetlands.
The Chimanimani Mountains are composed mostly of sandstone, but it is distinguished by its huge volcanic peaks. These peaks stretch for fifty kilometres, and the main plateau reaches a height of 2,440m, dropping to 320m in deep gorges and river valleys. The mountains are only accessible through a series of footpaths, and although the park provides only basic facilities, the breathtaking beauty and pristine environment of the Chimanimani Mountains make this a popular destination for hiking, rock climbing, camping and birding. There are a total of 186 species of birds in the Chimanimani Mountains, including Laughing doves,
larks, eagles, swallows and swifts. There are also klipspringers, and a large, protected herd of eland, the largest of antelopes.
Chimanimani National Park is full of wild, natural beauty – an area of yellowwood and cedar trees, proteas and wild orchids, massed purple lassandria, bushes of wild sweet peas, clear mountain pools and several waterfalls. The Bridal Veil Falls are a popular hiking spot, as is the nearby Chirundu forest, Africa’s southernmost tropical rainforest. Chirundu is home to many rare tree species, including cycads and strelitzias. There is also the aptly named “Big Tree”, a red mahogany that is more than a thousand years old, seventy metres high and sixteen metres in circumference.
The climate of the Chimanimani Mountains is characterized by a fluctuation between dry winters and wet summers as is typical for tropical southern Africa. Most of Chimanimani rain falls between November and March. The high precipitation combined with low temperatures cause a typical tropical mountain climate. The temperatures range between 12 to 15 °C during the cold season and 18 to 26 °C during summer. Frost is not uncommon between May to October.
The capital of Niassa Province, Mozambique, is situated at high altitude on a plateau, surrounded by lush vegetation and pine tree plantations. Lichinga has most modern facilities and services including an airport which is connected by flights to most other provincial capitals.
Road access is really only for 4×4 vehicles, although tourism is increasing in this area and improvements are likely. This Mozambique town is well located for access to surrounding attractions of Niassa National Reserve and Lake Niassa(or Lake Malawi as it is otherwise known).
Niassa Reserve in northern Mozambique is known for its elephant, buffalo, lion and wild dog populations. It currently supports 4 of the Big Five animals and exotic birdlife amongst many other fascinating creatures. Accommodation and safari facilities can be found in a private concession adjacent to the reserve on the banks of the Lugenda River.
Access to Niassa Reserve in Mozambique is via the local airstrip with air charter from Pemba, or by road from Lichinga. There are parts of the reserve which are only for 4×4 vehicles and even these routes are not possible during the rains. The winter months are best for viewing the reserve (April to October).
The beautiful Lake of Stars was so named by the explorer David Livingstone. Lake Niassa is the Mozambique name for Lake Malawi. The shores of the Mozambique side are unspoiled and remote. It’s an area of breathtaking beauty edged by sandy beaches and pristine forest. The freshwater lake is absolutely teaming with unique fluorescent fish and the waters are warm and clear.
Manda Wilderness Reserve in northern Mozambique is right on the shores of Lake Niassa and a superb bush and beach escape. This reserve has been established to restore game stocks and rehabilitate the surroundings in conjunction with the local community.
The wilderness area has diverse flora and fauna. Visitors to this Mozambique reserve will find luxury lodging, lake and land activities including walking or canoe safaris. Access is via Lichinga, Cobue or Likoma Island on the lake.