As you may have noticed, we’re big fans of the ‘bush and beach’ holiday combination at Timbuktu. After all, what could be better than traversing the opens plains of Africa’s best national parks and reserves, before flopping on the beach for a dose of sunshine and chillout time? Not a lot, we reckon… Often, Mozambique is overlooked in place of Zanzibar and the glitzy beaches of Mauritius and the Seychelles for that much-needed R&R. We’re here to dispel the rumours that Mozambique is harder to get to and even harder to travel in, and give you some advice on where to go in Mozambique and how to get there.
The Quirimbas Archipelago
At the beginning of our Where to go in Mozambique list are the Quirimbas. There are 12 larger islands and 20 that are barely more than specks of sand. Some are within the Quirimbas National Park, but all are guaranteed to take your breath away. They are very remote, but the easiest access is to fly from Dar es Salaam to Pemba in Mozambique (not to be confused with Pemba Island in Tanzania!). Lodges can then be accessed by helicopter or speedboat. Coming up from destinations in Southern Africa is possible (but perhaps more pricey) and would involve flying to Johannesburg, overnighting, then flying to Maputo then Pemba.
In Southern Africa, have a look at the Falls, Bush and Island Romance itinerary and take it from there – it’s expensive, but oh so worth it!
The Bazaruto Archipelago & Vilanculos
Around about the middle of Mozambique is the Bazaruto Archipelago, four squeaky-sand islands, two of which are inhabited (Bazaruto & Benguerra – read more below), and two of which are uninhabited. Although we don’t like to confess to having favourites, we do love Bazaruto. Firstly, it’s easily accessed from Johannesburg, via a two-hour flight to Vilanculos, and secondly, there are a variety of damn good-looking lodges to suit everyone, from the glamorous Anantara Bazaruto, to the chilled-out Dugong Lodge. There are also some excellent beachside resorts near Vilanculos on the mainland that definitely feel island-worthy, and will save you some pennies on flights to Bazaruto Island – check out Casa Babi or Bahia Mar.
The Granddaddy of Bazaruto, Benguerra Island is the smaller of the two inhabited islands and home to two of the dreamiest beach lodges we’ve ever come across, Azura Benguerra and &Beyond Benguerra. Access to the island is super easy, via a 2-hour flight to Vilanculos from Johannesburg. You’ll then take another short fixed-wing or helicopter flight to the island, which can make it a little more expensive than staying on the mainland, but not by much. From East Africa, access would still be via Johannesburg – simply fly down from Nairobi or Dar es Salaam for the flight to Vilanculos.
Check out our favourite Benguerra combination, the Cape to Azure Islands itinerary, combining Cape Town and the Winelands with Kruger and Benguerra Island.
Next on our Where to go in Mozambique list; Maputo. Maputo is warm, vibrant and really quite attractive. Perfect then, if you’re flying a fair distance to get to Mozambique and looking for somewhere to break the journey, especially if it’s at the stunning Polana Hotel (almost worth a visit in itself). Or if the multiple flights, helicopters and boat transfers sounds too much like hard work, just stay in Maputo! It’s right on the coast and beautiful, palm-fringed beaches are within easy reach. Try White Pearl Resort and in a three- to four-hour drive, you’ll be wiggling your toes in powdery white sand and gazing at the ocean.