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Places of Interest in Mozambique

Southern Sky Adventures: Places of Interest in Mozambique

Capitol is Maputo

Bazaruto Island

Situated off Mozambique on the east coast of Africa, Bazaruto Island, part of the Bazaruto Archipelago, is one of the most spectacular destinations on earth. The island offers exclusive beachside accommodation options. Sunsets, peace and solitude are a reality on Bazaruto Island, allowing the visitor to choose what or what not to do. Guests can relax on unspoiled, uncrowded, pristine beaches while for the more active there is excellent and superb diving and snorkeling as well as excellent fishing in year round warm tropical climate.

An almost untouched paradise on earth, this part of the archipelago has earned its reputation as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. The coastal area surrounding the Bazaruto Archipelago is world renowned for its superb variety of white sand, alluring golden sunsets and tall palm trees. Enjoy stretches of untouched white sandy beaches and magnificent views.

The archipelago’s coral reefs and crystal waters offer some of the best diving in the world. Dive sites are uncrowded and marine life is varied and abundant. With sites at a depth of 30 to 90 feet and visibility up to 120 feet visitors will discover protected reefs teeming with dolphin, hump back whales, whale sharks, sharks, manta rays and turtles. Opportunities exist to dive with whale sharks during their annual migration. The surrounding waters are ranked as the best black marlin fishing destination in the Eastern Indian Ocean. The season runs from early October through to end of January each year. Bazaruto Islands also offer salt water fly fishing for the sought-after bonefish and sailfish.

Benguerra Island

Benguerra Island is the second largest island in the Bazaruto Archipelago. The island is approximately 6 miles long and 3 miles wide and lies but 8 miles offshore. Found about 100 miles south of Beira in southern Mozambique, the island is famous for its unspoiled white beaches, remarkable dive sites, excellent horse riding and incredible fishing. A number of upscale beach properties can be found on the island offering exceptional honeymoon getaways.

Two Mile Reef, which lies two miles east of Benguerra, offers some of the best scuba diving in Mozambique with beautiful staghorn corals and tropical fish: from tiny clownfish to moray eels and black-tipped reef sharks. The reef’s large, protected pool, called the Aquarium, is also a must for snorkeling.

Fishing by lure and by fly is extremely popular, and guests staying at Benguerra lodges frequently break big-game fishing records. Black Marlin and sailfish are caught in abundance in waters only 2 miles offshore.

Gorongosa National Park

The Gorongosa National Park (GNP) is situated in the middle of the country about 80 miles by road from the city of Beira.

In the 1950s and ‘60s Gorongosa was considered to be the best game park in Africa. Celebrities flocked here, rather than to Kruger Park, for game viewing. An animal census made in 1972 lists among other species 14,000 Cape buffalo, 3000 hippo, 500 lion, 700 sable, 5500 blue wildebeest, 1000 kudu, 500 eland and so on. An animal census in 1994 found no trace of any of these animals. Other species – elephant, zebra and waterbuck – which previously had significant populations – were found in tiny numbers. Much of the fighting during fifteen years of civil war took place in central Mozambique, and the park functioned as a giant larder for both armies. In addition 2000 elephants were slaughtered and the ivory sold to finance the fighting.

In 2002 GNP came to the attention of an American philanthropist, Greg Carr. Having made a fortune pioneering voice-mail technology, Greg Carr wanted to put something back, and pledged forty million dollars of his personal fortune to rehabilitate GNP. Today, the Carr Foundation is working with the Mozambique government to protect and restore the ecosystem of GNP and develop an ecotourism industry to find employment for some of the 250,000 people who live around the National Park. In January, 2008, the Carr Foundation signed a 20-year contract with the government to co-manage this 2,400 square mile Park, and the first safari operator began operations in April 2009.

GNP is home to an intriguing diversity of animals, birds and plants – some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The Foundation has been restocking the Park over the last few years, and already Park has an impressive species list with more and more species being reintroduced on a monthly basis. It is home to significant populations of oribi, reedbuck, waterbuck, warthog and sable, with herds of up to 120 head of sable.

Predators are recovering slowly, with a number of lion prides and a few male coalitions within the Park. Elephant herds and bulls are regularly encountered. Recently some large elephant bulls have been relocated from the Kruger National Park to provide some wisdom and guidance to the youngsters. Large herbivores are being reintroduced through the sanctuary which has good herds of buffalo, wildebeest, kudu, and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest.

Leopard occur but these numbers still need to increase. In the rivers and lake, there are good populations of hippo and crocodile, while zebra, impala, monkeys and baboons are to be found on the floodplains. Nyala and bushbuck can be seen frequently in the forests, whilst bush pigs are sometimes also encountered. Nocturnal species include serval, civet, genet, both bushbaby species and porcupine.

Great Limpopo National Transfrontier Park

After years of war in Mozambique, and following the peace accord of 1992, the vision of rehabilitation and restoration of Mozambique`s once rich wildlife resources and protected areas became a reality, and the vision of linking vast tracts of protected areas across frontiers became possible. Located in the southwest corner of Mozambique, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) covers geography within three countries.

The GLTP links Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park, South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and three Zimbabwean conservation areas to form a protected area of 20,000 square miles. The relocation of some 1000 elephants from the overcrowded Kruger to the Limpopo National Park began in 2001, and in March 2004 a plan was executed that increased the size of the park to all of 60,000 square miles.

Mozambique’s wildlife population was all but decimated during the 14 years of war preceding 1990, and the country’s parks have been battling to restore their game reserves ever since. With the help of a R42 million donation from Germany, the Limpopo National Park is being upgraded and provided with fencing and anti-poaching units. In dropping the fences with South Africa’s Kruger Park, the GLTP has had the benefit of enjoying the plentiful game now having habituated itself further north within the borders of Mozambique.

Inhaca Island

Just across the bay from the capital port city of Maputo is Inhaca Island, an attractive holiday destination for anyone who wants to savor the laid-back rhythms of a small, semitropical, Indian Ocean island. On the fringe of the tropics, it has a wealth of breathtaking beaches, coral reefs and exotic marine life on offer.

Inhaca Island is a small-inhabited island, lying just 20 miles off the Mozambican coast and positioned at the entrance to Delagoa Bay. Inhaca has much to recommend: it is easily accessible by boat or ferry from Maputo, has a wealth of breathtaking beaches and it offers some of the best scuba diving and big-game fishing in the world. The island also features large areas of unspoiled evergreen forest and bush land. Large areas of its land and shores have been protected as natural reserve since 1976, providing a unique and pristine environment, which can be enjoyed by taking one of the excellent two- to three-day hiking trails that are available for the avid walker.

The diving Inhaca has on offer is world class. The fish life is virtually untouched and the reefs are unspoiled. Spearfishing is permitted on the offshore reefs.

A fascinating experience for scuba divers is exploring the many shipwrecks in the area. Shark diving is also possible. Staghorn and plate coral, moray eel potato bass, large school of barracuda and kingfish are in abundance. Dolphins, whale sharks and manta rays are not uncommon during the summer months. The maximum diving depth is 90 feet with an average depth of approximately 50 feet. The average water temperature is 72 – 81 and water visibility is between 30 – 100 feet.

Deep-sea fishermen will find themselves well catered for on Inhaca. There are several large ocean-going boats with experienced crews, and all the necessary fishing equipment is provided. Catches in the vicinity of Inhaca are often outstanding, with the island holding the several world records for various game fish and shark. Game fish in the area include marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado, kingfish and barracuda.

Niassa Game Reserve

Located on the border with Tanzania, Niassa Game Reserve (NGR) in northern Mozambique is one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Africa. With a surface area of 25,000 square miles the region is only just being discovered and contains by far the greatest concentration of wildlife in Mozambique. The magnificent scenery combined with its size and natural wealth makes the NGR one of Africa’s last true wildernesses.

Home to about 12,000 elephant, the NGR benefits from sharing a border with Tanzania much as does the Great Limpopo National Transfrontier Park benefit from sharing a border with South Africa. Both reserves have been able to enjoy the proliferation of game in neighboring countries crossing the border and naturally restocking what might have been decimated due to poaching in past years. Also found in the reserve are about 9,000 sable as well as several thousand buffalo, Lichtenstein hartebeest, eland and zebra — all roaming the plains and river valleys against the backdrop of towering inland mountains and that dominate the topography here.

NGR provides also provides a refuge for over 200 Cape Hunting Dog (African Hunting Dog) as well as such other predators lion, leopard and spotted hyena.

Quirimbas Archipelago

For years the Quirimbas Archipelago just off the coast of Mozambique’s northern-most province, the Cabo Delgado, has remained untouched by tourists. Too far off the beaten track to enable easy access, the archipelago has stayed unspoiled, visited by the lucky few.

The archipelago itself consists of a chain of 32 islands rising up from the depths of the Indian Ocean and stretching from the coastal town of Pemba almost 250 miles up to Mozambique’s northern border with Tanzania. Home to a mosaic of wildlife both onshore and surrounding its pristine coral reefs, the archipelago has been known as a conservational jewel throughout Africa; whales fill the deeper channels in season, turtles breed on isolated sand banks and African Fish eagles scan the mangrove swamps. The diversity of this marine sanctuary is exemplary.

Today Quirimbas offers tourists some of the most pioneering tourism opportunities throughout the continent. Unlike the Southern islands of Bazaruto, many of the islands are formed from harsh rugged coral with stretches of gold sandy beach scattered between. This untamed harshness is dramatic and fascinating, offering a sense of private seclusion away from the outside world.

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