Look closely on the map of Northern Mozambique and you’ll notice a cluster of small islands. That’s the Quirimbas Archipelago, a largely unknown land that remains a secret for most nature and beach lovers. There are 32 islands that make up the archipelago, giving visitors plenty of places to check out. Before you book your ticket, find out why you should move this side of Mozambique up to the top of must-visit list. Here are the top reasons to visit the Quirimbas Archipelago in Mozambique.
It’s a coral reef paradise
If you love to snorkel or go scuba diving, this place is an oasis as the islands are knee-deep in healthy coral reefs. Several dive companies such as Dive Quirimbas on Ibo Island have their own certified dive masters who will take guests out on a boat to secret hot spots to see a wealth of tropical fish. The tours can last up to six hours and visit different islands to see a wide range of coral reef.
Very few tourists go there
The Quirimbas Archipelago is a bit under the radar and doesn’t receive that many visitors. This means you won’t be waiting long for hotel reservations or boat tours. At times, you’re sure to feel as if you have the whole island to yourself, so you better hurry up and explore the unspoiled islands before the others get a whiff of this unknown gem!
Marine life, galore!
When you have a wealth of coral reefs, it attracts impressive marine life to the shore. It’s common for scuba divers and snorkelers to come across sea turtles, dolphins and even humpback whales on their underwater expedition. Keep your eyes peeled for the incredibly rare dugong species that are known to travel around the islands. They’re one of the lesser seen species of manatees with a bucket-shaped mouth. Like the dolphins and humpback whales, they’re very docile animals that visitors can easily swim alongside.
On land, you’ll find plenty of wild life
When out of the water, the wildlife viewing doesn’t end. In fact, the area has its own national park, the Quirimbas National Park that’s full of mangroves, forests and beach. Look into the trees and you might find Samango monkeys eating ripe fruit high in the branches. Reptiles like lizards and snakes are known to occupy the area, as well as a colorful variety of birds that will make their stop on the island or stay year-round.
High end hotels
Despite being hidden out of sight by most of the world, Quirimbas Archipelago still has nearby luxury accommodations as well as extraordinary stays. Because locals are trying to maintain the unspoiled land, there’s no hotels directly on the islands but are easily accessible on the Mozambican Coast. When visiting the area, stay a night or two at Ibo Island Lodge known for its sea-facing rooms or glamorous historical rooms. The hotel includes sea kayak tours, boat tours and nature walks. Other hotels worth staying at include Situ Island Resort and Guludo Beach Lodge (pictured). To take the luxury up a notch, you may want to consider staying at the highly-desirable Anantara Medjumbe Island Resort that’s located on a privately-owned island with only 13 rooms available per night.
Go on a unique safari
When visiting the islands, go on a dhow safari, a traditional long sailing boat used frequently on the Indian Ocean. Some hotels like the Ibo Island Lodge offer a dhow tour where the traditional boats are upgraded into a luxury sail with cozy seatings for visitors to take in the full view of the islands and the sea. You can also request in advance for a private dhow safari tour for just you and your family.
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